- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Education Press (September 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1612500994
- ISBN-13: 978-1612500997
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 68 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions
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<DIV> 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</DIV><br \><br \><DIV> [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 </DIV> --Wendy D. Puriefoy, president, Public Education Network
<DIV> 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. </DIV> --Hayley Dupuy, sixth-grade math and science teacher, J. L. Stanford Middle School, Palo Alto, California
<DIV> Just when you think you know all you need to know, you ask another question and discover how much more there is to learn. </DIV> --Sixth-grade student, J. L. Stanford Middle School, Palo Alto
From the Back Cover
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
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The QFT is a starting place, but insufficient. I kept reading in the hope that I would eventually get to the magic. I didn't. Maybe if I had those hours back I could sit down and plot out what I need to do next in order to get my students to follow through, to increase curiosity, to help them ask questions in the right places, and to ask questions in a way that people can answer them truthfully.
This review is going to annoy people who say I was expecting too much of the book. I wouldn't have expected anything more than the QFT if it had been an article. I expect more from a book, especially a how-to for teachers.
Ten-plus years ago, my administrator would come into my room and make sure I was working hard while the students quietly worked independently on reading or writing or taking notes on what I was saying. Now, the expectation is that my students are working as hard as I am. They are to be directing their learning and making connections and explaining how they discovered something new. My role is to facilitate more than to dictate. Now, when my administrator comes in, it is expected and praised to see a classroom where the students are actively (and, frequently, noisily) collaborating and engaged in breaking down a text or determining the most important components of an argumentative essay.
It has been a struggle to turn the classroom over to my students. I know what I need my students to learn, but if the learning is not meaningful to them, then all I am doing is throwing out words to be batted back at me in an essay or quiz. This book, along with Talking in Class: Using Discussion to Enhance Teaching and Learning, are giving me the tools I need to trust my students' abilities and to guide them to make relevant and deep connections to their learning.
The first six chapters guide you through the process that is both simple and flexible. The rest of the book addresses the steps to take after creating questions.
Before writing my review, I practiced this method with students and with colleagues, and it works well with both. By following the Question Formulation Technique, all contributing members have a point where they see everything will connect. My students, both in groups and as individuals, are now looking for additional questions and sources that they are exploring. Because we created a Question Focus, my colleagues in professional small groups don't wander off on some wild tangents that lead to generalized complaints.
If you are looking for ways to allow middle and high school students to take a more active role in the classroom, this may be a good resource for you. I find that it works easily in English, social studies, and science classes, and the book does address how to use it in math classes, too. I was wondering if the kinds of questions that were offered as examples in the book were atypical, but my high school sophomores were able to generate equal quality with as much interest in discovering the answers.
Divergent thinking is the ability to generate a range of ideas and think broadly and creatively about ideas and experiences.
Convergent thinking is the ability to analyze and synthesize information and ideas while moving towards answers or goals.
Metacognition is the ability to think about one's own thinking.
This book comes in an easy to use format that gives examples of how a lecturer or teacher could use this questioning method with lesson plans. I very much like that the author's stress that these skills of formulating questions and seeking answers will be used for the rest of a person's life. Therefore, it is the students responsibility to ask and develop their own question through the question formulation techniques shared here. This book once again has made me wonder what is happening in the US educational system that makes it so slow to incorporate innovation and transparency.
Education as a human right is an evolving ideal that is imperative for the globally connected world we live in today. The conversation of human rights and education is a debate that can be heard in political arena, schools, and is interjected in the average American's daily life when they turn on the news. Where the politics for personal educational rights begins it also marks it's disconnect. The average person comes in contact with educational reform program initiatives in a standard format and that format is often not enough to get individuals to feel that they need to be part of the debate (Stellmacher, & Sommer, 2008). The media has shown itself valuable in shaping the perceptions of stereotypes, far off lands, and even professions such as law enforcement or social workers (Freeman, & Valentine, 2004). The idea of a global village has lent itself to the exchange of information and entertainment by media companies that have extended their reach across the globe (Van Koert, 2000). Yet the education system as a whole is too slow to adopt these very same distribution methods that many global companies use to support and assess their organizational learners (staff).
The vision and mission of education today does not wholly reflect the innovations of our society and the changing tools of our workforce. Without having a clear vision and mission for educational paths how do we ensure that societal standards are honestly being met. Should we be having the exact educational track and assessments for the student seeking to do software programing and go to college as the student seeking to be a carpenter? I don't believe we should. As a nation we do not have the same expectations for the levels of proficiency in subject areas for students and the skills gap present in America today is one of the results of that.
I believe that progressive changes in education will have to come from concerned individuals and organizations, because policy and law comes only after major consequences have affected countless people. While a great many people have been affected, I believe these individuals may not have the voice to be heard by others as they struggle to deal with the consequences of the present educational system. I think there are many stories in this area that need to be heard!
In the area of human rights the consequences of lacking education and educational proficiencies for individuals will impact communities and even erase countless numbers of people's chance at a full life. The cost is too great to ignore. Yet the testimony of the people most impacted has not been disseminated in a way that demonstrates how these educational consequences are affecting everyone's life nationally. Companies today are seeking to tie data into everything from hiring and firing decisions, to strategic planning, to market positioning IT policies, and they are monitoring the feedback to those actions. We need to start teaching students how to do this and ensure they have financial and technological literacy to instruct them how to become lifelong learners. Teaching students to get through a program does not reflect how they can use their skills to thrive in a rapidly changing job market.
Once again the circular conversation happens about what to do and what is happening in education. While everyone can agree that education is important without a shared definition of what education represents to individuals and the institutions that people will come to embody, it is almost impossible to recognize if the education received is effective or appropriate for individuals to be competitive locally, across the nation, or around the globe until it is too late. When referring to education on a large scale it can be linked to globalization itself. Information can be conceptualized no different than commodities that are bought, sold, traded, and even hoarded away. We as individuals are not going to have a broad impact on education unless we are able to define what education means to people and what the talents, desire, and potential future holds for individuals as they look to us as educators. We need to look at personalizing aspects of education so that we may inspire students to learn and seek questions as they ask themselves what they should do with their life. At the same time burdens of debt for students is not working and we are seeing an alarming amount of educational loans being defaulted on. We need another way that does not burden so many people that need education and who are seeking better careers from that education.
In every society there will be multiple overlapping models for education and as education has increasingly become a prized social concept that demonstrates increased earning potential and a higher standard of living for individuals, more people want it. By increasing communication and collaboration of educational systems throughout our communities many scholars believe that this will begin to raise the standard of living for all people as they become aware of and desire to take part in the opportunities offered. This will begin to draw people out from the digital divide and increase the access of technology and information available to all people within the local and national communities. Utilizing community learning networks (CLNs) to support and further education will allow an interconnected web of assessments, standards, and cooperative efforts that has the potential of increasing democracy by empowering people from their communities. What people recognize when they speak about education is the social capital that education represents to them as an investment in their future. We cannot think of education today without recognizing how people are educating and accessing information to do this for themselves. Our goal as educators should be inspiring them to learn and demonstrate that learning in multiple ways.
I did my Master's thesis on Distance Education and Community Learning Networks linked by a Library of Culture because I saw how utilizing this organizational and technological structure could function to establish informational and cultural contact zones. These contact zones would connect people face-to-face and digitally in order to fully support learning in networks, partnering with universities, and encourage individuals with a variety of learning styles to interact for collaboration. To start we need to share information like this that works and make our voices heard that we need change. Thanks for reading my post.
Freeman, M., & Valentine, D. (2004). Through the Eyes of Hollywood: Images of Social Workers in
Film. Social Work, 49(2), 151-161. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Santiago, Joseph A., "Distance Education and Community Learning Networks linked by a Library of
Culture" (2011). Student Affairs Digital Community Development. Paper 13.
Stellmacher, J., & Sommer, G. (2008, March). Human rights education: An evaluation of university
seminars. Social Psychology, 39(1), 70-80. doi:10.1027/1864-93126.96.36.199
Van Koert, R. (2000). Providing content and facilitating social change: electronic media in rural
development based on case material from Peru. First Monday, 5(2), Retrieved from Inspec