7 Reasons to Ask Questions in Class

Most teachers spend a lot of time encouraging students to participate in class. One of the most obvious ways for a student to participate is to ask questions. However, let’s face it, most of us are perfectly content to sit (or sleep) in the back of class, and never raise our hands or our voices. The reasons for this are obvious. But many students haven’t considered the reasons for raising that hand and actually asking the question.

Here are just a few reasons for doing it.

1. You learn more

This is the obvious one. As they say, “the only stupid question is the one not asked.” In fact, pretty much every cliche you have ever heard about learning goes here. These phrases have become so overused and cliche that most of it goes in one ear and out the other nowadays, but these phrases still ring true. If you want to learn the material, you will have to ask questions.

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2. Your friends learn more

If you are thinking about a question, you can bet there are other people in the class who are seriously wondering the same time, but they aren’t willing to stand out and ask it, either. If one of you doesn’t come up with the guts to ask the question, nobody will learn anything.

3. Exert your power

Most students feel powerless in class, but this is not true. You have the power to set the pace of a class with most teachers. Because the average teacher cares more about understanding than ground covered in a class, relevant questions can stop the class in its place. If you hate physics (probably because you don’t understand it in the first place), start asking questions. In addition to understanding the material better, you will probably have significantly less material to worry about understanding.

4. Demonstrate your understanding

This helps a teacher set the pace, determining if they are covering material too fast for you to understand. Additionally, if you ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate some understanding, it can make that teacher be a little more forgiving when you make a silly mistake on the homework or quiz. They’ll say to themselves, “oh, so-and-so understands this; they just forgot to carry the one.” Partial credit rules!

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5. It will help you stay awake

Falling asleep is both a physical and mental problem. Paying enough attention in class to ask questions helps keep you mentally stimulated. Any kind of action, including the simple one of raising your hand and moving your mouth can help fight off the lethargy we all feel in the class right after lunch or the first one in the morning.

6. Take out frustration

If you get frustrated about getting problems wrong or the way your teacher explains things, use this to ask questions. And don’t feel bad about being persistent. You can take out some of your frustration at the material for being too hard and head off more frustration by understanding the new stuff better.

7. Teachers don’t bite

For real. (And if they do, that’s a WHOLE other set of problems. It is either time to call in some legal authority figures or break out the garlic. )

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