No Stupid Questions – Part 1 – Tips for Success in American College
Questions. There are no stupid questions. Teachers are always saying this to their classrooms and still students don’t ask questions, even though we teachers can see that this student is confused, that one doesn’t understand. You might think your question is unimportant. You might think your question is silly or stupid. If you have a question related to my class, it’s not stupid. It’s important. and you need to ask me so that I can answer you. I get frustrated because I want to help you but you have to take the first step. You have to ask me. Now, some studentsÉ their natural curiosity has become so stunted in school, it’s almost a social taboo to ask a question. They can’t. Other students, it may be a cultural issue. In their culture, it’s a sign of criticism of authority to ask a question, or maybe they comeÉ you come from a culture where, if you don’t understand something, you’re supposed to be silent and reflective until you do understand. There’s a church near my house where most of the congregation is Korean And I saw a sign out there the other day. “It is okay to ask questions.” In other words, the minister was trying to tell his congregation that asking questions is welcome here in his church and he wanted them to feel comfortable asking him about things they did not understand. In church in America and it’s the same way in my classroom, in any American classroom. Your questions are part of the social interaction of an American classroom, the give and take of ideas. So, even if it’s a taboo – and I know taboos are very difficult to
break – you have to make the step, you have to make the effort. It will be easier. Every question you ask will make the next one easier to ask.