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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.’
Recognizing that the genius of democracy is in its roots, [RQI] sets about strengthening those roots. By helping people learn how to help themselves the project makes possible the vital process of converting residents into effective citizens… The project offers the possibility of strengthening the vital core of our society.
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.
What I appreciate about the Right Question Institute is its effort to meet people where they are. Equally important is its recognition that no system, no professionals, no individual dealing daily with large numbers of people can meet all their needs without the avid involvement of those whose needs are to be met…”
In the world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers. Unfortunately, our schools often have the opposite emphasis. They teach us how to answer, but not how to ask. The folks at the Right Question Institute are trying to correct that imbalance. They’ve come up with a method that educators can use to help students learn to ask better questions—and that can assist even those of us who graduated back in the twentieth century.
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.