The WHY and the HOW!!
Class participation is an important part of a classroom's day-to-day routines and student assessment.
If you as a teacher, only responded to those students who raised their hands, you could be speaking to the same 5 students all day long.
What type of student were you in elementary school and then in high school? The student who raised their hand because they loved to hear their own voice or impress their peers and the teacher, or the one that knew the answer but kept it to themselves, or the one that avoided eye contact with the teacher, praying that they would be picked.
As time passes, you will get to know each of your student's personalities, and when and what question you can ask them according to the situation.
Some students just wanted to "blend into the wall." Well, "not in my class, you're not"! One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to get to know my students really well. I observed how they interacted with their peers, how they worked independently and how they completed their seat work.
I often called on students who never raised their hand. When they replied ... "I didn't have my hand up", my responses would be "I know you have an opinion, do you need the question repeated"?
In other words, draw the students back into a classroom discussion in a positive manner. Perhaps depending upon the student, do it in simple terms.
"Who would like to help [student's name]?" and "I'll come back to you" (make sure you do on the next question) were just two ways of getting students easily involved in a classroom discussion and focused on the task at hand.
Every student counts in you class, their opinions, suggestions,thoughts and ideas matter - everyone eventually wants to be heard and participate.
Here are a few suggestions to encourage class participation discussion:
1. Set up the classroom appropriately. Check out my page on
classroom seating arrangements
for more details.
2. Make the classroom a warm and inviting place.
3. Design the assignments so that students have to report in front of their peers, which initiates open discussion.
4. Link school work with students' life experiences.
The more you promote talking about classroom work, the more you can motivate your students to get involved.
It's up to YOU, to get your students involved!
Keep in mind that you have to report on class participation in each student's report card. Know your students well, have then participate and they will feel part of the class as well!
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