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Putting questions and finding answers is the primary activity of the mind, and surely the defining relation of classrooms. But questioning is such a various activity for all human beings, that it is always worth recollecting D. H. Lawrence saying crossly to parents, ‘When a child asks “why is the grass green?” it is really saying “is it really green or is it just fooling me?” and we prate on about chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Oh fools, fools!’

Not every question needs an answer; not every question deserves an answer. What the pupil learns under careful, restrained teaching, is to frame accurate questions when these are needed. Answers to questions can only be contradictory when they are answers to exactly the same question. If, to take ...

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