A Closed Mouth Doesn’t Get Fed

A Closed Mouth Doesn't Get Fed

For several years I have been serving as an adjunct instructor teaching traditional and online college courses. I enjoy interacting with students who span various ages, reside in different states and countries, and learners who have diverse career interests. In my courses, I aim to create a welcoming atmosphere through sharing my educational journey and interests. I also interlace my expertise with practical examples to explain challenging course concepts. However, while reading reflective assignments and exercises many of my students have expressed their apprehension with contacting their instructor to ask questions. I have encountered students who have stopped out of college because of being shamed for asking so-called “simple” or “stupid” questions. As I noticed this theme among student’s responses in their reflective assignments, I thought of the old adage, “A Closed Mouth Doesn’t Get Fed”.

I think that many individuals who have said or heard this proverb are reminded to assert themselves or ask questions. So, why it is that many of my students fear asking questions? According to Tugend (2007), people do not seek help because they do not want to “seem weak, needy or incompetent”. As a naturally inquisitive individual, I am a proponent of asking questions. I encourage everyone to ask questions and keep asking until they reach understanding!

Below are some quotes to keep in mind during this academic year.


Focus more on learning than succeeding. Instead of pretending you understand something when you don’t, just raise your hand and ask a question.

– Michelle Obama


How do I create something out of nothing? I think it is by questioning.

– Amy Tan


Fear is the enemy of curiosity. 

– Joshua Aronson


~Dr. Owens

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