Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Questions? ~ Ask Them!

One of the biggest problems I had with students was their hesitancy to ask questions. Even when I knew they weren't understanding the material, they just wouldn't ask for help.

Now, I understand shyness. I was one of those students who always sat in the back of the room. I would have been more comfortable sitting under the desk, rather than in it. But what I was experiencing with students was not shyness. There were only a couple in each class that I would say were truly shy. The others just didn't ask.

I know that a few may have been so lost that they didn't even know what to ask. Others may have felt they understood the material well enough when they didn't. Others may have been embarrassed to ask questions in front of the rest of the class.

So, I started asking the questions to see if students understood the lessons. If they could answer, we moved on. If not, we stayed on the topic a little longer. This helped, but there were still questions they had that I did not anticipate, and so those questions were never asked and often not answered.

One of the things that was so frustrating was to ask the class over and over if there were any questions. There wouldn't be any. I'd ask again. There wouldn't be any. Then I'd give the assignment and within seconds, the hands would go up. I realized they all wanted individual attention. They didn't want to ask in front of the class, even though they all had the same question.

Giving individual attention is a wonderful thing, and I would give it as much as I could, but when there is one teacher and up to 35 students, individual attention is difficult. After the second or third student with raised hands asked the same question, I would go back to the front of the class, and explain it again.

So my advice to students is "Ask your questions. Don't be afraid to ask. If you have a question about a problem, chances are many of the other students have the same question. The teacher isn't always going to be able to get around to you individually. It's best for all, students and teacher, if you will please ask your questions." Your teachers and fellow classmates will be glad you did.

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