Questions acknowledge and honor the fact that we don't know everything. (We aren't supposed to know everything!) By nature, a question points out something that is unknown and then provides someone the opportunity to go searching for an answer to that unknown.
Questions help us see things from a new perspective; they let someone consider a problem or that "unknown" from a new angle. This is what can lead to that new and original thinking.
But the best part about a question is that it is an antidote for those moments—in school and in life—when you feel absolutely stuck. I mean, hardcore, can't think of a thing, no idea which way to turn or what to do stuck. Feet in the cement, stuck.
I asked some of my students to tell me how they know when they are stuck. I asked them, in particular, to tell me the physical reactions they have. I volunteered the fact that I feel a tightness in my chest when I'm stuck, and a lot of the times I can feel myself wanting to cry. Some students volunteered the idea that they feel pressure in their forehead; others said they could identify with my answer of feeling a tightness in the chest. Many of us agreed that the experience of being stuck leads us to feel sleepy. That couch or bed can look so good for a nap when we just want to run away from what we are finding hard, so our challenge becomes differentiating between when we are actually tired and in need of a nap between when we are just trying to escape our challenge.
Recognizing—being aware—of when you are feeling stuck is the first step to getting unstuck. Asking a powerful, open-ended question can be the next step. Give your mind a chance to start moving again.
Good questions can lead to good answers.