Question: At school, the teacher usually asks a question and a student answers. You have a completely different approach: You ask questions very rarely and, as a rule, wait to be asked questions. Why?
Answer: This is because I basically crave, aspire for my explanation to evoke in a student emptiness, empty places, meaning questions in order to know, to learn. A correct explanation does not “shut him up,” does not give him fulfillment. It reveals a little bit of what I am explaining and then a student suddenly runs into: “But why is it so? What if it’s not so, but different?”
It’s as if I instill into my explanations my questions, the opportunity to ask, and perplexity brought about by them, and I do it in advance. I want them to find defects in my explanations. This will help them grasp my explanation, understand it better, and to absorb it. This is very important.
That’s why if I am explaining and everything is clear to everybody, and there are no questions, I consider that I haven’t explained anything at all. I feel very bad then. When there are many questions—“this is not so, not from here, not like this”—then this is the material that will be absorbed for sure.
Comment: A question though, is not always a question….
Answer: Turn it around, do what you think is necessary so that the audience will learn from it. A lot of people ask, but they don’t know how to formulate the question exactly. We understand that the teacher must help the student here and to feel him or her.
I believe that if I transmit the information in 15-20 minutes, and then questions take up twice as much time, then this is a lesson truly absorbed. This is very important. It’s as if you are throwing them bait, and they swallow and clutch at it. With the help of this bait, they necessarily must approach you, hold on to you. It’s because the question and answer or an explanation begins with the fact that you have something and they don’t. You are trying to pass on to them what you have at the given moment decided to pass on.
The transfer has to consist of you giving them the information, and them, in response, asking any kind of questions from the entirety of the material that they have heard (only heard!) in order for them to experience, master, and completely absorb it inside. And this is only being reached with the help of questions, questions of various kinds, and from various kinds of people.
Question: What is the characteristic of an answer with which I shut off the interest of a person?
Answer: I never do this. I try to give an answer in which I purposely touch upon another, some kind of a crafty aspect. The student immediately has a reaction here: “Really? And how does this work?” This means that the answer leads him to other questions.
I want for the entire material, which I gave them during the first 15 minutes, to later be penetrated with questions from all sides. Then it will stay in them. I help them with my answers to ask a new question. The correct answer carries the next question in itself, and a correct question is already half the answer.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #11, 12/16/11