encouraging student participation

Students laughing while engaged in small group discussion—illustrating active learning

Need to Foster Participation? Try a Ranking Game

For years I have used a game I call the Blame Game in my Intellectual Heritage I classes. Intellectual Heritage I is an interdisciplinary course in critical reading that focuses on works of literature, philosophy, and religion. Several of the texts I use in this

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defining discussion - raise your hand

Defining Discussion

I just read a review of the literature on class discussion. It’s from 2013 so there’s more that could be included in the review, but there’s one feature of the literature that I don’t think has changed. Like so many other common teaching and learning

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cold calling technique

Unpacking a Cold-Calling Technique

“The Case for Cold-Calling. . .” I hadn’t finished reading the title before I started thinking, “I need to respond with the case against.” But I read on and changed my mind. The article proposed an approach to cold-calling that mitigated many of the objections

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why do we ask questions in class

Why Do We Ask Questions?

It makes me cringe when I ask a question and a student responds with, “I’m not sure if this is the answer you want, but…” Somehow students have the impression that our sole purpose for asking a question is to find someone to give us

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student participation

Question of the Day Promotes Class Participation

Most of us have experienced the dreaded quiet class. Typically, it’s the class where only a few students speak and it’s always the same three or four. Everyone else sits passively and waits out the clock. For those classes and others, I’ve found a question

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pile of question marks

Questions to Ask When Students Won’t Participate

Participation continues to be one of the most common methods faculty use to get students involved in their learning. It’s a go-to strategy for many, but various studies have shown that it’s not always used in ways that realize its full potential. We go to

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participation policies for college classroom

Participation Policy Examples

Here’s a collection of five different participation policies. I encourage you to use them to stimulate thinking and conversations about how a participation policy’s content and tone can influence learning and classroom climate. Which policies work best—given the course, its content, the instructor, and the

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University students study in classroom with female lecturer

Facilitation Skills: The Way to Better Student Discussions

Most faculty aspire to engage and involve students in interesting and insightful discussions. But these in-class and online exchanges frequently disappoint faculty. Students come to them unprepared. They engage reluctantly. Their individual and unrelated comments take the discussion in different directions. There can be awkward

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student participating in class

Learning More about Student Participation

A lot of good research has been done on participation in college classrooms. Here are some key findings and references that provide excellent background and reasons why working to get more students participating is so important.

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