One of the organizations we’re most inspired by is called the Right Question Institute
(RQI). It’s a foundation dedicated to the sole mission of helping people improve their question formulation abilities. They’ve developed their own framework - the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) - that makes it possible for anyone, no matter their level of income or education, to learn how to produce and improve their own questions and then strategize on how to use them.
One of the founders recently published this article
about the QFT in action at an elementary school in Maryland. The story is about a science teacher who had been struggling with the question of how to get students more engaged with their research projects. The project was about researching weather systems (e.g. tornadoes, hurricanes etc), and for years her approach had been to assign groups a specific weather system, provide a research framework, and have students present their findings. But the presentations were dry and students seemed uninterested.
After becoming aware of the RQI and their QFT, she realized that the problem might be that students were not engaged because they weren’t coming up with their own research questions.
So she began implementing the program in her classroom. It begins with designing a question focus (weather systems in this example), then allowing students dedicated time to brainstorm their own questions. So the students came up with questions like:
How are hurricanes different from tornadoes?
Where do hurricanes start?
Why does a hurricane have an eye?
From their students then have to change open questions to closed and vice versa, and subsequently prioritize questions based on those they felt were most interesting to explore. At the end, students would decide on which questions would ultimately become the basis for their research projects and they were far more engaged in the process of researching and presenting on their findings.
We absolutely love this and hope to have a small fraction of the impact that RQI is having today.
A huge thank you to the incredible work being done by the RQI founders Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana!