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Showing posts from February 8, 2015

Asking Questions Correctly

Long years ago when I was teaching, I used to coach students on how to ask questions correctly. I would tell them: "Several times over the course of the school year, I will come here with visibly shorter hair. Try not to say something like,  "Did you get a haircut?", which is questioning the obvious, or worse, "What did you do to your hair?" which is vaguely insulting. Some of the kids had never considered how to phrase a question so it doesn't sound like an accusation, and some concluded I had deep-seated feelings of shame connected with my hair. They were hilariously careful about commenting on my haircuts every six weeks, but it was a good lesson in thinking before we speak. The world would run smoother if we learned to ask questions only when necessary and then considered how to ask for information without sounding nosy, judgmental, and insulting. Around the world, Americans are known for being intrusive, possibly because we have such an open cultu