Questions or comments?

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Definition

"Questions or comments?" is a phrase often spoken by instructors or teachers in the midst of their explanations, accompanied by a short pause, ostensibly with the purpose of giving students an opportunity to ask questions or make comments. Other variants are:

  • "Any questions or comments?"
  • "Does anybody have questions?"
  • "Is everything clear? Any questions?"
  • "Unless anybody has questions, we'll move to the next topic."

Advantages

"Questions or comments?" can be a helpful way of signaling transitions between topics, particularly if it is accompanied by a slight pause, and an indication that this is a good time for students to quickly review what they have very recently learned.

Disadvantages

There is nothing wrong with using "Questions or comments?" in and of itself. The trouble arises when non-response to this question is considered sufficient reason to believe that the students or learners have understood the material presented, and are prepared for the next round of material. This is related to the silence is consent fallacy and feeds into the illusion of transparency. If "Questions or comments?" is the prime form of seeking interaction with students, students might (perhaps correctly infer) that the instructor is not genuinely interested in evaluating how well students are actually understanding the material.