Does Participation Really Matter In Class?


Forced participation in class can cause anxiety in students. Graphic made by M. Ford.

Imagine that you are in math class, already struggling to learn the content, and you get called on for a problem. Other than the embarrassment and humiliation you may get, does it really help you learn?

Getting called on in class has some good benefits to it. Participation helps students think on a higher level and understand the material.  It can help with public speaking and connecting the material together.

I spoke with Claire Nestor about this. She said, “I personally like when teachers call on students because it forces your brain to always pay attention.”

There are several reasons a student may not participate in a class. This can be from insecurities or social anxiety. Randomly getting called on in class can make a student dread going to that period. It can cause anxiety and distract students from learning, as they are more worried about if they will get called on. 

There are several other activities that a teacher can lead to ensure everyone is engaged and understands the material. They can have activities that include the whole class such as stations around the room. Also, creating a safe environment within the classroom can help a student to reach out with questions or ask for help.

Regardless of the pros and cons of getting cold-called on in class, students should not feel on edge the entire period due to the anxiety they may feel when getting called on.