What is one essential skill that can facilitate all learning?
What can we do in order to learn more, produce new ideas and generate creative solutions?
We should ask questions.
Even if we know in the abstract that students can be more successful learners if they know how to ask questions, the skill is far too rarely deliberately taught in school.
We can change that by teaching students to produce their own questions, improve their questions and strategize on how to use them. We have learned from educators around the country and the world who are doing just that. They are deliberately teaching their students to use a simple, yet highly sophisticated technology called the Question Formulation Technique™ (QFT™).
As their students learn to ask their own questions they become more engaged, take greater ownership of their learning and learn more deeply and more broadly than ever before.
Just when you think you know all that you need to know, you ask another question and discover how much more there is to learn.
– Sixth grade student, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Palo Alto, CA
I learned that asking questions is the best way to know what’s going on, that when when you ask your own questions you can actually learn more and that asking questions can be just as important as a teacher asking a question.
– High School Students, Boston Public Schools
The Question Formulation Technique (QFT) is the outcome of twenty years of work in developing and, most importantly, simplifying a straightforward, rigorous process that helps all students learn how to:
- Produce their own questions
- Improve their questions
- Strategize on how to use the questions
Teachers are passionate about the value of the QFT for their students.
I see that knowing how to ask questions is what I’d like my students to do, but I never had a process before for doing it.
– Laurie Gaughran, High School teacher New York City Public Schools.
My second-graders are like sponges with this…if we start the process earlier, it is much easier for them to do when they get older.
– Julie Grimm, Second grade teacher, Hagerstown, MD
We tell the story of how to use the QFT as well as its impact on both students and teachers in our book, Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions (Harvard Education Press: 2011).
This book begins with the seemingly simple request to get students to ask their own questions, but at heart it’s a book about creating a classroom alive with dialogue, inquiry, and respect for students’ minds.
– Mike Rose, author of Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us
Educators can access the QFT in several ways:
- JOIN our Educators’ Network and download free resources and gain access to a library of examples and peer-to-peer sharing.
- READ our book Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions for a full explanation and many examples of classroom use.
- PARTICIPATE in our summer seminars and other Right Question Institute-sponsored events and professional learning opportunities for educators.
- LEARN with us via special trainings, webinars and consultations on the use of the QFT and the shift in practice, for both educator and student, needed in order to implement it effectively.