Through the Right Question Institute’s work, millions of students around the world are developing critical thinking skills and getting excited about learning. Adults are better able to advocate for themselves and have a say in decisions that affect them. And more people are able to ask better questions and participate in key decisions — leading to a more robust and just democratic society.

Why learning to ask your own questions is important

  • It’s a foundational skill — as critical as reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s necessary for learning, teaching, working, life, and democratic action.
  • A healthy democracy depends on the ability of citizens to ask questions.
  • The ability to ask questions is not a character trait some people have and others don’t: It’s a skill everyone can learn. It can and should be taught.
  • If you can ask questions, you can better navigate complex systems and get more involved in decisions affecting you, your family, and your community.
  • Teaching and learning is easier and more joyful when students ask their own questions.
  • Everyone, from kindergartners to Ph.D. candidates, can learn to ask better questions.

The Question Formulation Technique for teaching and learning

Professional learning for educators: 'Learn today, use tomorrow'

Our professional learning experiences — including online courses and workshops — are designed to give educators tools they can use immediately.

More than a million classrooms

The Question Formulation Technique has spread to more than one million classrooms around the world —  to all 50 states and over 150 countries. More than 44,000 people have joined our online community. Here are some stories of the impact it’s having:

Read more in RQI’s blog.

Strategies for boosting self-advocacy and revitalizing democracy

Thought leadership

The cover of the book Make Just One Change in Japanese

RQI contributes to research and public discussion in areas such as student curiosity, inquiry, information literacy, curriculum standards, poverty and education, parent engagement, voter and patient activation, and more.

Staff have published papers in a range of journals and publications, including Education Week, Educational Leadership, Teaching Channel, Social Education, and PBS Teachers’ Lounge.

The book Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions (2011), by RQI co-directors Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, has become a classroom classic. It’s been translated into five languages and is one of Harvard Education Press’ top sellers of all time. It’s also been a top-selling pedagogical book in Japan.

Rothstein and Santana’s 2017 book, Partnering with Parents to Ask the Right Questions, co-written with Agnes Bain, unveiled one of the 10 topics of 2017 that “most changed the way we think about some aspect of teaching, learning, and leading,” according to ASCD Express.

RQI’s work has been featured in media outlets such as National Public Radio, The Boston Globe, the CBS Radio Network, KQED, and Fast Company.

Read more about RQI

Partners with vision

The Right Question Institute’s work is made possible by the support of donors and funders who recognize the importance of investing in the ability of all people to learn to ask better questions and participate in decisions.

Our work covers many areas, from education to advocacy, health care, democratic action, and more. We are grateful to many funders and donors who have provided multi-year support in the past, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Jane’s Trust, the Germanacos Foundation, the Wallace Funds, the Barr Foundation, and the Packard Foundation. Current funding includes long-standing funding from the National Science Foundation and the Whitman Institute.

We are deeply grateful to the board of directors of the Right Question Institute. All members of our board donate and support the work based on their own capacity. We are grateful to them and to our many individual donors for their unwavering loyalty and commitment to democratizing access to transformative skills that can help create a stronger democracy and more just society for all.

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