A Look in the Fear of Asking
Throughout my life and my experiences as a learner, I do say that have had a lots of regrets, regrets that I wish I could turn back time. Of these regrets, I would include my fear of asking. Throughout this essay, I think I would relate majority of my experiences of my fear of asking to that of my high school life, and also relating how this had happened. Inside the classroom, I think one of the most traumatizing for me as a young student, is being embarrassed inside the classroom because of asking about something, but having had that one teacher saying that I am not listening, as she has taught it already.
In my high school life, academic performance inside and outside of the class has really been important for me, and so I would really like chances wherein I can give my effort for it. Nevertheless, with progressive academic performances should also be the making sure that nothing is wrong, or that nothing is worthy of painfully striking criticism. With my trauma of asking for the questions that I would like to have answers for, I would usually ask outside of my school, just like from my relatives, or majority, from the Internet. At times, I do hate myself for not asking the question from my teacher, as they are the ones knowing the lessons. However, all that chained me down from the progressing to the deeper learning inside the classroom is my fear of asking for help.
Doing a brief research with regards to the reasons as to why students have this fear of asking, I really like the points mentioned in the article written by Jake Teeny with the title of The Fear of Looking Stupid in Class – And How to Get Past It. I have really been interested particular with his mention of the factors of influence, specifically- pluralistic ignorance and illusion of transparency. Going onto the first factor, pluralistic ignorance “is when people mistakenly believe that they themselves feel differently than their peers, even though everyone is behaving similarly.” With my personal experience as a learner, I have encountered at times when I do not understand lessons such as that in Algebra topics in Math. However, what makes me fearful to ask is that nobody is raising their hands to ask some questions of clarifications and so I might appear as someone who is not listening or slow catching up inside the classroom. Nevertheless, the times that give me regrets are when my classmates inform me that neither understand the topic discussed and so I told myself that I should have ask my teacher about it. Another reason of the fear of asking is the illusion of transparency that discusses about the misbelief that what we ask might reveal about how little we know about something else. Nevertheless it interesting to see in Jake Teeny’s article that illusion of transparency should be disregarded as research reveals that “no matter how much someone internally thinks he or she seems nervous/stupid/confused, other people never perceive those emotions to the same extent.” Aside from these psychological effects mentioned with regards to the factors that lead to the fear of students to ask, reasons such as shyness, fear of peers, self-consciousness, and difficulty to form of question because of the fear that what they may form might be wrong in the ears of others in terms of structure, grammar, and pronunciation, are noteworthy to be considered by teachers with regards to how they can help learners engage more.
What Can Be Done?
- Induce creativity Creativity can be induced inside the classroom by means of visual aids that stimulate can stimulate excitement on the part of the students for their learning process. In the photo collage created above, it shows examples such as: 1. Bulletin boards where students can post the questions generated in their sticky notes
- Question boxes wherein students can drop their questions of clarifications or suggestions for improved teaching
- Sticky notes for questions to be posted daily by students in their notebooks and be made sure that the day will not end without it possible being answered
- Broaden horizons of learning Even though I haven’t experienced being a legitimate teacher/ educator yet, one of the main goals that I would like to achieve if ever I will already reach this point is to make sure that the teaching process will create a long term impact of learning on the part of the student. This means that the information acquired by the student will not easily escape to the other ear but will rather be remembered until the future life. In order to do this, one of the goals is to also encourage students to generate questions that fuels critical thinking and reflection. Incorporating Bloom’s taxonomy is usually what is stated for teachers, but encouraging this for students as well can be effective, especially for the part of improving in their power in asking.
- Organize groupsJust like what has been mentioned in the first part of this article, there are some factors to be considered that may lead to a students fearing the asking of a question inside a classroom. One of the effective solutions in order to encourage questions inside the classroom is the organizing of groups for brainstorming. One of the advantages of this can be the building of self-assurance in the part of the student and this can be an effective step to have courage to ask questions independently.
Teeny, J. (2015). The Fear of Looking Stupid in Class – And How to Get Past It. Retrieved from: http://nobaproject.com/blog/2015-06-04-the-fear-of-looking-stupid-in-class-and-how-to-get-past-it
Eichholz, T.(2016). 9 Great Ways to Encourage Students to Ask Questions. Retrieved from: http://www.fusionyearbooks.com/blog/encourage-students-ask-questions/
n.a. (n.d.). When Students Do Not Ask Questions in Class. Retrieved from: http://www.tenneyschool.com/when-students-do-not-ask-questions-in-class/
Berger, W. (2014, August 18). 5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners. Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/help-students-become-better-questioners-warren-berger