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14.08.2018 Opinion

There Are No Stupid Questions

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Think back to a time when you were in school. The teacher lectured about a new unfamiliar topic. “Everyone else must understand this?” you thought.

What did you? As most of us do, you thought, “I’ll just read about the question later.” It’s certain that this rarely happens, despite the good intentions.

What didn’t you do? You made a choice, unknowingly or otherwise, to not act upon that questioning curiosity.

The question being as simple as, “Umm… what?”

Instructors are there to take your questions, so that you can put your education into practice. As students, it’s easy to come up with reasons not to ask questions . There’s limited time in class. Your questions may not be useful for the entire class. Instead, now you are burdened with researching a topic you don’t understand.

To boldly go… Educating yourself on an unknown topic is no easy task. Your initial understanding is very limited, but the available information is overwhelming.

I’m teaching myself web development. I have a clear purpose for doing so. However, I never feel that I put in enough time to develop that knowledge. To dedicate myself to the task, to become obsessive.

One of my major downfalls is how self-education through online resources is like tumbling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.

You find a term that you don’t understand. Looking it up leads you to find another unfamiliar concept. Soon you can’t remember where you started. As you go down the rabbit hole, you come across ideas that are derivatives of your search. You are left feeling distracted, further confused, and like you wasted your time.

This is how you learn. This is how we do it Imagine sitting and talking with a child. As you chat the child continues to ask, “Why?”

“Why?” “Why?” You might be infuriated over the child’s ad nauseam question. You forget this simple process of discovery. How deriving the foundations of a topic is the strongest method of establishing new connections between the known and not yet known. It’s worth turning an eye as to why we become frustrated at this line of questioning.

Avoiding discussing the overall state of education, it’s worth acknowledging curiosity as the greatest method to learning.

How you put that curiosity to use is really up to you. When I imagine that classroom of confused faces, it’s obvious that I should ask my question. There will be a few annoyed students. Engaging the instructor in conversation is frowned upon by those people who are looking to get out of class and back to their “free time”. However, by sitting in a learning environment without learning, all you are doing is cheating yourself.

Being afraid that you might ask a stupid question, only makes you stupid.

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