Lecture halls are strange places. The back and side rows fill up quickly. The front rows are left empty, except for perhaps an older student or the particularly enthusiastic characters.
At the start of first year, I sat near the front so I could see and hear what was on the lecture slides. It surprised me how little response there was to the lecturer’s questions. I felt a bit silly answering most of the questions. After a while, a friend I used to sit next to asked if we could stop sitting so close to the front because they didn’t want to be involved in the lecture. Now I tend to hide myself in the middle rows towards the back – trying not to make eye contact with the lecturer for fear of being asked to give an answer. Most of the time in a Spanish grammar lecture for example, I know the answer. And I’m sure many fellow students do too. But we remain silent, staring blankly at the poor lecturer.
What does this say about us?
We sit in silence because we don’t want to stand out too much. The fear of embarrassment at getting an answer wrong (or more terrifying what other people might think) stops us from asking questions. I know, I do this too, but it’s bizarre. This fear can stop us learning, stop us questioning. We all probably have similar questions, if one of us would just ask.
What will you choose to question or speak up about today?