QFT: Foster Questions and Curiosity

Decorative: QFT log


A. "How 'Just One Change' in the Classroom Can Lead to Greater Student Curiosity" (post) suggests ways instructors can "cultivate learning environments that authentically value and lead with students’ questions and curiosity rather than elicit them as an afterthought."

  • Often instructors ask, "'Are there any questions?' – only to be met with deafening silence from ... learners."
  • "Through using the QFT, students hone their question formulation skills and become more curious, self-directed learners."

B. The Process

QFT is "a simple yet powerful strategy supporting the concept that students learning how to formulate their own questions is one of the most essential skills for learning."

1.  Explain the Rules

"At the beginning of the QFT, the educator shares the four rules students will follow while formulating questions":

  • "Ask as many questions as you can."
  • "Do not stop to discuss, answer, or judge any questions."
  • "Write down every question exactly as stated."
  • "Change any statement into a question." 

"The rules help to create an equitable, constructive space free of judgment so students can ask their questions as they percolate."

  • "Beyond the QFT, there will be time to investigate, dig deeper into questions, and even answer them, but the QFT itself is a time devoted to asking, thinking about, and understanding the value of questions."

2. Add the QFocus

"Next, the educator provides students a Question Focus (QFocus), a prompt or stimulus for students to ask questions about."

  • "The QFocus can be anything—a picture or photograph, a short video clip, a demonstration or experiment, a phrase, the cover of a book—as long as it is not a question."
  • "The educator should think critically during the QFT planning process about what kinds of questions students may ask as they respond to the QFocus and how these questions will dovetail into the next steps of the lesson or unit." 

3. Ask and Rework Questions

"Once students are presented the QFocus, they": 

  • "Formulate their own questions while following the four rules."
  • "Identify different types of questions (i.e. open-ended and closed-ended) and ...name advantages and disadvantages of each type of question."
  • "Reword two questions and learn how the phrasing of a question may elicit different information."
  • "Prioritize questions based on instructions the educator provides (e.g. Select your three most important questions)."
  • "Discuss next steps with the educator as more details are shared about how students will use their questions going forward."
  • "Reflect on the process and the new knowledge they co-constructed simply through asking questions (e.g. What did you learn? How did you learn? What was helpful about this process? What would have made this process more helpful for you?)."

4. See also "Question Formulation Technique Resources" for summaries of the following:

Decorative: a chart summary of the steps described above
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