Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions: Best Practices in the Question Formulation Technique

4/15/19 — 5/5/19

Students who learn to ask their own questions become more curious, take ownership of their learning, and demonstrate greater comprehension of challenging content. The ability to ask one’s own questions is, indeed, one of the most important lifelong learning skills a student can acquire in the course of their education and, yet, it is rarely deliberately taught to all students. 


Introduced by former Dean James Ryan, Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions will be led by staff of the Right Question Institute (RQI), including Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, RQI co-directors and co-authors of Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions, which has quickly become a classic pedagogical text for strengthening inquiry in all classrooms, from kindergarten through higher education. The workshop will offer a differentiated active learning experience in the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), a simple yet robust method for teaching students to ask better questions that was developed by Rothstein and Santana through years of trial and error and practice-based research.

Program Details

The publication of Make Just One Change was a catalyst for hundreds of thousands of educators around the world to adopt the QFT and generate new knowledge about how to use it for different purposes. The experience and knowledge of educators in a remarkably wide range of classrooms inform the content and structure of this workshop on “best practices” in using the QFT. The workshop offers a very special opportunity for all educators, those new to the QFT and those already experienced in using it, to learn more about innovative ways to teach the skill of question formulation by applying the QFT for different teaching and learning goals in all kinds of classrooms.

The workshop will provide an in-depth exploration of key components for successful application of the QFT, including:

  • What is the core structure and flow of the QFT?
  • Why does the structure work across all classrooms and for all students?
  • What are best practices in adapting the QFT for your teaching and learning goals?
  • How does the facilitation of the QFT change some traditional expectations of teacher and student roles in learning?
  • What are “best practices” in design and facilitation of your use of the QFT?

The workshop will deploy a variety of teaching and learning methods to engage participants in individual as well as collaborative problem-solving, reflection, and engagement with QFT tools and resources. Instructional videos, readings, and online discussions will complement peer-to-peer learning with educators across diverse learning environments.

The online workshop will require a total of 10-12 hours of work. Participants will receive a certificate indicating completion of 10 clock hours of instruction.


  • Understand how and why the skill of question-asking is critical to student achievement and agency in and out of the classroom
  • Learn the art and science behind the Question Formulation Technique (QFT)
  • Study and discuss examples of how the QFT is being used to promote increased student engagement and deeper learning among all students
  • Identify ways the teaching of questioning skills can make classrooms more equitable for all learners
  • Design a lesson or unit with the QFT in your area of expertise

Who Should Participate

  • PreK-12 teachers across all content and subject areas
  • Administrators, curriculum specialists, and instructional coaches
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