Education's Ecology

One Change Worth Considering

A few months ago I learned from my son, Brent, an educator in Las Vegas, about a wonderful book, Make Just One Change by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana. The book advocated a flip in the usual classroom practice where teachers typically begin a lesson by asking students a cluster of questions. The authors argue persuasively that education should emphasize questions (perhaps along with, or as a path toward, answers and critical thinking) by encouraging students to ask their own questions up front when they are being introduced to a new topic. Formulating questions is an essential skill for learning. Their “change” is a question formulation technique. The technique can be used at any level and across any learning style or subject matter. The core of the technique is to provide students with a prompt that could be as simple as a word or phrase or more complex such as a short story, a film, an illustration or a photographs. A class of students is then asked to write questions that are then processed in small groups to identify open and closed questions and select from a larger list just a few of the questions that the small groups feel are the “best.” Those and other questions can them become a foundation for further inquiry by students.

Brent and his wife, Erin, a second grade teacher have actively used the “change” with their students.



Bruce Lindgren

bflind58 (at) gmail (dot) com