Here’s How You Can Motivate Students to Participate More in Class!
Some students like to participate in the class regularly, while there are some other students who hate to participate and would rather stay put in a corner. Sometimes the onus is on the teacher to find out the students who do not make an effort to come forward. There may be specific reasons that some students may not feel the urge to participate, it may be due to their inherent shyness or they may feel that they are not important enough to get their voice heard. So, how can you encourage or motivate your students to participate more?
Find Out the Reasons Why Students Don’t Participate
When you ask students, why they are not participating, students will either say, ‘I don’t know the answer’, ‘I hate being wrong’, or simply ‘ I don’t know the right answer’. Most of these reasons may stem from the fact that they are scared of failing. It is up to you as a teacher to make your students understand that it is okay to be wrong or okay to not be perfect. Teach them how to bounce back from failures and the students will find the courage to come up with an answer or participate more the next time around.
Make Your Students Understand that their Fears are Unfounded
When you know that the fear of failure can make the students apprehensive, you need to make them understand that the subtle failures do not mean anything but can prove to be pillars for success. The other way to demonstrate that it is okay to fail is by making small mistakes yourself, admit them, take the lesson you get, and move on. This removes the fear that is associated with being wrong and gives freedom to the students to make mistakes. You as a teacher can transform your classroom into a safe space for trying, again and again, failing, and learning from the failures. The students will feel that if their teacher can make mistakes, they can too.
Create the Right Atmosphere for Participation
You as a teacher need to change students’ expectations and change the way the students think about in-class discussions. You need to alter their idea that the only way they can participate in a class is by giving the right answer. You can maintain a safe, collaborative space and come up with several norms such as, be respectful, speak loud and clear, listen to the classmates, learn not to interrupt the person who is speaking, but rather try to build their comments on their classmate’s remarks.
Use the participation technique not only to answer questions but also to seek help or ask for clarification. Ask your students to choose one of these rules and find out the one that they are struggling with the most. Once they know that, try and focus on them for the next few days. This turns the tide on the ongoing conversations so that it becomes more respectful, supportive, and detailed.
Unique Way to Participate
You can choose a less direct way for students to participate. Ensure it is more fun and unique so students find it more interesting. They can even participate on Twitter and use a unique hashtag to keep the conversation flowing. They can do it by using class computers or tablets and allows students to ask various questions and comment without feeling like they are interrupting the conversation flow in the class. If your students are not too old for Twitter, you can follow the process of a Google Doc and apply the same process. If your class is not that advanced in technology, you can allow your students to submit their questions on paper anonymously.
As you start discussing the questions and answers, you can build the confidence of your class and assure them that their questions are valid and have the potential to start a great conversation. This will make the students believe that no questions are stupid. This will instill in them a sense of confidence to ask questions and discuss the same before all the students in the class.
Confidence stems from comfort. So, the more comfortable students are, the more confident they will be in asking questions and discussing pertinent points with their classmates and teacher.
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