Asking questions is an essential — yet often overlooked — lifelong learning skill.
The ability to ask better questions allows young people to:
- Assess with a critical eye what they see in the news, online, and on social media.
- Make their voices heard while listening to the voices of others.
- Navigate complex situations and adapt to change.
- Frame problems and challenges in a way that leads to action.
- Feel greater power and self-efficacy at school.
- Become more confident and ready to participate in civic life.
- Contribute to a robust democracy.
Kindergartners through doctoral students become more curious, engaged, and joyful learners when they learn to formulate their own questions. This program equips all educators — at all levels — to become experts at teaching the fundamentally important skill of question formulation.
This program provides a unique, collaborative experience that models how to support meaningful learning with the Question Formulation Technique (QFT). The QFT is a deceptively simple, practical, adaptable method that helps students become more sophisticated thinkers and problem-solvers as they learn to ask better questions. The QFT was originally developed by Luz Santana and Dan Rothstein, co-directors of the Right Question Institute and co-authors of Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions (Harvard Education Press). Their book very quickly became a classic text for strengthening inquiry in all classrooms, from kindergarten through higher education. Today, the QFT has spread to more than one million classrooms in over 150 countries.
This program expands on Santana and Rothstein’s original work by demonstrating how to adapt the QFT to a wide range of learning environments. Sarah Westbrook, the Right Question Institute’s director of professional learning, oversees this program — tapping into the wisdom of thousands of teachers who have shared creative ideas on how best to use the QFT for K-20 classrooms and drawing on extensive experience developing and facilitating professional online learning programs in the U.S. and internationally.
Participants will walk away from this program with practical action steps for how to implement the QFT in their classrooms — and get the most out of it.
Educators who are totally new to the QFT will gain an introduction to the technique from the people who created it. They will generate ideas and a specific plan for using it in their own classroom. Those already experienced in using the QFT will explore how to take its endless possibilities to the next level.
Past participants have said they greatly appreciate how the program supports immediate practical application while at the same inspiring a small shift in teaching practice that can lead to meaningful outcomes. The program includes classroom examples from a wide range of educators, leading to discussions and new ideas about how to use the QFT in multiple settings — including virtual, hybrid, and in-person learning environments.
The program will provide an in-depth exploration of key concepts related to the QFT including:
- Why does questioning bring such a sense of power and agency to students?
- Why should educators deliberately teach all students how to ask their own questions?
- What is the core structure and flow of the QFT?
- Why does this structure work across all classrooms and for all students?
- How does the QFT change some traditional expectations around the roles teachers and students play in learning?
- What are “best practices” in designing, adapting, and facilitating the QFT?
The program uses a variety of teaching and learning methods to engage participants, including videos, readings, online discussions, and collaborative learning with peers.
This online module is an asynchronous learning experience that is designed to be self-paced over the course of the three-week program period, with recommended weekly milestones. It includes an optional live webinar that is popular with participants. The webinar will take place on Thursday, April 15, from 4-5 p.m., Eastern time.
All materials are provided at the start of the program and can be completed at times that best fit a participant’s schedule. Participants should plan to devote a total of 10 to 12 hours of work. Participants who complete all individual assessments and contribute to group discussions prior to the end of the program period will receive a certificate indicating completion of 15 clock hours of instruction.
- Understand how and why the skill of question-asking is critical to student achievement and agency in and out of the classroom
- Learn the art and science behind the Question Formulation Technique (QFT)
- Study and discuss examples of how the QFT is being used to promote increased student engagement and deeper learning among all students
- Identify ways the teaching of questioning skills can make classrooms more equitable for all learners
- Design a lesson or unit with the QFT in your area of expertise
Who Should Participate
- PreK-12 teachers across all content and subject areas
- Administrators, curriculum specialists, and instructional coaches
- Educators and teachers in higher education