The National Association of Colleges and Employers released a list in 2018 ranking the top qualities institutions look for in students and employees. Number one, problem-solving skills. Number two, the ability to work in a team. Number three, communication skills (written and verbal). Number four, leadership and number five, strong work ethic.
In this series, Braathe Enterprises will identify and analyze how a student can improve their skills in the classroom and prepare for life after university.
The Importance of Classroom Participation
We’ve all been there: it’s a 9 am class, we haven’t had our coffee yet and the professor is asking open-ended questions to the class. Nobody is raising their hand.
There are many reasons students are more reluctant than ever to speak up in a class conversation. Usually, it’s due to the fear of saying something wrong or tripping up on your words. The idea of potential embarrassment makes us shove our hands in our pockets and stare at the floor. This is relatable, but without action, it can become detrimental to our success as a student and future employee.
When you raise your hand in class and participate in the discussion the odds of you remembering the topic rise exponentially. Giving an opinion or asking a follow-up question allows for critical and higher-level thinking skills. Like all conversations it allows us to hear what other people have to say and mull over the topic to better understand it. You make realizations as you talk and leave knowing more than you did before.
An NYU study found that class participation has a direct correlation to student success. Teachers, along with students, play an important role. A student may feel uncomfortable speaking up and it’s the job of a professor to emphasize group acceptance and effectively encourage engagement. Making sure the classroom operates under a “there are no stupid questions” idealogy allows students to ask questions and share their opinions without shame.
Positive and frequent student participation creates a channel for feedback, promotes preparation, and balances contributions.
If you want to increase your class participation you can make a plan. Speak with your professor one-on-one about your work and find a way to engage with your classmates in a manner that works for you. Fostering these skills now will prepare you to be an employee who can communicate with others and practices critical and higher-level problem-solving.