The realm of communication is quite confusing when it comes to the academic classroom. No theory can be applied here with absolute certainty. A question may seem very easy and hazardless to answer in the beginning. But the moment you answer it, you realise the utmost possibility of your face being used in some popular internet memes. I, as a student, often found myself in the vortex of confusion. Call it my careless attitude or introvert mind but most of the time, I kept my questions to myself. Though years later, those piles of unanswered questions helped me figure out what it feels like to be the person on the other side. Before beginning, I should clarify that I simply used my personal experience as both a student and the person hated/loved by the students. There isn't any PhD-cracking research thing going on here.
Here are the most common questions that plague the classrooms of Bangladesh:
The “I'm a smarty pants” Questions
“Sir/ma'am, if this is XYZ, don't you think the result of ZYX should be XXZ?”
What is the meaning of being a bhalo-chhatro if s/he cannot ask talented questions? Talented questions are usually asked from the brightest corners of curious minds. But for some teachers, these questions are considered to be sent straight from the darkest corners of hell. Because for both student and teacher, a classroom is not meant for only knowledge sharing. Sometimes questions like these are asked to challenge the fascinator, or to impress someone, or to prove that you have a book and you occasionally go through it at home. However, if any backbencher asks talented questions out of nowhere, most of the times it fails to create the sense of competitive jealousy among others. Instead, it creates open mouths of wonder, raises eyebrows, and triggers a few judgmental stares.
The You-Shall-Not-Leave Question
“Sir/ma'am, before you go, I have one more question. Why did Katappa kill Bahubali?”
The content of the question hardly matters here. What matters most is the time when the question is asked. Frankly there's nothing to do to avoid this question. The bell is about to ring, and the teacher is finally concluding the class. You are almost ready to literally run out of the classroom. But suddenly someone drops the Q-bomb and the teacher decides to spend a few more minutes on answering it. If you look around during this Q&A session, you will probably discover that even the politest kid is trying to scorch the questioner with his fiery eyes.
*insert rapidly-delivered jumbled up words that are supposed to resemble a question*
How often have you tried to bang your head on the bench while one of your classmates is asking countless questions to the teacher at the speed of light? Let me share a personal experience regarding this. We had a friend who used to ask rapid-fire questions all the time. He usually started with one simple question which the teacher could easily answer. Based on that answer, he would ask another question. He went on and on till he would realize there's no more questions left to ask. And by that time, the rest of the students had already made elaborate after-class plans.
The Oil Question
“Oh my god Sir/Ma'am! How do you know everything?”
If Uncle Sam had known about these questions, he would have immediately sent for some democracy in the classroom. Believe it or not, even though students tend to think that these questions are creating a good impression, in reality these questions often make you the traitor among your friends for joining the other side. Sometimes, even the teacher might get irritated. But a little ego boost never hurt anyone did it?
The Rhetoric Question
“Why are you guys so dumb?”
Sadly, this type of question is often asked by the teacher. Here, the answer lies in the question itself. Even after knowing the answer, no one tries to be the hero. However, if you bother to answer, you will immediately prove that your supposedly bygone innocence is still lingering from your I-don't-give-a-damn phase. If you slip the answer out loud, your impulse of understanding and responding to sarcasm is underdeveloped. Better if you murmur the answer quietly only for the sake of your whipped ego.
The John Cena Question
I can't give any specific example of this type of because this point has nothing to do with the contents of the question. It's actually about the inability to find the source. It usually happens when there are many students in the classroom. Students who ask this question are like John Cena. You can hear them, but you can't see them. If the question is rational and interesting, the answer is given with full sincerity. If the question is rather sarcastic or full of mockery, instead of answering, the teacher ends up combing through the entire classroom to find the culprit.
The writer is a lecturer at the Department of English, Daffodil International University.