We often use the “Wh” words as a quick way of teaching the basics of a research or inquiry process. These five words give you a quick and easy formula for getting the basics of a story, a report, or getting your head around some subject.
Sometimes we add a sixth word to the sequence:
I’d like to suggest that there is another “Wh” word that we could add to round off this set which possibly sums up all of the words and actually provides a great framing tool. This word comes from Maori, one of the official languages of New Zealand. Here it is:
Whakapapa refers to history, background, and genealogy. However, it is so much more than that.
Exploring the whakapapa of something, e.g. a subject, a discipline, an object, a person, a group of people, an organisation, or your own genealogy allows you to actually deal with all of the “Wh” words mentioned above and to investigate the relationships between the parts and the whole.
I’m just thinking out loud here, but I think that by adding whakapapa to the traditional list of “Wh” words we could add another dimension to the kinds of conversations and teaching we typically do around this.
What do you think…?