I'm an undergrad and I tend to learn better when I understand the concepts behind things instead of rote repetition. As a result of this, I often have questions.
There are times when I don't understand concepts, so I'll ask questions. If after a line of questioning, I still don't understand something, I'll just concede and say, "Oh wow! I totally get it now! Thanks!"
I do this because I:
- want to avoid wasting class time
- don't want the lecturer to feel like maybe they've done a poor job of explaining when perhaps I'm just not grokking an underlying principle.
- don't want other students to think, "Wow, what's her deal? She is not getting this, is she?"
However, this prevents me from learning. Because of my second bullet, even when I ask a professor in a one-on-one scenario and am just not understanding, I still do this "I totally get it! K thx bai!"
I feel like if I just say, "I don't get it," and ask the same thing over again, it gets circular and we don't get anywhere and I'm worried I'll frustrate my professor.
Is there a better way to handle this or is this a sign that I need to seek an additional resource for learning (ie. a different textbook, Khan Academy, etc...)? I read my book thoroughly and use alternative resources, but am hoping I can figure out:
- Is "giving up" in order to exit a continuous loop on non-understanding fair to me? The professor will clearly think I'm fine and that I've moved on from it.
- Is it fair to the professor who may potentially learn from it as well? For example, other students may be making similar mistakes built on a false premise the professor could easily clear up.
- I've potentially robbed myself of a learning opportunity if there is a better way to exit the conversation. What better strategies could I use?
Perhaps if I admitted (somehow) that I'm not understanding something, the professor might say, "You know who might explain it differently! Dr. ____" or "a really great resource is ___."
But I don't know how to get to that point. I don't want to just say, "Yeah, I'm not getting it, so what now?" I feel like that would be so incredibly rude!
Edit: I don't repeat a question continuously. I try to attack a problem from various angles, but sometimes I get in these situations where I feel the back and forth isn't working out or by listening to a response I learn a new detail that confuses me more. In this case, I can say, "Wait, so why are you using A to compute B, when earlier we used C to compute B?" But in these cases, sometimes this leads to further backpedaling and confusion.