"You're about to lose your natural curiosity." This note could be placed in a kindergartener's lunchbox. Certainly, no one formally requires students to stop asking questions, yet many teachers say their efforts to elicit questions feels like “pulling teeth.”
We've developed a remedy for that pain. Our Question Formulation Technique (QFT) offers a deceptively simple methodology to spark and sustain student curiosity. It is being adopted by a growing number of educators, from individual teachers to departments of education to teacher preparation programs.
It's time now to accelerate the pace of adoption and scale up. Hence, our first Big Question: How can the latest technology be harnessed so that by 2018, students in 1 million classrooms are learning to become more curious, independent, creative thinkers, full of original and contrarian ideas?
We’ll use digital technology and online resources to help teachers in 1 million classrooms teach students how to ask their own questions and drive their own learning. And, we have a plan for counting all those classrooms.
We're eager to address a second Big Question: What might education look like if learning to formulate questions were as fundamental to education as reading, writing and mathematics?
We'll gather evidence by working in concert with Boston University researchers exploring how to foster curiosity using the QFT, and we’ll gather data about its impact in classrooms. We’ll share the results through case studies, articles, blog posts, media appearances, and a new book – a sequel to our 2011 publication, one of Harvard Education Press’ all-time best sellers.
This project will make a dramatic difference in pedagogical and learning practice. By 2018, students in 1 million classrooms will know they need not leave their natural question-asking abilities behind. Just imagine all the new, creative and contrarian ideas students in classrooms from kindergarten through higher education will be generating.