I personally believe that asking questions is necessary for learning and truly understanding new material. How do you teach someone who doesn't like to ask questions that asking questions will only help her? And what if she also has a habit of giving one-word answers that don't fully convey her understanding of a question or her confidence in her answer?
I'm trying to teach her English before she starts a college curriculum, starting with grammar. But time is extremely limited as I both work full-time and take evening MBA classes part-time. I feel like I need to make the most of the little time we do have together, but "push" education is so painful and does not appear to be very effective at all.
i try to teach recalcitrant students to ask questions by giving them problems with a key piece of information missing. If they don't ask for it, they either can't solve the problem, or get it wrong.
At first, i give them problems that are missing a piece of information they need to solve the problem. For example (i usually teach programming), i would tell them that they have to write a program to convert Ergons to Lenats. Obviously, they simply can't do that until they know how to convert between the two units. They have to ask for more information to do the problem.
Later, i give them problems that seem complete, but only if they make assumptions about the problem rather than asking for more precise information. For example, i tell them that they have to write a program to read a list of numbers from a file and do something with those numbers (like statistics or something). Most people just assume that that means a file that is just a list of a numbers: just a number on each line of the file. But i actually use a file that has a number with a comma on each line. What happens is their program reads the first line, gets the number, then sees the comma, and chokes, and, depending on exactly what the student did, goes into an endless loop, dies, or just goes along for the rest of the program with only a single number. So when i test their submission, it fails, leaving them with egg on their faces for not asking an obvious question, and making an assumption instead.
Students learn fast to ask questions, very cautious about being tricked - so much so that it even gets annoying. ^_^; They ask loads for questions for every assignment. But, that's a good thing.
The other problem - students being vague and unassertive with their answers - i deal with by requiring every student to submit their assignments with a declaration (usually a comment in the code header) with wording that states that they did all the work themselves (yadda yadda), but most importantly ending with the statement that they confirm they have tested the program, and that they confirm they have verified they meet all the assignment's requirements - then they sign it. That way they have to put their name on the line, and if i test the program and it doesn't compile or has an obvious error, i can nail them hard for it.
Now, i generally deal with engineers who are or will soon be professionally responsible for what they do, so i make a point of hammering home that engineers must ask questions, must not make unnecessary assumptions, and are responsible for any work they do. That's really what all these techniques are designed for. i don't know if they are suitable to be applied to a non-engineer. You might need to water them down significantly. But, they work for me.
In China, students lacks of such an ability to ask. We're always taught exactly correct knowledge and not supposed to question it. The educators, or even the whole society, attach greater importance to knowledge and skills instead of creativity.
Glad to say that my English teacher has been teaching us to ask questions so far.
That explains a lot, actually. ^.^