In Part

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

(1 Corinthians 13:12)

I know; in part.  As I approach fifty four years on this earth, more and more I see that I know less than I thought I knew.  In this state, I am coming to really value questions. In Washington D.C. my mentor Bernie Glaze had a handwritten poster on her wall, “Learning begins with questions.”  She always leaned in to the journey of a question.  I follow in her footsteps.  

This value of questions goes back to my dad, who looked up to Peter Falk’s television character in the 1970’s, Lieutenant Columbo.  Columbo’s consistent deployment of questions led to success in solving the weekly mysteries that he faced on channel 8.  Though at times, my dad drove my sisters and I batty with his questions, I see now the method and efficacy in his madness.  Unsurprisingly, I find myself more and more like my father’s favorite lieutenant.  

One of the reasons I feel comfortable at Journey Academy is that this family of heroes values questions too.  Questions lead heroes on their journeys.  The Acton Academy Network places a high value on questions leading learning.  In fact, their handbook for guides directs guides to never answer a question  As you can imagine (despite my embrace of questions), I am still learning how to respond with other questions, with examples and models for heroes to consider as well as with resources that might respond to the heroes’ questions. Here’s a page from the Acton Academy Network’s handbook for guides that I’ve leaned on as I learn to embrace this disposition to question heroes rather than direct them.  The rationale here is to help heroes become independent learners with a growth mindset, able to respond to the questions they face on their journeys. 

This will be an on-going quest for me.  I believe in the goal of creating independent learners who can self-regulate.  And that “why” will keep me persevering in highlighting questions.  I will continue to wonder about how to disciple with directive guidance while maintaining a value for questions.

Another dimension of guiding and questioning that excites me is Journey’s embrace of the Socratic discussion.  Often, this is employed in launches that start the day or restart the block of time after lunch.  This video from Acton Academy co-founder Jeff Sandefer helps to offer an overview.

And as I’ve spent this last week observing guides and heroes, I’ve gotten to notice some powerful practice involving questions and Socratic discussions.  In the ES studio, Miss Cheryl invited the heroes to take apart a VHS tape and discuss what they found.  In addition to wondering if people really watched stuff on this, they discovered how technology developed and changed over time.  In the ELS studio, Mrs. Denice invited heroes to identify and discuss the simple machines employed by Dick Van Dyke in an excerpt from Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang. To hear them joyfully wonder about fulcrums, gears, incline planes and wheels, was to hear learning.  No question about it.

In the end, at the heart of all this work are questions from guides and heroes.  From these questions come, engagement and learning.  And it’s this type of powerful practice that will fuel me on my hero’s quest here at Journey. Until we know as we are fully known, may we never stop asking questions as we journey onward. 

:: Dr. T ::

4 replies
  1. Christi Gilbert
    Christi Gilbert says:

    Thank you for highlighting these Acton resources, as well as for your transparency with your own journey. Questions can be so powerful!

  2. Valerie
    Valerie says:

    You’re the only other person I know besides myself who’s watched Columbo. Haha. I can definitely appreciate that reference. Thank you for sharing your observations!


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