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.
Today I learned how to alter and improve my research question. This has already helped my research question become more manageable and fit within the requirement of the project better. This helped me zero in and pinpoint which section of my topic I am truly interested in.
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.’
I’d also enjoy seeing more teachers take a page out of the Right Question Institute and help students learn to formulate great questions.
For me, their questions and the young man’s comment made my day. I wanted the students to own the class. I wanted them to have a say in what we learn and how we learn it. After using the QFT just one time, I was already noticing a change in the engagement of my students.
Why do you think we ask questions? So we can be curious about what we are learning and want to know more.
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