At the beginning of a unit, mini-unit or lesson it is often good practice to build intrinsic motivation of students. One way to build interest is to have them generate their own questions for exploration in the learning activities. Here are some sites that can provide insight into this process. This is also an important step in inquiry based learning.
Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions http://hepg.org/hel/article/507
This article appears in the Harvard Education Letter describing the work of the Right Question Institute. They have developed a strategy called the Question Formulation Technique (QFT). This technique helps students learn how to produce their own questions, improve them, and strategize on how to use them.
Learners Should Be Developing Their Own Essential Questions: Jackie Gerstein’s Blog http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/learners-should-be-developing-their-own-essential-questions/
“Although essential questions are powerful advance organizers and curriculum drivers, the problem is that the essential questions are typically developed by the educator not the learners. The educator may find these questions interesting and engaging, but that does not insure that students will find them as such.” She advocates that we look at the work of Jamie McKenzie, Ed.D. and Hilarie Bryce Davis, Ed.D. which she summarizes.
Clean Apple has a talk byNoam Chomsky in this area. In a tremendous talk on the purpose of education, Noam Chomsky explains that, “The highest goal in life is to inquire and to create; to search the riches of the past and try to internalize the parts of them that are significant to you, to cary that quest for understanding further in your own way. The purpose of education, in that point of view, is just to help people determine how to learn on their own.” http://www.cleanapple.com/?p=505
5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners
To change that is easier said than done. Working within an answers-based education system, and in a culture where questioning may be seen as a sign of weakness, teachers must go out of their way to create conditions conducive to inquiry. Here are some suggestions (based on input from question-friendly teachers, schools, programs, and organizations) on how to encourage more questioning in the classroom and hopefully, beyond it.