How can we teach kids to question? ~ A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger

Warren Berger provides a quick summary of the question formulation method:

Teachers design a “Question Focus.” This involves coming up with a premise or opening statement that can provide a focal point for generating questions from the students. (e.g., “Torture can be justified.”)

Students produce questions.
Within a time limit, students (usually broken up into small groups), are supposed to generate and write down questions pertaining to that Q-Focus. Only questions are welcome—no opinions or answers, no debating which questions are best; the idea is to just keep inquiring about the subject from different angles.

Students improve their questions.
At a certain point, students begin to work on the questions they’ve written down; they open the closed questions, and close the open ones. For example, an open question that began as Why is torture effective? might be changed to a closed one: Is torture effective? In doing this, students learn that a question can be narrowed down in some cases, expanded in others—and they begin to see that “the way you ask a question yields different results and can lead you in different directions,” Rothstein explains.

Students prioritize their questions.
They are typically instructed to come to agreement on three favorites.

Students and teachers decide on next steps, in terms of acting on the prioritized questions.

Students reflect on what they have learned.

The process is designed to be simple enough that teachers can learn it in an hour, and students can grasp it immediately.

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