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Conversations about Questions

CTABC-NWCSI Convention
October 2015
Quentin Flokstra (@qflokstra)

Using Student
Questioning to
Improve Instruction
A presentation covering the
Question Formulation Technique
from the Right Question Institute
www.rightquestion.org

Synopsis
Overview & Rationale
Go through the process
Designing the Question Focus

Discuss
How many questions do your
students ask each day? How often?
How many questions do you think a
pre-schooler asks? a middleschooler? high-schooler? adult?

Teachers are the drivers of


instruction & inquiry in the
average classroom
Teachers ask > Students answer
Teachers explain > students take notes
Teachers create > Students complete

What causes students to


stop asking questions?
Average preschool child asks 100
questions a day
Declines in elementary
Middle school - getting close to
zero

Why should I care?


Shifts in curriculum: Common Core
& new BC curriculum
Asking and answering our own
questions is a motivating and
engaging process!

Improves academics
fosters skills needed for workplace
and university

"The most common source of


management mistakes is not the failure
to find the right answers. It is the
failure to ask the right questions."
Peter Drucker, The Practice of
Management

Conversation

Thoughts?
How can we encourage students to
ask their own questions?

The Question
Formulation
Technique
(QFT)

QFT has six steps

Overview
Practice

Choose a Question
Focus
The Question Focus (QFocus) is a
prompt presented in the form of a
statement, visual/audio aid, piece of
text, etc.
Attract the student and stimulate
questions

What makes a
good QFocus?
It has a clear focus
It is NOT a question
provokes and stimulates new lines
of thinking
it does not reveal teacher preference
or bias

Examples
Torture can be justified
Pollution harms Boston residents
Math problems
Textbook titles

Rules for Producing


Questions
Ask as many questions as you can
Dont stop to judge, discuss, or
answer them
Write down questions exactly as
stated
Change statements into questions

Students Improve
Their Questions
Analyze differences between open &
closed questions
advantages/disadvantages of each
type
change one type to another

Students Prioritize
Their Questions
Have students choose their top 3-5
questions
Some teachers choose to give
guidance
Others let them decide

Using the Questions


What will you do with them?
Launching point for student-driven
inquiry: Essays, presentations,
projects, etc.

Using the Questions


Beginning of process
During
After

Students
Reflect on
Their Learning
Reflection is critical
Not just about end
product
Focus on the process

Resources
Twitter:
@rightquestion
Web: rightquestion.org
Recent articles in ACSD
journal