How many of these strategies/activities do you plan into your lessons?
- Attempt to ask every student a question.
- No hands up rule.
- Random Name Generator/Lollypop sticks to choose students to ask questions to.
- Socratic Questioning.
- Questioning using Blooms Taxonomy.
- Mini White Boards to gauge students’ answers.
We tend to ask a lot of questions, don’t we? Don’t get me wrong, effective questioning is key to many successful learning experiences and underpins AfL but…….we tend to ask a lot of questions, don’t we?
It stands to reason that if a student creates their own question they are more likely to take ownership of it and actually want to answer it. Students can learn more from asking questions than they can answering them. Students will probably be very creative in what they want to learn and therefore their questions will be little inquisitive gems!
After a lesson on Forensic Science (we discussing the importance of observational skills and took some fingerprints from a mock crime scene – part of the UpD8 Wikid Forensics Module) with my Year 7 class, I asked them to come up with two questions each that they wanted answers for.
I told them to literally write down the first questions that popped into their head – we talked about how sometimes a question that may seem “silly” or appear to be “unanswerable” can sometimes lead to a fascinating learning dialouge when we attempt to answer them. A perfect example of this is Ian Gilbert’s brilliant “Thunks”.
We also used our “Ask Really Good Questions” cards (from Alite’s Learning to Learn series)
Anyway, read a selection of what they came up with……
- How do fingerprints “stick” onto things?
- Why do we use carbon powder to find fingerprints?
- How does the forensic tape lift up the fingerprints?
- Do identical twins have identical fingerprints?
- Does everybody have fingerprints?
- Can you graft fingerprints from one person to another?
- Do fingerprints change as we get older?
- Why do we have fingerprints at all?
- Can fingerprints tell us what a person is like?
Pretty impressive eh? This was the very first step of our QFT (Question Formulation Technique). The complete technique is shown below. (Scroll down to the bottom to see more of our QTF sessions)
Question Formulation Technique © The Right Question Institute.
Produce Your Questions
Four essential rules for producing your own questions:
• Ask as many questions as you can.
• Do not stop to discuss, judge, or answer the questions.
• Write down every question exactly as it is stated.
• Change any statement into a question.
Improve Your Questions
• Categorise the questions as closed or open-ended.
• Name the advantages and disadvantages of each type of question.
• Change questions from one type to another.
Prioritise the Questions
• Choose your three most important questions.
• Why did you choose these three as the most important?
• How are you going to use your questions?
I’ve adapted this slightly and placed a final step, where students reflect on the technique – discussing what they learnt from QTF, how they learnt from QTF and how they could apply what they have learnt to other situations.
I have created a pretty simple display in my room to show students the five steps of a successful QTF.
Just heard today that the brilliant
@pauldavidmac used QFT in his Year 13 class! Check this out….
“Question formulation technique worked well today with Yr 13 #exphys students.#flippedclassroom”
Also check out this Lino.it canvass where Paul asked his students to reflect on the QTF session – amazing!
Some further reading on QFT
“Teaching Students to ask their own questions” By DAN ROTHSTEIN and LUZ SANTANA
“Question Formulation Technique” By Facing History and Ourselves
Some images from another successful QTF session – this time the students were learning about Particle Theory.
Step 1 Produce our own questions (notice the “C” and “O” annotations)
Step 3 Prioritise our questions