Participating in class can improve your grades and your learning
Do you sit quietly in class and never raise your hand? Do you feel nervous about speaking in front of your classmates? Participating in class can be an important part of your grade. It shows the instructor that you are paying attention. And believe it or not, participating can also increase your enjoyment of school!
Here are some ways that you can get better at participating in class. Take it step by step, and before you know it, you will be there!
Step 1: Always do the assigned reading
Most times, your class topic will be the same as your reading assignments. If you do the assigned reading, you will be more familiar with what the teacher is talking about. As you read, make notes about any questions you might have. Also, highlight key points in the reading. This makes you more confident in the subject matter.
Step 2: Get help if you need it
Sometimes doing your homework and assigned reading can be hard. You may feel like you are falling behind in class. If this is the case, you probably won’t feel comfortable participating in class just yet. To get yourself up to speed, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for additional help. Remember, your teachers want you to succeed. Once you get back on track, you may feel more comfortable participating in class discussions.
Step 3: Sit near the front of the class
Choosing a seat near the front of the class helps you stay more focused on what the instructor is teaching. It also helps your teacher to recognize you. He or she will know that you’re not trying to “hide” in the back of the class. The instructor is also likely to make eye contact with you if you sit close to the front, and may be more likely to engage you in the conversation.
Step 4: Bring questions to ask
Some people feel nervous about answering questions in class, because they are afraid they will get the answer wrong. If you feel this way, then maybe you can get over your fear by asking questions instead of answering them. While you are doing your homework or reading the assigned reading, write down questions about anything you don’t understand. When the teacher asks if there are any questions, be sure to raise your hand and ask a question. This shows the instructor that you care about learning.
Step 5: Jot down your thoughts as the instructor is talking
During the lecture, you can jot down ideas you might have or questions that come up. If you write them down, you will be ready once the class discussion starts.
Step 6: Raise your hand early in class discussions
When a class discussion starts, try to participate early. If you wait too long, you might lose your nerve, or someone else might say what you were going to say.
Step 7: “Piggy back” off of another person’s comments
If you’re not sure how to add to the discussion, you can start out by “piggy backing” off of another person’s comments, and taking their thoughts one step further. For instance, if there’s a class discussion about infection prevention and a classmate says, “Washing your hands is the best way to prevent infection,” you could raise your hand and add that there are certain protocols for washing and drying your hands that need to be followed. Adding onto another’s person’s thoughts is a good way to participate in class if you are not comfortable with bringing up your own topic.
Step 8: Have confidence in your own ideas
Once you’ve gotten comfortable raising your hand and talking, you might even become a leader in class discussions. Ask questions that get the whole class talking. Bring up topics that others may not have thought of. Support your classmates and encourage them to participate too. Soon you will be amazed at how interesting your classes have become!
We hope this step-by-step guide helps you to become more comfortable with speaking up in class. Classroom learning is improved for everyone if the students are involved during class discussions. Being active in your class will make your learning more interesting and productive for you and your classmates. So, next time you are in class, don’t be shy about raising your hand!
The Harris Casel Institute in Melbourne, FL is geared toward adult learners who are ready to begin a new career path. Contact us online to learn more about getting started with us.