Asking for Help

One of the most common questions we hear is ”Why don’t they ask for help?”  or “Why don’t they ask questions when they don’t understand?”  There are many possible reasons for this, and cultural differences play an important role here.

The video includes further reasons for this as well as some suggestions from UFV instructors to encourage students to seek help when they need it.

Information on Classroom Assessment Techniques(CATs) is also included here as these strategies can help instructors to gauge comprehension and identify areas of confusion when students do not ask for help.



Classroom Assessment Techniques

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are a set of specific activities that instructors can use to gauge students’ comprehension of concepts and content.  They can also be used to gauge what students already know about course content during the first few days of a course or at the beginning of a new unit.  These strategies are not meant to be used for assessment purposes, but rather to help instructors identify content that needs to be revisited and adjust instructional approaches.

Two techniques:

One-minute paper: Ask the students to spend one minute writing a response to the question: What was the most important information in today’s class?

Muddiest point: Ask the students to spend one minute writing a response to the question: What was the muddiest point (unclear concept) in today’s class?

These techniques can easily be adapted for online sites students can access on their phones. B-socrative is a free, easy to use resource for creating online quizzes and exit slips. Kahoot can be used to reformulate the activities as team activities.

Resources for CATs:

Online resources

The activities included in the online websites are adapted from.

Angelo, Thomas A., & Cross, K. Patricia. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


The video demonstrates a helpful strategy that can be used to generate questions and identify topics that need to be re-visited in follow-up classes.

Some information on Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT) is also included here as these provide other helpful ways to identify what students have understood and what is still unclear.


Video-asking for help



asking for help document



What’s brewing in your classroom?

Meet with Dr. Maureen Wideman to discuss your ideas and challenges. She can help you reach your teaching goals and develop great learning experiences for students.

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