One skill I try to engender in every subject is the students' ability to ask questions. It is so much easier to teach a class which is curious about a subject. It is so much more rewarding when a student who does not understand something is able to ask questions of the teacher.
This past week, I asked my students in math class why they didn't ask questions when they got problems wrong or when they didn't understand a concept. For some, homework is a drudgery. They just want to get it done in class so they don't have to do it at home -- and asking questions keeps them from doing their problems. For others, my explanations simply took too much time. For still others, they did not want to appear ignorant in the presence of their peers (in spite of my attempts to make all students feel comfortable about the learning environment). It was worth the time it took to address these issues in class.
In the historic lectionary for Jubilate, the Third Sunday after Easter (John 16:19 which we read today), we read, "Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said . . . ?" There are other similar instances recorded in the Gospels. After three years with Jesus, why didn't the disciples just come right out and ask Jesus? Jesus apparently had to teach His disciples how to ask questions as well.