Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Afraid To Ask Questions

This was an interesting post on from the History News Network about students talking during school.It seems that a lot of students do not like to ask questions. According to the article:
A recent newspaper article about asking questions in the public school classroom poses an interesting problem. It seems that many middle school students in the Milwaukee area and elsewhere, as many as one in three, are afraid to ask teachers questions because their peers will tease them, calling them “stupid” or “dumb.” Says one girl, “When you’re in school, the thing you care about most is what other people think.” Other reasons for student silence include a child’s temperament, poor language skills, and unsympathetic teachers. The unwillingness to participate in class carries a price: Educational specialists observe that students who don'’t ask questions are likely to fall behind, become discouraged, and lose interest in school.

This is a huge problem. The classroom needs to be a place where there is a complete open forum to discuss ideas, theories, feelings and just generally absorb more knowledge. Asking questions essential to this pursuit. I am not sure students realize how much better classes are when the students are asking questions and contributing to the discussion. I think sometimes one of my weaknesses as a teacher is not fostering and encouraging enough questions. Hopefully the rest of this year I can do better.


Blogger Casey Jack said...

Hey, I asked you a question once, and you answered it. So you're not as bad as you think.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah! An excellent post for me to comment.
This is Becky!
I can certainly tell you that when you have a minority viewpoint in school it can certainly be discouraging to ask questions or even talk in discussion. There is always someone who loves to dog on you and trash you just to get a rise out of you.
I've run into some personal problems in college too, as far as asking questions go, so it's not just in high school. Bethel is a REALLY liberal school, and so most of the students and teachers are LIBERAL. Anyway, just by watching how they interact with people who don't share their views has made, for me, talking in class really intimidating. It's really tempting for someone to laugh or retort negatively to someone's totally "off the wall" question, but if the person asking didn't feel that way at all, it's pretty rare that you'll see them try to ask questions again. If teachers set the right tone and are open to all types of questions and discussions (unless, of course, they're really inappropriate), that's just one way they can create a welcoming environment for students to ask questions.

PS! You and Mr. Gerber were great teachers to ask questions with, except for when you teased me every so often!

12:17 AM  
Blogger Mr. Warsnak said...

Just wondering: How do the professors react to the questions? Do they engage is a discussion or do they mock and tear into the poor student?

9:34 PM  

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