9 Ways to Increase Student Participation

Kids Participating in Class

Student participation, whether at the grade school, high school, or the university level, can be problematic depending on the makeup of the classroom. There are a number of reasons for this, including the subject matter being studied or a particular topic. To counter this lack of enthusiasm we present nine ways to help you increase student participation.

1) To begin with, circle the wagons. Or in this case, the chairs. Students who are able to see each other participate more than when they’re looking at the back of someone’s head. It provides a better social setting as students will be talking to one another instead of just the teacher.

2) Consider using mobile technology and get an app that will allow you to note student’s progress throughout the discussion. Effort Tracker is one such app and you can use it to organize the classroom discussion as well.

3) Validate their opinion by name calling. This is not the negative name calling, but by using their name when they have a constructive response. This will connect the comment to the person and will reinforce the idea that what they have said is worthwhile and important to the group.

4) Start small, go big. Divide the class into small groups to discuss the topic, then bring everyone together after a short time and discuss it as a class. Often what happens with this approach is that differing views promote positive in-class rivalries that can last through the semester.

5) Use volunteers wisely. At the beginning of the discussion, use your best participants to get the discussion moving. After enough material has been discussed, move to the non-participants. If you get the “I am unprepared” response, ask them what they think.

6) Avoid interrupting at all costs. By doing this you change the focus of what you know to what the students know – or think. This will shift the focus from lecture learning to collaborative learning, essential for productive group discussion.

7) Connect the topic to current events. In other words, make it relevant to the students. This is more important in group discussions because you will likely direct the discussion to what matters to the group while connecting their responses to what you need to teach.

8) Use videos. Today’s students get much of their information from online visual environments such as YouTube. Preparing opposing views on the same subject in a visual format is something that will get the attention of most students – and almost force them to take a position.

9) Make clear that grades are impacted by participation, not performance. This will send the message to the class that they do not always have to be right, but they do have the right to be heard. Your approval of their participation is more important than knowing more than other students.

The goal of classroom participation is to have students listen to other’s thoughts and learning in that process. Facts are important, but the context of how students acquire those facts will promote thought and future learning. You can test for facts but need discussion to promote collaborative learning and self-confidence in the students. Use these tips to help cultivate the discussion in your classroom.

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Source link: http://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/strategies/Pages/increasing-participation.aspx


Activities In The Classroom Where An Introverted Child Can Win

Introverted child and computer

Because only 30 percent of the people on the planet are introverts, most of the school activities in and out of the classroom are designed for extroverted people. When teaching children, motivation can be particularly difficult with introverted children. Presented here are several classroom activities that favor the introverted child. Remember, the purpose of this article is to present you with activities to help motivate introverted student and help them succeed.

Given the technology in the modern classroom, setting up competitive Internet games that are educational will give the edge to the introverted child. Focusing on a single project that interests them is one way they can excel. Games such as Sudoku or a number of variations of Solitaire where even if you don’t complete the game, the computer gives you points for advancing levels.

The creation of a time capsule to be buried for future generations is a small group project that not only helps the introverted child interact with extroverted children, but where there is a defined level of success. If done indoors, the children can draw or paint what should be in the capsule. This gives the introverted child the space he or she needs to do the work, but also enables them to show their ideas to a small group. If done outdoors, they can partner up with other children in search for the contents of the time capsule.

Short story competitions can be done at most grade levels and are one of the strong suits of an introverted child. This activity allows them their own space while being able to create fantasy themes. The result does not have to be Shakespeare, and the winning is subjective, but other children will see and hear the introverted child’s ability. Being accepted for who they are is a forward step in the greater social scheme.

Introverted children should not be seen as having special needs as much as they need to be understood as having a different perspective of classroom and social environments. Instead of trying to force such children to become extroverts, they should be taught how to deal with a world that is primarily extroverted. Classroom activities conducted in small groups or where technology is used to create individually competitive educational games are two ways to draw out the strengths of the introvert. Education does not have to change to accommodate the introverted child, but the way it is administered can adapt to the child’s personality in an inclusive environment.

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How to Get Students Who Sit in the Back Involved in Class


They’re in every classroom. Students who head to the back of the classroom with a plan to completely tune out until class is over. Why are they so reluctant to engage with the rest of the class? Are they bored, shy, confused, or something completely different? Regardless of their reason, there are ways teachers can encourage student participation, even in those children who would rather be anywhere but school.

Use Effort Tracker

Technology plays a big part in today’s classrooms. Effort Tracker is a web-based app that helps teachers encourage and equalize student participation, select students for positive reinforcement, and measure and report a student’s efforts in the classroom. Instead of the teacher having to choose who goes next, the program selects students and scores them according to their efforts. Best of all, parents and students are able to review scores instantly.

Effort Tracker eliminates the need to call on students, while trying to remember who has already been involved in today’s lesson. Teachers can simply enjoy the class and keep the conversation going.

Make Students Aware of What is Coming Up

Consider making students aware of what questions will be addressed the night before a discussion. This is ideal for students who are shy or have difficulty answering questions on the spur of the moment.

Draw Students Into the Conversation

Ask students if they agree or disagree with points others have previously made.  Encourage them to provide examples that contradict or support a point. If you call on a student and they do not have an answer, move on without calling unnecessary attention to their inability to answer.

Arrange Your Classroom Differently

If you really want students in the back to participate, eliminate the back of the classroom. For example, form your desks into a semicircle configuration. You may also want to have students form small groups with their desks and allow them periodically to discuss certain aspects of class among themselves.

Consider Assigned Seating

Although many teachers prefer to let students pick their own seats, there’s nothing wrong with shaking up the classroom by choosing to assign seats. This allows you to move those from the back of the class up toward the front, possibly encouraging their participation.

Get Creative and Fun

Incorporate fun activities into your otherwise boring subject material. For example, have students write out a play involving an event in history and have them act it out in front of others or develop some type of game to show off their math skills.

Include Participation in Their Overall Grade

If all else fails, you can always make student participation a percentage of the student’s overall grade. This can be as little as 5 to 10 percent or more, depending upon the age of the students and the subject matter being taught.

There are always going to be students who are not fond of participating in class. It’s important to notice these kids though because classroom interaction can be important for their learning development. Using the tips above and may be some one-on-one coaching, you may be able to get them to come out of their shell.


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8 Ways to Motivate Kids in the Classroom

student coloring

Learning can be fun and effective!

The truth of the matter is that no classroom should lack motivational armors, as children can easily get bored and impatient due to the usual daily routine that is involved within the school system. Students need a boost, every now and then, of some sort to get back on track and feel motivated in learning more and more every day of the school year.


In a classroom, there should be fun rules such as if everybody arrives on time during an assignment that involves scissors or glue, the radio can be turned on. If someone doesn’t arrive on time, there will be no music. Music has the ability of reenergizing the spirit; therefore, it can really come in handy in a classroom where children appeared to be unmotivated.

Fake Money

Every Friday, conducting a quiz of ten questions that relates to everything that the students have learned in that particular week is something that can be very fun for the students. For every correct question, students receive a fake dollar which they can use at the end of the month to purchase prizes which you can personally purchase at the dollar store.


What child doesn’t love stickers? Every time you grade a paper, add either a happy face sticker or a sad face sticker on it. Both stickers motivate children to keep working hard.


If for every time a student reads a book from the classroom shelve, and then writes a summary about it, and then you provide them with whatever points you pasted on the cover of the book, you can really help them in their motivation. The more they read, the more points they will accumulate, which they can spend on prizes at the end of the school year.

Allow the Use of Gel/Colored Pens

Every Friday, allow students to use any color pen they want. When a teacher allows the use of colored pens every now and then, it can really motivate students to partake in classroom discussions as everything will seem more fun.


There are some films that can be very inspirational for students, such as Stand and Deliver. Make sure to let students watch movies such as this one every two to four weeks, as films are able to transform the mentality of children into a more positive one.

Student of the Month

Every month have a certificate ready with a name of a student that was a role model in that particular month. He or she can get a bag full of goodies that contains chocolates, candies, and a pack of pens or pencils.

Let Children Socialize

Form groups of 2 or more students for class projects. When children come together to create something, they do it with much more joy. It is a great way to let children socialize and get motivated.

As you can tell, it can be easier than you think to motivate students. Classrooms don’t have to be boring at all. Follow these 8 helpful tips as much as you can, and you’ll soon see how the mood of your students will change for the better when you are teaching them new things.