The Power of Breaching

UAGC Students Learn to Ask Questions

The NYTimes recently re-featured an article about the importance, and power of question asking. It's a practice UAGC students engage in each day, what we call "breaching." or making thinking visible. It's a challenging learning experience, because students are asking the important questions that may not have a definite answer, or require deep thought to answer. Learning is definitely not for the lazy!

Teachers guide students through the process of asking "given what I already know, what doI still need to understand?" They push students to ask the "why?" and "what if?" questions that cannot be easily answered; teachers know they're not there to provide easy answers, but to support students in asking the right questions for themselves.

UAGC Students Prepared for Competitive Careers

The article highlights the importance of question-asking, especially as it relates to competitive careers. As Jailine Estrella, UAGC alum and current NYU student reflected, "At UAGC I learned to ask questions and express what I was curious about or needed to know, which is what all of my college courses require of me!"

So how can companies encourage people to ask more questions? There are simple ways to train people to become more comfortable and proficient at it. For example, question formulation exercises can be used as a substitute for conventional brainstorming sessions. The idea is to put a problem or challenge in front of a group of people and instead of asking for ideas, instruct participants to generate as many relevant questions as they can. Kristi Schaffner, an executive at Microsoft, regularly conducts such exercises there and says they sharpen analytical skills.

UAGC students have an advantage - they have learned through years of practice how to question and, with experience, learn to seek the answer for themselves.