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  Weekly Feature: January 24, 2004

As a StudentóShould You Ask Questions in Class?
Paul's Weekly Feature


To check their understanding or simply for clarification, students often wish to ask their teacher or instructor questions during class. However, many students would rather not ask in class because they may be concerned about being embarrassed, or concerned about slowing the class down.

For the benefit of everyone in the class, especially for the benefit of the asking student, students should not hesitate to ask meaningful questions during a lecture or presentation.

Donít be overly concerned about embarrassing yourself in the eyes of the teacher. Throughout the teacherís career, the teacher has been asked questions in class which are probably far more embarrassing than yours may be.

Furthermore, donít be too sensitive about embarrassing yourself in the eyes of your class mates, especially your friends. In all likelihood, the other students in the class have a question similar to yours, and they may admire or respect you for having the courage to ask in class. As well, your question may benefit the students who had not thought of it.

An instructor may not answer your question immediately. Donít view this as an indication that your question is not important, or that it may waste important class time. Your question may be answered by subsequent material presented during that class, or perhaps the instructor is waiting for a more relevant and appropriate class time to respond to your question.

In addition, some instructors purposely set aside brief time periods, throughout their lecture, to deal with questions. Keep in mind that the instructor may choose to discuss your question with you after class, perhaps even in private.

Both the teacher, and the students, benefit a great deal from studentsí questions during class. Most teachers welcome and appreciate studentsí questions in class primarily because such questions guide the instructor toward a better presentation, and improved delivery of the lecture.

The asking student, moreover, will ultimately be rewarded with improved comprehension and greater clarity of the material being taught. So if you have a question in class that is important to you, a question that will help you learnóso you can understand betteró then donít be fearful, go ahead and ask!

For reference and for further details, check these sites:

A Line on Life (How to Flunk)

Do you never ask questions in class?

Student afraid to ask for help


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