The Lab theme for the March 17, 2021 Active Teaching Lab was: Fostering confident and supportive student interactions that increase multiperspective problem-solving and critical thinking.
Role of Participation in Learning
- Our learning is derived from feedback — from direct experience (fire is hot), from parents (pulling sibling’s hair is wrong), from teachers (2+2=4), and from peers (Queen’s Gambit is cool).
- Participation drives motivated learning. Without seeking feedback by asking questions, volunteering opinions, and being willing to be open to feedback, we miss opportunities to get feedback — and thus to learn.
- Participation is a skill (not a personality). Beyond willingness, it requires preparation with course material, experience developing perspectives, sufficient comfort sharing that perspective, and the trust that our sharing will be respected.
- Students come to our courses with different levels of participation skills because of different prior educational experiences and expectations.
- As a skill, participation can be developed.
Improving Participation Skills
- Student behaviors in class that positively affect participation (but are rarely rewarded) include: arriving on time, paying attention, listening respectfully to peers.
- Student activities outside of class that positively affect participation (but are rarely rewarded) include: preparation with course materials, discussing material with friends, peer editing, attending office hours, and any time course content is reflected upon, acted upon, or otherwise connected to our lived experiences.
- Student-centered active learning assignments and activities are better for developing participation skills than lectures.
- Participation improves when students understand that it is an important component of their learning experience, and commit to developing their participation skills.
- The Wisconsin Experience (Empathy & Humility, Relentless Curiosity, Intellectual Confidence, and Purposeful Action) can provide a framework for building in participation skill building into your course.
To learn more and discover new resources, visit the session’s activity sheet.