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Writing questions out is better than asking them

  1. Jul 17, 2012 #1
    i used to believe that i was getting a second rate physics education because i wasn't attending any classes and the only way i could get answers to problems was to ask them here. so a little while ago i went to my first public lecture on physics since i started studying physics heavily. some astronomer made a simulation of the andromeda and the milky way galaxy colliding into each other over the next 7 billion years. so after his talk i got to ask my first question, it was about dark matter. i didn't even remember what the guy said because i couldn't really understand him. it's then that i realized that asking question on the forum where you can see what they're saying clearly and look stuff up if you don't understand is the first rate way to do things and asking questions in public using spoken words is second rate. it all comes down to the written word is superior to the spoken word.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2012 #2


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    It's a matter of what works best and there are many ways to skin a cat.

    Interactivity is often a more preferred way of not only learning but communicating and working in general. People get accustomed to different methods: sometimes out of comfort and sometimes out of necessity.

    Having said this, communication for both the spoken, the written, and neither of the above (body language, graphics, visual presentations, all these kinds of things) is both a science and an art and every area has their own ways of doing so.

    Usually what happens is that after something becomes a lot more organized and mature as a human endeavor in itself, the communication systems, protocols, and other similar things also become a lot better. Standards arise in all facets including communication, and things start to become a lot more consistent and as a result more streamlined in getting stuff done.

    As food for thought, consider the need of taking something like engineering and building the kinds of frameworks that are used today including all the standards, protocols, regulations and so on: this didn't happen over-night.

    Think about how this kind of thing happens in every single area: manufacturing, engineering, science, mathematics, programming, computer jargon, standards for sporting (including the instruments used), and all these kinds of things: they all started off as a single or collection of organized ideas and became organized shaping the disciplines as we see them today.

    This is a template of how things work: not an exception.
  4. Jul 17, 2012 #3
    Comparing your two "types" of word the "spoken word" can be more spontaneous,and perhaps,more direct and to the point.It can lead to useful discussion and quick clarification.The "written word" can be more considered,more carefully thought out,but any resulting dialogue can be lengthy.Both types of communication have their bad points but also their good points.Use them both.
  5. Jul 17, 2012 #4


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    Swings and roundabouts. With face to face conversation you get interactivity so that a good teacher can gauge how well what they are saying is being understood and augment to compensate. This is helped by the generally increased speed (I could say all this and have a response far faster face to face than typed). Of course speed isn't all good, having time can give one space to martial one's thoughts, look things up, look over what you're saying and see if it makes sense etc.

    Bottom line; communication comes in many forms and no one way is better than any other for all situations.
  6. Jul 17, 2012 #5


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    Different people learn in different ways. Some take in spoken language better than reading, or vice versa.

    Or perhaps the issue isn't how one takes in information. Some years ago, a guy in one of my physics classes broke his arm early in the quarter and had trouble writing. Of course in physics you have to do *lots* of problems to learn the material, and since he could only write very slowly he was considering dropping the class.

    But he found that because he had to think out what he was going to write before starting the problem, he actually did better than normal.

    So maybe when you write, you focus more on your ideas.
  7. Jul 17, 2012 #6
    I think no one instance is sufficient to learn something completely. Sometimes spontaneous interaction can create ideas or the perfect wording to understand something better. You also can go back and forth with question and answer much faster verbally.

    Written helps too, because you don't give the other person as good of a chance to run with the words that just came out of your mouth and cut you off before you finish your thought.

    Coming from someone who has to write out my conversations as a script before I speak to someone on the phone, I think both verbal and written methods, among other methods, are good to put dents into a tough concept to learn.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
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