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Beautiful Questions in the Classroom

Beautiful Questions in the Classroom
Transforming Classrooms Into Cultures of Curiosity and Inquiry

First Edition

Foreword by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, The Right Question Institute

June 2020 | 208 pages | Corwin

 "What does it mean to learn? Most of us eventually realize that genuine learning is less about delivering the right answers and more about asking the right questions. In an age of automation, questioning is a uniquely human skill, one we should foster in school and in life. This book is an essential read for educators at every level.”

      Daniel H. Pink, author of ‘WHEN’, ‘DRIVE’, and ‘A Whole New Mind’

“For teachers around the world there is a moral urgency to work with young learners in innovative ways that nurture agency, curiosity, agile thinking and problem solving. The role of questions in this cannot be underestimated.”

      Kath Murdoch. Consultant in Education and Author of ‘The Power of Inquiry.’

Why does engagement plummet as learners advance in school? Why does the stream of questions from curious toddlers slow to a trickle as they become teenagers? Most importantly, what can teachers and schools do to reverse this trend? Beautiful Questions in the Classroom has the answers. This inspirational book from Warren Berger and Elise Foster will help educators transform their classrooms into cultures of curiosity. The book explores the importance of questioning and how inquiry leads to learning, innovation, and personal growth.

 Readers will find:
- Strategies to inspire bigger, more beautiful student questions
- Techniques to help educators ask more beautiful questions
- Real-world examples, case studies, practical ideas, and question stems
- Videos showing strategies at work

Great teachers help students to ask bigger, more beautiful questions. This book will prepare and inspire educators to develop a powerful teaching approach that creates a classroom full of student driven inquiry.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments
About the Authors
Chapter 1. Why Questioning Matters Now More Than Ever
What This Means for Students and Their Teachers

Critical Thinking Is Even More Critical Now

Questions Give Humans an Edge Over Technology

Producing Future Leaders

Chapter 2. What Discourages Student Questioning?
The Decline of Kids’ Questions

The Five Enemies of Classroom Questioning

Chapter 3. Model the Behavior
Become a “Beautiful Questioner”

Start With Why

Become a Student of Your Own Work

Adopt a “Beginner’s Mind”

Be Curious in the Classroom

Chapter 4. Create a Culture of Inquiry in the Classroom
Foster an Appreciation of Questioning

Create a Stimulating Environment for Questioning

Make It Safe to Question

Make Questioning a Team Sport

Provide a Basic Questioning “Starter Kit”

Reward and Celebrate Questioning

Chapter 5. Inspire and Activate Student Questions
Provoke Curiosity

See Think Wonder

Release the Questions!

The Question Formulation Technique

The Origins of the QFT

Learning to Use the QFT in Classrooms

The Question Focus

The Question Generation Stage

Chapter 6. Help Students Improve and Take Ownership of Their Questions
Improve the Questions That Have Been Generated

Other Ways to Improve Questions

Evaluate and Prioritize Questions

Reflect on What Has Been Learned

Take Ownership of Questions

Turn Questions Into Projects

Help Students Find Their Own, Personal Big Beautiful Questions

Chapter 7. Be a Questioning Leader (in Your School, Community, and the World)
Ask Questions That Clarify

Ask Questions That Help You Rethink and Reinvent

Ask Questions That Help You Help Others

Ask Questions That Can Help You Enact Change

Taking Action


I want to read this over and over again! This is a book that EVERY teacher, regardless of their grade level or content area, should read if they want to see student learning transformed in their classrooms with JOY and EXCITEMENT! Questions matter!!

Karen Vogelsang, Tennessee Teacher of the Year
Memphis, TN

The difference between a good teacher and a great teacher is the questions they ask. Beautiful Questions in the Classroom is a timely reminder that, beyond any content we might teach, the art of question posing is a gift that will serve students for the rest of their lives. This easy to read book provides useful, efficient strategies to cultivate curiosity in our classrooms and beyond.

Erik Burmeister, Superintendent
Menlo Park City Schools
Menlo Park, CA

In BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS IN THE CLASSROOM, Warren Berger and Elise Foster make the case for why questions deeply matter in the learning process. This book offers deep insight and practical applications. I recommend it as a fantastic book study for a staff, a reflective read for individuals, and an important resource to support focused lesson design to teach students how to ask questions that matter to them and to their learning.

Pamela Moran, co-author of Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-based Thinking Change Schools

Warren Berger’s book, A More Beautiful Question, is one of those books that I regularly pull off the shelf and dive into. It is lovingly marked up with post-its and several of my own questions scribbled in the margins. As an educator passionate about inquiry learning, it was thrilling to read the words of a journalist outside the field of education extolling the virtues of curiosity and wonder and to learn more about the way questions lead to innovation. Berger’s work certainly added fuel to my own fire. So it was with great delight that I learned of this new offering: Beautiful Questions in the Classroom. This book is a rich and thorough contribution to the field - and has come at an incredibly important time. As I write, fires raging through my country are among many issues weighing heavily on the minds and hearts of people everywhere. For teachers around the world there is, I believe, a moral urgency to work with young learners in innovative ways that nurture agency, curiosity, agile thinking and problem solving. The role of questions in this cannot be underestimated.

This book not only invites the reader to deepen their understanding of the significance of questions in the classroom; it also provides a wealth of practical and inspiring ideas and strategies expertly sourced from educators. In fact, this is what makes Beautiful Questions in the Classroom such an impressive read. Unlike many books (including my own!) written by educators for educators, Berger’s journalistic skills in sourcing, investigating, analysing and curating ideas bring a freshness of perspective and scope to thinking about cultures that support inquiry. This will be another book by Warren Berger to which I return over and over. It’s beautiful.

Kath Murdoch, Consultant and Author, The Power of Inquiry

Berger and Foster make a compelling case for bringing curiosity to the forefront of classroom learning. The authors draw from their wide-ranging experience as self-proclaimed questionologists to inspire and inform, challenging teachers and students alike to create Big Beautiful Questions. The reader is left with many questions, including “What might happen if I encouraged every student to express their curiosity every day through more beautiful questions?”

Jackie A. Walsh, Author of Quality Questioning, 2nd Edition

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ISBN: 9781544365466

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