20 Minute Programs
How Do I Get More Students to Participate in Class?

How Do I Get More Students to Participate in Class?

A limited number of students make the majority of contributions in your classroom today. Although getting more students to participate is challenging, the good news is that it can be done, and it doesn’t have to involve such tactics as “cold calling” on students or resorting to a points system. We describe 18 strategies that work.

Strategies to Increase Student Classroom Participation

When it comes to classroom participation, research continues to confirm what you and most faculty members experience each day:

  • A limited number of your students make the majority of contributions
  • In an observational study conducted in multiple classrooms: 
    • Only 44% of the students participated
    • 4-5 students made 89% of the comments

Although getting more of your students to participate is challenging, the good news is that you can do it, and it doesn’t have to involve such tactics as “cold calling” on students or resorting to a points system.

Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D., describes 18 student engagement strategies that will work for you in this Magna 20-Minute Mentor.

You will learn how to:

  • Better encourage your students who rarely participate to speak more often
  • Provide other participation opportunities, such as brief written exercises or small group discussion, to help generate contributions
  • Move beyond seeing reluctant participators as a problem
  • Limit the participation of students who speak too often
  • Find something positive for you to say about a first-time contribution

The program also includes supplemental materials that feature a summary of strategies and a summary of the research on participation in college classrooms.

Learning outcomes

At the conclusion of this professional development program, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of approaches for increasing student participation in your classes that include:

  • Knowing different ways you can respond with care to wrong or not very good answers to help encourage continued contributions
  • Knowing how to use something that a student has said previously and apply it in a follow-up comment or question
  • Understanding how to have students participate in different ways: by doing a problem on the board, writing key comments on the board or submitting questions by e-mail
  • Knowing how to take advantage of different opportunities to interact with students outside of class to facilitate increased classroom participation

Make this program available for ongoing training

Order the Campus Access License and load the CD content onto your institution’s internal web site for unlimited, convenient, on-demand access for all members of your campus community.

Product Code: PM09JA

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