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How to Ask Questions
Many students find it hard to ask questions during the classes and online (through Slack or otherwise). However, to become a good programmer means you dare to ask questions, lots of questions. In fact, some companies even have a rule on this: If you are stuck, you have ​one hour t​o solve the problem. If you cannot, you ​have to ask for help.
In HackYourFuture there are several ways to ask for help:
    Ask your classmate or a student from another class
    Ask in Slack (preferably in your classroom channel)
    Approach a teacher during breaks or through slack in a group
    Ask HYF staff to connect you to a graduate or teacher for individual sessions
Nevertheless, we often notice students not asking for help is the prime reason for them dropping out of our program.
Let’s take a classic example we often encounter in HackYourFuture:
During class the teacher explains a concept. At some point the students do not understand what the teacher is trying to explain. One or two students ask questions. However, these students already understand most of the concepts and are therefore comfortable to ask questions to improve their knowledge. Yet, most classmates remain silent and do not ask any questions, even though they can hardly keep up with the teacher. What are the reasons? Below we discuss 3 reasons and some suggestions on how to ask questions anyway.
Reason 1: You do not want to take the risk of looking stupid in front of the class.
Solution:
Fun story:​ ​A woman, recounting a story about an old man who used to answer all her "stupid questions", explained: "If you ask a question it makes you look stupid for 5 minutes – but if you don't ask – you stay stupid for fifty years, so always ask questions in your life".
If reason 1 is your reason for not asking, we say: you are wasting your own time. Instead of asking the teacher, you are telling yourself you will understand it by yourself later on. What often happens is that you will only understand 50% of it when you look it up yourself, and this will cost you much more time than just asking the teacher and getting a clear answer directly.
Also, in your job you will need to be capable of asking questions in front of people: start practicing now!
Reason 2:
You know you are not completely understanding the concept/explanation but do not know how to transform this into a useful question.
Solution
There are several ways to ask a question when you are not sure how to frame it:
Recap what you understood, and share where you lost the teacher
    “I Understood how it worked until this point, but after that you lost me. Can you explain part X again?”
How does X work:
    “How does part x work? I still don’t really understand it.”
Why do we do X?
    “Why do you use X to solve problem Y?”
Check your own understanding
    “Do I understand correctly that X does Y and Z?”
Ask for an example:
    “Can you give an example of how X works?”
Reason 3:
You lack a fundamental understanding of a basic concept, which prevents you from understanding the new information.
Solution
This situation applies when you have not mastered the underlying basic concepts yet and therefore cannot understand the explanation of the teacher (or reading materials) when discussing more advanced concepts.
For instance, the teacher is explaining ​callback functions​ with a practical example. However, you do not grasp his/her explanation since you are still not completely comfortable with basic functions, which are explained and used in the JS1/JS2 modules.
If this happens, it is probably a good idea to take some time apart with the teacher, a graduate student or someone else ​who is good at explaining the basics​.
We can always provide you with some help, for instance by organizing individual video calls or appointments with former students or teachers. Moreover, it is important to revisit the basic concepts that you struggle and ​practice, practice, practice u​ ntil you dream of Javascript functions. After that, you can try to revisit the more advanced concepts (for instance by re-watching the lecture on YouTube).
If you feel reason 3 applies to you, it is crucial not to wait and hope things get better with time. As the speed of our curriculum is very high, ​you have to take initiative and reach out to us for HELP.​ Again, good programmers ask for help. Those that do not ask for help, will never become good programmers.
Last modified 1yr ago
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