The Case for Class Participation: Raise Your Hands! 5/5 (3)

hand raise in school classroom

We know it all too well. Enter: the frazzled teacher, who poses a question to the class and waits for a response expectantly but is only met with a tense stillness thick enough to run a knife through. A smattering of guilt sinks in the back of your mind. You know the answer and you know nothing terrible would happen if you said something but in spite of yourself, you’d really rather not. You avert your gaze from the front of the room, press your lips into a thin line, and choose silence.

Although it seems harmless, hand-raising and speaking in class do not come easily to the majority of students. This is magnified in larger classrooms but regardless of the setting, the lack of class participation can be a source of frustration for teachers and for students, a missed opportunity to contribute their own knowledge and demonstrate their capacity for carrying out a thoughtful and productive conversation. The benefits of taking part in class discussions outweigh the consequences and they are as follows:

Class participation heightens students’ engagement with the class and material

In most cases, speaking in class forces a student to develop new concepts and ideas beyond those which are taught in the lesson and these are then shared with their peers. This has the potential to not only enhance the discussion but kickstart (sometimes very interesting) conversations between the student and the teacher or even other students. It has also been shown that students who participate in class are more likely to remember the course material better than those who do not simply via .

It helps teachers gauge students’ levels of knowledge and understanding and provides insight into their own teaching

The act of raising a hand is in itself an indication of the student’s willingness to learn and suggests that they are involved enough with the class material to have a conversation, which may help teachers gauge their own effectiveness in promoting class engagement. In addition, the answers given lend insight into the extent of the student’s knowledge and by extension, can compel teachers to consider the clarity of their teaching and make improvements if the responses are consistently incorrect or uncertain.

It lessens a teacher’s workload

The job of a teacher is by no means an easy one. If nothing else, students who participate in discussions relieve some of the burden on a teacher to lead the class completely and prevents them from having to reiterate the same tired concepts they’ve likely taught time after time. Student input makes room for fresh perspectives, which saves teachers from feeling the need to constantly generate new ideas. Most teachers do plenty for the sake of their students and speaking is one way for students to give back.

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mm About My Grade Booster

About MyGradeBoosterMyGradeBooster was founded by Mehrnaz Bassiri. Mehrnaz is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, and the Daily Zen and is the recipient of the 2014 Youth Entrepreneur Award sponsored by Futurpreneur Canada.

Mehrnaz graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Science and after spending four years in the biotech sector she decided to follow her passion for education. She and her team at MyGradeBooster use school subjects as a tool to teach K-12 students the key skills they need for their post-secondary education and employment.

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  1. […] challenge is bound to be intimidating to the majority of students, but the benefits of class participation outweigh any detriments. By speaking up in class, you earn yourself a chance to demonstrate your […]

  2. […] you eventually do, the best way to reach out to a teacher is the simplest: speak to them directly in class. If this is not possible due to a lack of time, an absence, or sheer busyness, contact them through […]

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