The skill of question asking is far too rarely deliberately taught in school. We have worked with and learned from educators to develop a teaching strategy, the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), which provides a simple yet powerful way to teach students how to formulate, work with, and use their own questions.
As the title of this book indicates, Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana believe that education can be transformed if students, rather than teachers, assume responsibility for posing questions. This idea may sound simple, but it is both complex and radical: complex, in that formulating good, generative questions, and being prepared to work toward satisfactory answers, is hardly a simple undertaking; and radical, in the sense that an apparently easy move can bring about a Copernican revolution in the atmosphere of the classroom and the dynamics of learning. The authors modestly quote physicist Niels Bohr who once said, ‘An expert is someone who has made all possible mistakes in a field and there are no more to be made.’ In reading this powerful work, I was reminded of what Albert Einstein said, when he learned of Jean Piaget’s pioneering questioning of young children: ‘so simple only a genius could have thought of it.’
Why do you think we ask questions? So we can be curious about what we are learning and want to know more.
A principal point of big questions is to inspire learners to ask them as well as pursue them. Make Just One Change by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana puts this agenda front and center. Their subtitle telegraphs the ‘one change’: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions.
Their level of engagement in the activity and each other’s ideas was not only exhilarating, but literally heart-warming.
I believe all of us, including our students, should spend far more time thinking about the right questions to ask. Most of us spend too much time worrying about having a right answer in both our professional lives and personal lives. But the truth is, the answer can only be as good as the question asked.
The hundreds of free resources you will find on our network will help you easily move into action to learn a strategy one day and facilitate the very next.
You’ll also get access to hundreds of free resources that will help you easily move into action to learn a strategy one day and facilitate the very next.