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, called the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), that provides a simple yet powerful way to teach students how to formulate, work with, and use their own questions.
I do think that the QFT process did open up students to be inquisitive, reflective thinkers, and these characteristics permeated into how students approached learning in any content area or aspect of school.
Just when you think you know all you need to know, you ask another question and discover how much more there is to learn.
[The QFT] makes me feel like I’m in control of my learning.
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.’
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