Class Participation

In many classes, no matter what the discipline or size of the class, there is an expectation that you participate.  The professor may even make participation in class a requirement, worth up to 15 or even 20 percent of your class grade.  For that reason it is important to know how to participate in class.

  • Don't be shy.  Participation takes practice, and there is no time like the present to start.
  • You do not have to agree with the professor to get a good grade.  In fact, students who disagree with the professor and put thought into their arguments, are likely to get more out of the class than those that agree with the professor without questioning.

When to participate:

  • when your comment will offer an alternative perspective to the discussion
  • when your question will clarify something that you, and/or your classmates, did not understand
  • when your comment will give a concrete example of something that has been discussed theoretically until that point

When not to participate:

  • when the discussion has made you angry, and your comment is likely to be inflammatory or defensive
  • when your comment will take the class off topic