Duckworth's "Wonderful Ideas" have their foundation
in her work with Piaget who believed that children acquire knowledge in different ways as they progress through different
stages of their lives. In order to maximize a student's potential it is important for a teacher to use Piaget's method
of critical exploration: determining what the child has learned and asking the questions that will guide the student to a
deeper understanding of the subject.
A wonderful idea happens when the child has a revelation
or an insight that occurs when an individual's previous knowledge combines with the intellectual alertness to ask new questions
and look at things in new ways. As a follower of Piaget, Duckworth states that wonderful ideas are connected with the
developmental stage of the individual. A wonderful idea leads to a new stage.
In her book "The Having of Wonderful Ideas and Other
Essays" Duckworth explains that "the right question at the right time can move children to peaks in their thinking that result
in significant steps forward and real intellectual excitement. Although it is almost impossible for an adult to know
exactly the right time to ask a specific child - expecially for a teacher who is concerned with 30 or more children - children
can raise the right question for themselves if the setting is right. Once the right question is raised they are moved
to tax themselves to the fullest to find an answer. The answers do not come easily but the children are prepared to
work them through." (Duckworth, E.R., 2006)