Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions

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Harvard Education Press, 2011 - Education - 176 pages
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The authors of Make Just One Change argue that formulating one's own questions is "the single most essential skill for learning"--and one that should be taught to all students.

They also argue that it should be taught in the simplest way possible. Drawing on twenty years of experience, the authors present the Question Formulation Technique, a concise and powerful protocol that enables learners to produce their own questions, improve their questions, and strategize how to use them.

Make Just One Change features the voices and experiences of teachers in classrooms across the country to illustrate the use of the Question Formulation Technique across grade levels and subject areas and with different kinds of learners.

"As the title of this book indicates, Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana believe that education can be transformed if students, rather than teachers, assume responsibility for posing questions. This idea may sound simple, but it is both complex and radical: complex, in that formulating good, generative questions, and being prepared to work toward satisfactory answers, is hardly a simple undertaking; and radical, in the sense that an apparently easy move can bring about a Copernican revolution in the atmosphere of the classroom and the dynamics of learning. The authors modestly quote physicist Niels Bohr who once said, 'An expert is someone who has made all possible mistakes in a field and there are no more to be made.' In reading this powerful work, I was reminded of what Albert Einstein said, when he learned of Jean Piaget's pioneering questioning of young children: 'so simple only a genius could have thought of it.'" -- Howard Gardner, The John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"[The authors] provide . . . an inspiring vision of education at its best and an extraordinarily clear, low-tech, practical intellectual tool for turning that vision into reality." --from the foreword by Wendy D. Puriefoy, president, Public Education Network

"The protocols described in this book are easy to follow and adaptable to a variety of classrooms and subjects. These simple strategies can lead students to go into more depth in their learning and stretch the standard curriculum beyond the textbook. Students' energy, motivation, and perseverance increase noticeably when they have more ownership of the topics they are studying." -- Hayley Dupuy, sixth-grade math and science teacher, J. L. Stanford Middle School, Palo Alto, California

"Just when you think you know all you need to know, you ask another question and discover how much more there is to learn." -- Sixth-grade student, J. L. Stanford Middle School, Palo Alto

Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana are codirectors of The Right Question Institute (RQI). Prior to his work with RQI, Rothstein developed and implemented education programs in Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Israel. Santana is a former counselor and parent advocate.

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About the author (2011)

Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana are codirectors of The Right Question Institute (RQI). Prior to his work with RQI, Rothstein developed and implemented education programs in Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Israel. Santana is a former counselor and parent advocate.

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