Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana think students aren’t asking enough questions in today’s classrooms. Instead, the co-founders of The Right Question Institute are proposing a new learning method: let students ask their own questions, and have the teacher there as a facilitator. They believe it’s important for all students to learn how to ask their own questions, and in doing so, they’ll better understand the math problem or historical period they’re studying. So what are the right questions? We invite educators, parents and students to join the discussion.

Teaching Students to Ask The Right Question 17 October,2012forum

Dan Rothstein, co-director of The Right Question Institute and co-author of "Make Just One Change: Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions"
Luz Santana, co-director of The Right Question Institute and co-author of "Make Just One Change: Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions"

  • elis

    can’t wait to hear this!

  • As a high-school English teacher, I had my best success when I taught the class Socratic dialogue in discussing literature. It was hard at first for them to learn that the best question was an authentic one — one they really wanted to understand and one that wouldn’t have a yes/no answer, but after teaching that, the rest of the term yielded much better discussion and they became my best disparagers of “easy” questions. The test of a good question was which one yielded the most discussion.

  • Denise

    I would invite educators who are trying to get students to ask questions to visit The Nueva School http://www.nuevaschool.org in nearby Hillsborough. These students are actively engaged in their education, are involved in Design Thinking from Pre K on, and ask great questions all day every day. Have your guests visited the school?

  • Elisabeth Bowles

    I love this idea but the unfortunate reality of standardized testing leaves me wondering if the role of the teacher wouldn’t simply be to encourage children to ask the “right” questions so they can gain the information they need lto do well on these useless tests?

  • Brian

    At first, I thought this idea was silly, but after some thought,
    it now makes complete sense to me. When the
    teacher asks the questions, the measure is on what the student knows. But if the student asks the questions, the measure
    is on what the student doesn’t already know.
    I think it encourages effective self-learning.

  • Eamonn

    1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort
    to alleviate the effects of the — Class? Anyone? Anyone? — the Great
    Depression, passed the… Class? Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The
    Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which — anyone? — raised or lowered? — raised
    tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal
    government. Did it work? — Anyone? Anyone know the effects? — It did not
    work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression.
    Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? —
    Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? — The Laffer Curve.
    Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue
    curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point.
    This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush
    called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics? ‘Voodoo’

  • David

    This type of thinking takes teaching and learning in the right direction. The key thing to recognize is that if this questioning is to be meaningful and authentic, we have to allow students more independence in their pursuit of answers to their questions. If the only outcomes we ultimately care about are the ones easily measured and tested, students will recognize that their inquiries are pro forma exercises that don’t make much of a difference in the long run.

  • baumgrenze

    Michael mentioned Google in passing. I’m all for this method of teaching if it results in Google’s ‘smartening up’ and allowing those who know how to post well structured questions to do so. What a relief it would be to see answers to the question posed and not answers to ‘we think you really intended to ask a different question so we’ve added results you really weren’t seeking.

  • Bruce the Bald

    Still true after 52 years of teaching comp: it’s much harder to ask a good question than to give a good answer.

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