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Unheard Voices: How required participation should be altered to fit the needs of all students

Students+listen+to+Math+teacher+Chris+Cooper.
Students listen to Math teacher Chris Cooper.

Students listen to Math teacher Chris Cooper.

Erik Cardoso

Erik Cardoso

Students listen to Math teacher Chris Cooper.

Shelby Gordon, Opinion Editor

Participation.

A word dreaded by many introverted and timid students. The one requirement amongst many classes that can kill one’s grade in a matter of seconds depending on how many times you do or don’t raise your hand.

Grades solely based on how many times one speaks in class instantly give introverted students an unfair disadvantage. According to USA Today, participation can comprise up to 30 percent of a student’s grade. Those lost points can add up and can be a determining factor between acquiring an A or a  B for a student who has a hard time speaking out.

Of course, class participation is important for whole class discussion, for learning public speaking skills and of course keeping class engaged, however, there are other ways of participating without having to make students go out of their realm of comfortability. For instance, note taking is a good alternative to counteract that. When students have other opportunities available to them to participate and be engaged without having to speak out, it does not compromise that 30 percent and creates a better atmosphere for an introverted student.

According to USA Today, often times when a student is pressured to participate in a certain class on a daily or weekly basis, that student is more likely to skip class throughout the year to avoid being forced to participate.

The problem with class participation for an introverted student is not a problem with not knowing the presented material but instead the anxiety of having to speak out in front of their peers.

The reality of it is that we live in an extroverted world where students who do not have trouble with participation dominate classrooms whereas introverted students are shoved into the back of the class without saying a single word despite knowing the topic of discussion.

In order to appeal to all students, school participation grades should be done in a variety of ways in order to accommodate to the needs of every student.

 

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Oracle, Columbus East High School, and Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation.

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