Fear of asking causes ignorance, anxiety

  Dumb questions are easier to handle than dumb mistakes. This is a widely-known idea which implies that nipping ignorance early can result in a positive outcome. It’s the way in which inquisitive people are treated, however, which will truly reflect the outcome.

  It’s not too uncommon to see punishment be the first response to ignorance. A forgetful moment leading to a ‘dumb’ question causes a chain reaction of pained groans and annoyed remarks by both classmates and teacher. This shouldn’t be the case, however. No matter the question, it should always be answered with a positive and encouraging undertone. Otherwise, the asker will find themselves holding in their curiosity for more serious situations.

  This trend of reacting harshly to simple questions is what causes classroom anxiety. Students enter high school afraid to raise their hands because they were groomed from elementary to middle school that only intelligent questions were appropriate. This attitude will travel straight to real-life situations – students will go into the workplace oblivious of the rules, or will enter their doctor’s office and forget to ask the important questions regarding their health.

  Every answer and response will have a long-lasting effect that most won’t see. It’s not a matter of whether or not you believe there’s no such thing as a dumb question, it’s a matter of how you inform others despite the content of the inquiry. Next time a student blurts out a question with an answer that’s obvious to you, don’t have the knee-jerk reaction of laughing at or making fun of their lack of knowledge. Instead, answer earnestly, and encourage more questions.