Questions to Promote Imagination and Creative Thinking

Questions to Promote Imagination and Creativity

1 July 2022 • Words by Kate Purnell 2 mins

Asking questions and seeking answers is an essential part of the human condition and leads to the development of creativity and long-term fulfillment of purpose. In the field of teaching and psychology, there is a common method of questioning that has been used since the time of the famous teacher and philosopher, Socrates. This disciplined method is called Socratic Questioning and is part of the Socratic method. It is used to explore complex ideas, analyze concepts, and promote the foundation of structured logic that leads to answers.


The philosopher Plato, a student of Socrates’, suggested that this kind of questioning allows for the teacher to assume the “ignorant mindset” in order to compel the student into the role of the highest level of knowledge. In this way, the teacher’s questions prompt the student to observe complex knowledge and model techniques that help the student to explore the answers by discussing various problems and solutions (Robinson, 2017). With this method, “Higher-level thinking skills are present while students think, discuss, debate, evaluate, and analyze content through their own thinking and the thinking of those around them,” according to Intel® Teach Program. Questioning concepts helps to develop one’s critical thinking, expands the mind, and helps to cultivate skills useful throughout life.


Below are some helpful tips to start this method of questioning in your own educational environment to facilitate metacognition—knowing oneself as a learner and understanding one’s strengths.

Here’s how to begin:

Start with explaining what the expectations of the learning outcomes of the lesson will be. Next, evaluate and assess prior knowledge of the subject/topic in order to have a clear understanding of what the students are bringing to the lesson based on their own knowledge and experience. Implement a combination of “hands down” and “hands up,” probing the student further if their response lacks depth. Below are questions in varying categories that you can explore by educational initiative at Intel on the Socratic Questioning method.

Questions to Promote Imagination and Creativity

Ask clarifying questions

Ask assumption questions

Ask reason and evidence question

Ask implication and consequence questions

Ask viewpoint questions
  • Kate Purnell

    Kate Purnell is originally from Oakland, Ca. She currently lives in the UK teaching Secondary English and Drama. An educator, writer and all-around multi-hyphenate, you can find her trying to get her students to fall in love with the power of the human story, writing her own or attempting to not be distracted during her yoga class. You can find her on Twitter and IG @KatePurnell