Questions play an essential role in the classroom, and are even more powerful when students are the ones asking them. In “Seven Reasons Why Curiosity Is the Next Big Thing,” author Victoria Ryan O’Toole notes that children are naturally curious, and with a little encouragement will become active, lifelong learners. Curious students ask good questions and take ownership of their own education. We agree.
Jason Flom muses on the lack of emphasis on inquiry in our schools in “Revising the Questions That Shape Learning.” Instead of drilling our children to answer question after question, we should be teaching them to develop and refine the “right” questions. He proposes eleven of his own questions that are “at the core of education reform efforts” to get the conversation started on new and more effective policies.
Students in Joel Pardalis’ sixth-grade classroom used the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) to guide their field trip experiences on the topic of cultural immersion, and created a video about their questions. This is a great example of how the QFT can be used in conjunction with student-directed projects.
“If we can teach students to ask powerful questions and then seek out the answers to those questions, they will be able to learn what they need both today and for the rest of their lives,” asserts Chris Lehmann in a recent interview. Lehmann is the founding principal of Science Leadership Academy, an "inquiry-driven, project based" high school in Philadelphia. He argues that inquiry is one of the most important 21st century skills teachers should be instilling in students.
In “Make Just One Change: In Your Biology 12 Classroom,” science teacher Carl Sommerfeld described his use of the QFT to introduce a unit on the Nervous System. His students became more engaged and, Sommerfeld noted, “If the students had it their way, research would have started right then.”
That’s all for now! We also have some exciting news to announce--in addition to RQI’s Second Annual Summer Seminar occurring in both Boston and Los Angeles this July, we will be offering a one-day seminar in Chicago on August 7th. These seminars are a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of the Question Formulation Technique and learn how to apply it in a variety of settings.