How Can a Teacher Get More Students to Participate?
On Monday in 6th period my teacher had us start off class by randomly playing a socializing game. He had us write a funny question based on a word he said and then had us go to someone else and ask questions and swap cards.
I went and talked to some people I usually talk to (about 3 people) who sit around me, and then talked to about 6 others who I don’t talk to much and who sit further away. Most people just kind of stayed in their group and asked their friends though, which made it harder to talk to some people who only seemed to socialize with their group. He encouraged us to go outside our comfort zone though.
Afterward, he got serious and asked us how he could get more people to participate in class. One guy said aloud that he felt that only the same 3 people answered on a regular basis. He included himself in that as well as two others, which he pointed out. The teacher said he didn’t expect him to take it there, but that was interesting. He asked why that was.
One of the people pointed out said aloud that they’re either too shy or didn’t read. They also don’t want to embarrass themselves if they ask something stupid. The teacher asked the other person who was pointed out why he answers so much and he said it was because he had nothing to lose, and doesn’t think he has much of a reputation.
I didn’t say anything aloud, but I thought that if maybe he had us raise our hand instead of allowing people to just talk out all the time it would be easier for the hesitant people in my class (myself included) to answer before one of those 3 just speak aloud their answer right away. I noticed the day after that the person who said they’re either too shy or don’t want to embarrass themselves answered nearly every question he said right away by just speaking aloud, so I don’t see how there’s even a chance sometimes. Other ideas could be giving us time to write out our answers and have more time to think about it. He could also have us get with partners and discuss our answers in case people are afraid they have a stupid answer. Or there could be nonverbal ways of participating, like writing out answers on white boards or something.
I felt kind of flushed like maybe his comment was directed at shy people like me, even though I have been participating much more than I ever have lately. Then I woke up to reality and realized that if only 3 out of a class of 30 regularly participates, I must not be the only one shy and nervous about answering. I think other people care about participating, even if they pretend like they don’t.