Question Formulation Technique (QFT)

Posted by on September 19, 2011

Better than answers

In an article in The Harvard Education Letter, Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana of the Right Question Institute write they have found that teaching students to ask their own questions can stimulate students’ curiosity and engage them more effectively while teaching a critical lifelong skill. The authors describe a step-by-step process called Question Formulation Technique (QFT) that helps students to produce their own questions, improve them, and strategize how to use them. Teachers can use the QFT at different points: to introduce students to a new unit, to assess students’ knowledge to see what they need to understand better, and even to conclude a unit to see how students can, with new knowledge, set a fresh learning agenda for themselves. The QFT has six key steps: teachers design a question focus; students produce questions; students improve their questions; students prioritize their questions; students and teachers decide on next steps; and students reflect on what they have learned. When teachers deploy the QFT in their classes, they notice three important changes in classroom culture and practices: using the QFT consistently increases participation in group and peer learning processes, improves classroom management, and enhances their efforts to address inequities in education.

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