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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.’
…it wouldn’t be hard to supercharge the Question Formulation Technique with big questions. Teachers could choose Question Foci with big understandings in mind. Learners could include criteria related to insight, action, ethics, and opportunity as they sort their questions for importance. The main point is this: putting learners in charge of questions.
Just when you think you know all you need to know, you ask another question and discover how much more there is to learn.
Before I learned [the Right Question Strategy] I didn’t know decisions were made here… I didn’t know I could ask questions, I didn’t know how to ask questions… Now I see that I need to participate and I need to ask questions.
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.