How to Teach Young Students the Importance of in Class Participation

In-class participation is one of the keys to academic success, though not many grade school students in America are taught the value of in-class participation. So, once they arrive in levels of higher education, they are often shy or embarrassed or have an “inferiority complex” that hinders them from participating and engaging in class discussions, which can affect their overall academic experience. Teaching young students about the importance of in-class participation requires patience, understanding, and a few of these tips:

1. Some children are naturally shy, and, although intelligent, will have no motivation to speak up in class. Though you can encourage these children all you like, you will find that it is easier to work with them than to work against them. So, the best way to have these children start speaking up is to call on everybody in class during one class session. If they feel like everyone else has done that job, they can do it too.

2. Encourage class discussions and group work. The more children are able to confidently associate with one another, the better they will perform in class. Some students have a fear of not being accepted, and they may not want to make friends or speak in class because of this fear. Teach these children that it is okay to make mistakes even in class discussions. Encourage activities that facilitate group work and in-class presentations. Try to do group presentations at first, and gradually whittle down the number to single-person presentations.

3. The best way to teach children something valuable is to give them motivation for learning it. To encourage children to learn about participation in class, make sure that you reward them every time they do something right. This is especially important for children who have trouble learning in any environment. Everyday, award students points whenever they raise their hand to answer or ask a question. At the end of every two weeks, give prizes. Once children see that they are rewarded whenever they speak positively and contribute in class, then they will want to do it more often.

If some children resist participating in class, do not force it. Again, although you can encourage young students to speak in class, some are just not inclined to do so. Whatever you do, be patient. Some children will take longer than others to open up, and once they do, you will know that it was well worth the effort.