The Question Formulation Technique:
Student Questioning as a Direct Path to
Engagement and Deeper Learning
By Dan Rothstein and Sarah Westbrook

3rd – 4th May 2018, Melbourne
Join us for a special two-day training on the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) led by senior staff from the Right Question Institute (RQI): Dan Rothstein, Co-Director and Co-Author of Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions (Harvard Education Press: 2011) and Sarah Westbrook, Director of Professional Learning for the Education Program at RQI. On their own initiative and without any mandate, more than 300,000 educators in diverse pre-k through higher education settings worldwide are now using the QFT because they are observing its impact on their students and are seeing unprecedented levels of engagement and deeper learning. This two-day event is a unique opportunity to master this powerful technique for immediate classroom use and to be prepared to provide effective professional development for colleagues and others. Collaborate with educators from international schools across the world to explore the many ways the QFT is stimulating student curiosity, promoting deeper learning, and helping to build the democratic habit of mind of asking questions.

The ability to ask one’s own questions, improve them, and strategize on how to use those questions may be the single most important thinking skill students can learn at any stage of their educational journey.

The skill of question formulation, however, is too rarely deliberately or rigorously taught. We can create more equitable learning opportunities for all students and enrich the educational experience of advanced as well as struggling learners, by prioritizing a commitment to teach this skill to all students.

What would it mean, then, if students began, just like researchers, innovators, or scientists, to drive their educational journey by learning not only to ask their own questions, but also how to work with those questions to learn even more? More than 300,000 educators around the world are showing just what happens when students learn to work with their own questions. They are deploying a deceptively simple method, the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), which allows students to produce their own questions, improve their questions and strategize on how to use them. It is purposefully called a “technique” to underscore its universal relevance and ease of use, but it is much more than a technique. It is the core of a learning model that provides opportunities for students to do divergent, convergent, and metacognitive thinking. As students learn to use the QFT, they become more curious and take ownership for their own learning. Their teachers, in turn, experience new joy as they see students driving their own learning. Both students and teachers also discover the profound power of question formulation as a democratic habit of mind.

In this hands-on, active learning experience, participants will collaborate with educators from international schools across the world to master this powerful technique and learn how you can go on to deliver effective professional development on it.

Day 1
  • Participate in an active learning experience with the QFT
  • See classroom examples from pre-k through higher education
  • Work with planning tools and classroom resources
  • Form self-organized working groups around topics of interest
  • Take advantage of opportunities to share work and collaborate with peers from international schools across the region
Day 2
Will focus on the design and facilitation of effective professional development on the QFT. Participants will:
  • Use the QFT to tackle a shared professional development challenge
  • See examples of how the QFT has been used to build consensus in school settings, create buy-in for new initiatives, and advance existing professional learning goals
  • Learn strategies for best practices in planning, facilitation, and professional development with the QFT
  • Begin designing your own professional development and get feedback from colleagues
Workshop participants leave with a deep understanding of the strategy and the ability to immediately apply it with students and share with colleagues. Participants who complete the second day of training will receive a certificate of completion in PD on the QFT, which recognizes their ability to deliver professional development in their own schools and regions.

Here is a recent sample of what participants say about attending RQI professional development:
  • “It was the single most impactful technique I have come across in my 17 years as a school administrator. We are beginning a new school… and will be utilizing the right question technique as part of our process to put students in control of their learning through the art of questioning.” - District superintendent, Learning Forward Preconference 2016
  • “Hands on approach was great! I loved being able to work with others and to think critically about the process—the experience is important!” New York BOCES PD session participant
Trainer’s Profile
Dan Rothstein is co-author with Luz Santana of one of Harvard Education Press’ all-time bestsellers, Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. The book first introduced the Question Formulation Technique and led to its enthusiastic adoption by over 300,000 teachers in countries all over the world. Dan’s work focuses on honoring and supporting the work of educators who are driving a movement in urban, suburban, and rural communities, in independent schools, and in private and public institutions of higher education to help all students learn to ask better questions and take more ownership of their own learning. His active learning keynotes and seminars have engaged many audiences, including statewide rural education organizations, large urban districts, the Library of Congress, Harvard Medical School, Brandeis University, Google, Microsoft, and others. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications and has been featured on National Public Radio, Education Week, and Educational Leadership. Dan’s work in the field has been complemented by academic experiences, earning his B.A. at Harvard College and his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he also was a Teaching Fellow and an Editor of the Harvard Educational Review. Dan was a Fulbright Scholar and one of very few non-academics to be chosen as a National Academy of Education Spencer Fellow. He is also the Co-Author of the recently published book, Partnering with Parents to Ask the Right Questions (ASCD: 2016).
Sarah Westbrook is a former high school English teacher who is now RQI's Director of Professional Learning for education programming and the Million Classrooms Campaign, which aims to expand the use of the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) to one million classrooms by 2020. During her years of teaching in Boston area public schools, Sarah developed a passion for advancing equity and success for all students and a deep appreciation for the innovative, dedicated work teachers do every day that so often goes unseen. She now partners with schools and districts around the country to design professional learning on the QFT and collaborates with individual classroom teachers to highlight the work they have done with the QFT and identify new opportunities for professional growth. She holds a M.A.T. in English Education from Tufts University and a B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College. Follow her on twitter @rightquestion #QFT for the most current articles, resources, and classroom examples.
  AUD 750 Closing Date 1st April, 2018
  Timings 8.30 am to 3:30 pm
Registration at 8.00 am on the 3rd May 2018.
  Shonal Agarwal

    register now
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