What you'll learn

  • During the three weeks, teachers will:

    Reflect on the role of curiosity and questioning in your teaching practice, professional learning, and daily life, and extend your understanding of the relationship between question formulation, power, and agency.

    Examine models for building greater complexity into the QFT without undermining the deliberate simplicity of the process or the judgment-free learning environment it promotes.

    Evaluate and begin to apply a range of approaches for introducing, supporting, mentoring, and sustaining question formulation with adult learners. 

  • During the three weeks, school and district administrators will:

    Build bridges from classroom facilitation of the QFT (with student work samples) to expand, more systemic use of the QFT throughout school communities.

    Identify how QFT facilitation principles and practices align with adult learning theory. 

  • During the three weeks, everyone will:

    Design a plan to scale up and sustain a culture of question formulation in your classroom, school, organization, or system.
    Collaborate, reflect, and share ideas with other learners from around the country and the world.

Course description

Meaningful engagement begins to take root when all stakeholders can ask questions, participate in decision-making and feel a genuine sense of agency --whether as policy-makers, teachers, or those devising professional learning.

Questions at the Core: Extending the Question Formulation Technique to Sustain an Inquiry-based Culture in Schools picks up where our popular course Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions: Best Practices in the Question Formulation Technique, leaves off. In this three-week course, you will learn how to scale up and expand your expertise with the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) to jumpstart and create a deeper culture of inquiry: in your classroom, school, district, and/or organization. The program will prepare you to:

  • Strengthen and refine your QFT skills;
  • Make Question Formulation a core element of teaching and professional learning — with learners, community members, and others;
  • Develop an action plan to expand the use of the QFT in either your classroom and/or school culture.

Course Outline

Program Details

Overseen by the Right Question Institute’s Director of Professional Learning, Sarah Westbrook, this course is designed for those who wish to boost their expertise with the QFT. Administrators, superintendents, department heads, curriculum leaders, classroom teachers, and other educators are encouraged to join this course.

Using insights from classroom teaching, this course serves as a launch point for more expansive use of the QFT. In it, you will explore how to imbue educational efforts with inquiry, curiosity, question formulation, and agency in learners.

During three weeks of virtual learning, you will delve into practice and theory, engage in discussions, and reflect on how the course enhances your specific context. And while a district leader may have a different set of responsibilities than a classroom teacher, both are in powerful positions to help build a culture of inquiry through question-asking in their school community.

  • During week one, you will explore how to expand the use of the QFT from a one-off activity to a fully integrated and sustained inquiry-driven practice. You will begin by analyzing how the QFT can engender a new way of learning. You will examine your own relationships to question formulation and explore the connections between questions, power, and agency — connections that are relevant well beyond classroom settings.
  • In weeks two and three, you will explore how the QFT can help create an inquiry-driven professional learning culture — one that prioritizes voice, choice, and expertise. Along the way, you will examine models for introducing, mentoring, supporting, and sustaining the QFT with adults. At the end of week three, you will design a plan for catalyzing a culture of inquiry and Question Formulation in your own unique school setting based on your specific objectives.

All materials are provided at the start of the program. You should plan to devote a total of 15 hours of work or approximately five hours per week. Participants completing all individual assessments and contributing to group discussions prior to the end of the program period will receive a certificate indicating completion of 15 clock hours of instruction.

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