Why Do not Asian College students Ask Questions in Class?


After I was about to embark on my first instructing task in Asia, a colleague with a number of abroad instructing expertise there informed me to take a number of lesson materials. After I requested why, he mentioned, “As a result of Asian college students do not ask questions”. In Canada, the US or different Western nation it’s regular to have a query and reply interval on the finish of a lesson. In Asia, neglect it! Until you’ve a category of scholars who’ve studied abroad, you’re prone to benefit from the sound of silence.

Why do not they ask questions? Let me reply that from my expertise instructing in Thailand. It holds true all through Asia and will fluctuate by diploma. A younger little one in Thailand is taught that ‘father is aware of finest’. There isn’t a have to suppose. Father will let you know what to do. At school, the instructor is aware of finest. Copy down what the instructor places on the board. That’s what will likely be on the examination. There may be little switch of studying. Change the wording on the examination and a lot of the college students will in all probability not be capable of reply the query.

Later, in enterprise, you do not have to suppose, your boss will let you know what to do. Granted, this can be an oversimplified view however in essence it’s what occurs.

Now, add to that the idea of ‘face’ which is prevalent all through Asia although nearly unknown in North America and different Western nations. If a pupil asks a query at school, s/he leaves her/himself open to 2 potential ‘lack of face’ situations. By asking a query, it implies {that a}) both the instructor didn’t clarify the subject nicely sufficient for the scholar to know – thus opening up a lack of face state of affairs for the instructor in entrance of the category, or b) the scholars was too dumb to have understood what the instructor was saying and so the scholar loses face amongst her/his classmates. Whereas this may increasingly appear ridiculous to some and somewhat odd to others, consider me, it’s a reality of life in Asia – no less than within the oriental nations.

Since neither state of affairs is an effective one to provoke, it’s higher to keep away from the issue by not asking the query – no less than not at school. The scholar might choose to talk to the instructor outdoors the classroom after class or someday later when there isn’t any one else round. Lack of face is a severe difficulty in Asia, probably even deadly. I child you not. Lecturers in Western nations who’ve newly-arrived Asian college students ought to on the very least pay attention to ‘face’. These college students turn into ‘westernized’ shortly although.

I feel the state of affairs is altering as increasingly college students are uncovered to western considering, instructing and tradition however inside Asia traditions die onerous.

The ‘face’ difficulty goes hand-in-hand with an idea that I’ve termed ‘The Cyborg Impact’. In the event you recall the Cyborg from Star Trek of their gigantic metallic dice, these creatures functioned as particular person our bodies however one linked thoughts. In Thailand, college students sit in pairs usually. Ask one pupil a query and you’ll not often get an instantaneous response. The scholar will flip to her/his accomplice and confer. You’ll then obtain a collective reply. In some methods that is good. Nonetheless, it makes it tough to evaluate particular person pupil data.

by Dr. Robert W. F. Taylor