Encouraging classroom participation

 A classroom where all children participate fosters a growth mindset and supports learning. However, getting everyone to participate can pose a challenge. Let’s identify some strategies that may help. 

Author: Latika Sakhuja

Classrooms should be open spaces that allow interaction between the educator and the students. This not only makes learning fun but also ensures that the goals are met. It can be hard for children to associate with a teacher who does not allow questions, is not open to feedback, and thwarts challenges or new ideas from the students. It is important to establish an environment where children understand that their ideas are welcome and their questions are not ridiculed. This creates an open and positive learning space where students enjoy participating and contributing their ideas. Some simple strategies that can help in encouraging open participation are as follows:

Engage in group activities

Group activities break down the classroom into smaller segments. While some children are always ready to participate, there may be others who are shy or unsure of themselves. Smaller groups offer an opportunity and a more comfortable setting for these children. And once they gain confidence in this smaller, more intimate setting they will be more comfortable participating in the class. 

Identify why the students do not participate

Despite making an attempt to get the entire class to participate, there may still be students who do not do so. Having a conversation with these students may help a teacher to identify the reason for the lack of participation. These reasons could range from not understanding the concepts to fear of being wrong. Strategies can then be devised based on these responses. 

Create the right atmosphere 

It is imperative to create the right atmosphere to encourage participation and collaboration. It is important to establish that participation is not only about knowing the right answer but also about asking questions to arrive at conclusions. Certain standard classroom rules can assist in ensuring that the classroom atmosphere invites participation. These include respecting each other, listening to others, and assisting each other when required. 

Armed with these tips, classroom participation is bound to increase, and that too in the right direction. Over time, the classroom conversations will become more respectful, supportive, and detailed. Thereby setting the right atmosphere for learning and growth!

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