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We're eager to encourage students as well as teachers to ask better questions at Pender's Grove Primary. Recently released, Make just one change: Teach Students to ask their own questions, by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, offer the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) as a process to encourage students to ask their own questions and empower their own learning.


There was a pause in his voice as he considered his answer carefully. We had taken the time to gather small groups of students to hear their insights into the characteristics of students' questions at Pender's Grove Primary. He looked up at the interviewer and said, "Sometimes asking the question can provide a prompt to answering your own question.”

Make just one change: Teach students to ask their own questions, by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, present a series of steps called the Questioning Formulation Technique (QFT) enabling students to formulate their own learning questions.

I was initially cynical of yet another attempt to bundle up a complicated question posing process into a short sharp acronym. I was relieved to meet in Make one change a simple but profound routine for building student questioning skills. The QFT steps students through divergent strategies in developing their own questions and then continues using convergent processes as they explore the structure of questions, reshape their own and go on to prioritise them. Embedded with meta cognitive reflection students are encouraged to develop questioning skills that resource them for authentic learning in a wide range of contexts and throughout their lives.

What impresses me most about this book is not the individual strategies that are used to encourage students to generate their own questions. It is the melding together of a wide range of ideas into a process that provides a safe space for students to contribute, an explicit structure for building questioning skills and, perhaps most importantly, the empowerment of students to define their own learning adventures.

In an educational culture that focuses on teachers' questioning of students, Rothein and Santana's text implores a long overdue perspective to be heard. It was Francis Bacon who wrote, "Who qustions much, shall learn much, shall retain much." The Question Formulation Technique (QFT) provides a profound strategy that can have dramatic impact on the learning of all students if only they are supported and enabled to give voice to their quesitons.

I'm itching to collaboate with students in continuing our adventure into questioning.

References
Rothstein, D., & Santana, L. (2011) Make one change: Teach students to ask their own questions. Harvard Education Press.

4/4/2013 06:29:58

thanks for this very thoughtful review of our book. Your entire website is just wonderful. Please share on our Educators Network (rightquestion.org) the great work you all are doing in promoting students' questioning skills.

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