Celebrate Question Week!

Celebrate Question Week!

 “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Albert Einstein

This week, the Right Question Institute is sponsoring Question Week, scheduled to coincide with Einstein’s birthday on March 14 (Pi Day).   The event website reminds us: “Questions spark the imagination…Learning how to act on our questions can lead us toward solutions and creative breakthroughs. Einstein understood this; so do the people running Google, Amazon, and lots of other innovative endeavors.” 

Why is questioning so important?  Again the Question Week website says it well:  “Questioning is a critical tool for learning. It helps us solve problems and adapt to change. And increasingly, we’re coming to understand that questioning is a starting point for innovation. In a world of dynamic change, one could say that questions are becoming more important than answers. Today, what we “know” may quickly become outdated or obsolete—and we must constantly question to get to new and better answers.”

Three years ago, I wrote about our work to help students develop the habit of mind of “Questioning and Problem Posing.”  One strategy for helping students learn to generate lots of questions is called the “Question Formulation Technique” (QFT), developed by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, RQI founders and authors of the book: Make Just One Change:  Teaching Students To Ask Their Own Questions.  Some of our teachers have experimented with this protocol with worthwhile results.

 The Question Week website provides a questioning activity specifically for families at: http://amorebeautifulquestion.com/beginning-great-questions-how-might.   You can also learn about classroom activities that promote questioning (including QFT) at:  http://questionweek.com/exercises-to-build-your-questioning-muscles.   Some of these activities can also be tried at home. And if your family is so inclined, you can connect with other questioners around the world and share your questions via Twitter (#QuestionWeek) or on Facebook.

By teaching students to ask their own questions, we can help them become more invested in what they are learning, develop their ability to identify and solve problems, and promote thinking skills. Let the questioning begin!

Rick Rogers
rick_rogers@brookline.k12.ma.us

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