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The Question Formulation Theory of Learning: An Old/New Cornerstone for a Healthy Democracy

The Question Formulation Theory of Learning: An Old/New Cornerstone for a Healthy Democracy

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The Question Formulation Theory of Learning: An Old/New Cornerstone for a Healthy Democracy

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  1. The Question Formulation Theory of Learning: An Old/New Cornerstone for a Healthy Democracy Dan Rothstein Co- Director, The Right Question Institute, Cambridge, MA 2019 NCSS Summer Leadership Collaborative July 15, 2019, Charlotte, NC

  2. Acknowledgments We are deeply grateful to The National Science Foundation, The Hummingbird Fund and to the Board of Directors for their strong support of our work. Thank you Dr. Tina Heafner for all the thought and time she put in to help me plan for my session. We are also in awe of the ingenuity and creativity of hundreds of thousands of educators who continue to teach us so much about how our Question Formulation Technique can be adapted for effective use in classrooms around the world from kindergarten through doctoral education.

  3. We’re Tweeting… @RightQuestion @RothsteinDan #QFT

  4. Today’s Agenda Part Ⅰ : QuestionFormulation and Learning Part Ⅱ: Collaborative Learning Experience Part Ⅲ: Changes When Students Work with Their Own Questions Part Ⅳ: A Small, but Significant Shift for Teachers Part Ⅴ: Emerging Theory of Learning Part VI: Questions and Democracy Questions and Discussion

  5. Part Ⅰ: Question Formulation and Learning • IstheImportanceoftheSkillof Question Formulation Recognized? • How Common is the Teaching of the Skill? • Evidence of Value When it is Taught

  6. - Richard Feynman Nobel Laureate, Physics, 1965 "There is no learning without having to pose a question."

  7. – Stuart Firestein Professor, Department of Biology, Columbia University “We must teach students how to think in questions, how to manage ignorance.”

  8. College Presidents onWhat College Students Should Learn “The primary skills should be analytical skills of interpretation and inquiry. In other words, know how to frame a question.” - Leon Botstein, President of Bard College “…the best we can do for students is have them ask the right questions.” - Nancy Cantor, Former Chancellor of University of Illinois The New York Times, August 4, 2002

  9. Senior Thesis Guide “A strong research proposal revolves around a focused, well-conceived research question. ” Three criteria to test every potential research question: Your question must genuinely intrigue you be analytical in nature be answerable Andrew J. Romig, 2016, A Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis in History and Literature. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Page 12.

  10. How Common is the Teaching of the Skill?

  11. A 1912 Study Romiett Stevens, 1912 The Question as a Measure of Efficiency in Instruction: A critical study of classroom practice. Columbia University Contributions to Education, No. 48 “An unusual lesson because twenty-five of the thirty-four questions were asked by the pupils.…The result was that the lesson developed an impetus born of real interest. I mention it because this lesson was unique in the series of one hundred.”

  12. Yet, only 27% of graduates believe college taught them how to ask their own questions Alison Head, Project Information Literacy at University of Washington, 2016

  13. The problem begins long before college...

  14. Percentage of Basic Skill Attainment Sources: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main2009/2011455.pdf http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2007/2008468.asp#section1 Data on question-asking based on parent and teacher feedback

  15. Percentage of Basic Skill Attainment Sources: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main2009/2011455.pdf http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2007/2008468.asp#section1 Data on question-asking based on parent and teacher feedback

  16. Educators Recognize the Problem • Teachers report that getting students to ask questions feels like, “pulling teeth.” • Students ask less than 1/5th the questions educators estimated would be elicited and deemed desirable.* * Susskind, E. (1979), Encouraging teachers to encourage children's curiosity: A pivotal competence. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 8 (2), pp.101-106.

  17. Evidence of Value When it is Taught

  18. Research on the Importance of Student Questioning Self-questioning (metacognitive strategy): • Student formulation of their own questions is one of the most effective metacognitive strategies • Engaging in pre-lesson self-questioning improved students rate of learning by nearly 50% (Hattie, p.193) John Hattie Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement, 2008

  19. Questions are the engines of intellect, the cerebral machines which convert energy to motion, and curiosity to controlled inquiry.” * David Hackett Fischer Professor of History, Brandeis University “It helps me by getting me to think about questions on my own. Also, it gets my mind in motion to think about the questions other people make.” 8th Grader, Austin, TX *Historians' fallacies: Toward a logic of historical thought. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1971.

  20. Classroom Example:4th Grade Teacher: Deirdre Brotherson, Hooksett, NH Topic: Math unit on variables Purpose: To engage students at the start of a unit on variables and assess their current skill level

  21. Question Focus 24 =  +  + 

  22. Student Questions 24 =  +  +  • Does it mean 24 is a really happy number? • Can we replace each smiley face with an 8? • Do any other numbers work? • Can we do this for any number? • Does it always have to be smiley faces? • Do we always have to use three things? • Why is the 24 first? • What do the smiley faces mean? • Why are there 3 smiley faces? • How am I suppose to figure this out? • Is the answer 12? • Can I put any number for a smiley face? • Do three faces mean something? • Do the numbers have to be the same because the smiley faces are the same? • What numbers will work here?

  23. Next Steps with Student Questions • Questions were hung around the room. • Students checked off questions as they were answered during the rest of the unit. • At the end of the unit, students analyzed their original list of questions and discussed what they learned and what they still wanted to know.

  24. Today’s Agenda Part Ⅰ : QuestionFormulation and Learning Part Ⅱ: Collaborative Learning Experience Part Ⅲ: Changes When Students Work with Their Own Questions Part Ⅳ: A Small, but Significant Shift for Teachers Part Ⅴ: Emerging Theory of Learning Part VI: Questions and Democracy Questions and Discussion

  25. Part Ⅱ:Collaborative Learning Experience

  26. Rules for Producing Questions 1. Ask as many questions as you can 2. Do not stop to answer, judge, or discuss 3. Write down every question exactly as stated 4. Change any statements into questions

  27. Produce Questions • Ask Questions • Follow the Rules • Ask as many questions as you can. • Do not stop to answer, judge, or discuss. • Write down every question exactly as it was stated. • Change any statements into questions. • Number the Questions

  28. Question Focus Learning to ask questions in a democracy in an authoritarian society

  29. Change Questions • Take one closed-ended questionand change itinto an open-ended question. • Take one open-ended question and change itinto a closed-ended question. Open Closed Open Closed

  30. Prioritize Questions Review your list of questions • Choose the three questions you consider most important. After prioritizing consider… • Why did you choose those three questions? • Where are your priority questions in the sequence of your entire list of questions?

  31. Reflect • What do you understand differently now about learning to ask questions in a democracy?

  32. Today’s Agenda Part Ⅰ : QuestionFormulation and Learning Part Ⅱ: Collaborative Learning Experience Part Ⅲ: Changes When Students Work with Their Own Questions Part Ⅳ: A Small, but Significant Shift for Teachers Part Ⅴ: Emerging Theory of Learning Part VI: Questions and Democracy Questions and Discussion

  33. Part Ⅲ: Changes When Students Work with Their Own Questions • Unpacking the Experience • Cognitive Changes • Classroom Examples • Social and Emotional Changesand Behavioral Changes

  34. Unpacking the Experience

  35. The Question Formulation Techniqueon one slide… • Question Focus • Produce Your Questions • Follow the rules • Number your questions • Improve Your Questions • Categorize questions as Closed or Open-ended • Change questions from one type to another • Prioritize Your Questions • Share & Discuss Next Steps • Reflect • Ask as many questions as you can • Do not stop to discuss, judge or answer • Record exactly as stated • Change statements into questions Closed-Ended: Answered with “yes,” “no” or one word Open-Ended: Require longer explanation

  36. Three Thinking Abilities Three thinking abilities with one process Metacognitive Thinking Divergent Thinking Convergent Thinking

  37. Cognitive Changes • Know the rules for producing questions • Know the difference between open-ended questions and closed-ended questions • Know that how you ask the question affects the information you get • Learn about prioritizing questions • Learn to think metacognitively

  38. Classroom Examples

  39. Classroom Example: Elementary School Teacher: Maureen Bennett, Lexington, MA Subject: 3rd Grade History Topic: Mayflower Compact Purpose: Introduction to unit on Pilgrims

  40. Question Focus

  41. Student Questions Early questions on vocublary 1. What is a god amen? 3. What is an underhand? Questions about the historical event 5. Did the Indians sign it? (C-O) How many Indians signed it? 6. Did the pilgrims sign it?(C-O) Who signed it? More questions about the text 7. What does mutinality mean? 8. What does forseen mean? Questions on a key historical figure 10. Who is Lord James? (O-C) Was Lord James asking what is furtherance?

  42. Teacher’s reflection "I was so excited to see that even the quietest children were generating questions and participating in an activity that if it has been done as whole group discussion, they may not have participated at all. This was typical behavior in all of the groups.”

  43. Classroom Example: High School Teacher: Isabel Morales, Los Angeles, CA Topic: Social Justice Purpose: Engage students in thinking about systemic injustice at the start of a multi-disciplinary unit

  44. Question Focus The disciplinary policies of our society perpetuate injustice.

  45. Student Questions • Why are student of color targeted the most? • Do teachers nationwide take notice of these stats? • How can teachers develop better & effective disciplinary policies? • What does a kid learn about the system once in jail? • What do teachers believe expulsion will teach the students? • When will it get better? • What are some ways to improve behavior? • What type of training will teachers go through that’ll bring justice to classrooms? • What is considered a criminal offense in school? • Isn’t it the teacher’s job to keep the students “in line”? • How should disruption in class be handled? • What is the difference between a school officer and a regular police officer? • How come there aren’t any policies keeping students out of prison?

  46. When students work with their own questions, there are: • Social and Emotional Changes • Behavioral Changes

  47. Social and Emotional Changes • More comfortable with “not knowing” (ignorance) • Greater curiosity • More intrinsically motivated • New or greater confidence • Sense of autonomy and ownership • Find their voice

  48. “The way it made me feel was smart because I was asking good questions and giving good answers.” - 9thGrader, SummerSchool, Boston

  49. Behavioral Changes • Ask a lot of questions • Listen to peers’ questions • Collaborate • Work rigorously with their own questions • Become less dependent on instructors • Become more engaged and increase participation