If your college course is discussion-based and anything like some of mine have been, crickets emerge when the instructor stops speaking. Asking for opinions can be painstakingly awkward because nobody’s willing to speak up. Why is that? Why is it so hard to participate in class discussions?
That answer is different for different people. I think there are some people who are too self-conscious or too shy. Maybe people just don’t care. Maybe the topic isn’t interesting to them. Maybe they’re preoccupied. Maybe they just plain don’t want to. But in a discussion driven course, this makes class dull. So dull. Ugh.
After looking at an article, I realized one big reason students probably don’t participate: they don’t know the material. They didn’t skim the chapter before coming to class, and, consequently, they might have no idea what’s going on. In my environmental science course, at least partially reading the chapter before lecture helped me understand the material better. Discussion was an important component of the class because when someone commented or asked a question, the instructor would add in these random and fascinating tidbits of information.
So my tip for getting involved? Review the material before class, even if it’s only briefly. If you get to class ten minutes early and usually skim your Facebook newsfeed as you wait, use some of the time to glance over the chapter or whatever the material is. If you know what you’re talking about, you’ll be more confident about speaking up. Because it’s cool to be involved.
Discussion can make or break a class experience. You’re driving your own education, so why not get the most out of it?
ALSO, on a personal note, I’m planning a workshop on class discussion because it’s a huge problem everywhere. It was a problem when I went to a university, and it’s kind of a problem at the community college. However, my peers at the college seem pretty willing to contribute, and it makes class interesting. ❤
Are you a student wanting tips on getting involved in classroom discussions? Read this article on the University of Iowa’s website. #foundonGoogle #goodarticle
I recently switched back to a chalkboard theme, which is what I was originally using, and I just have to say that I love chalkboards. White boards are nice sometimes, but the markers dry out often. Smart boards are rather annoying to calibrate, so writing on them can be an infuriating experience. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer a long green board and a soft, powdery piece of chalk.
There’s something about the way chalk glides along the board–maybe it’s the textures or the physical appearance of the chalk words, or maybe it’s the sound of the chalk striking the board; I don’t know. When tough Ancient Greek assignments or tests were approaching, one of my friends and I would frequently use chalkboards to study. It was fantastic. We would conjugate verbs, decline nouns, and write out full sentences in Greek. We could write words repeatedly, and it didn’t feel the same as writing it on paper. It seemed realer, and it erased easier; I could stand in the same spot if I wanted to. I could map out things and then step back and see them. We would sometimes show up to our classroom an hour early just so we could have access to the chalkboards. It was a useful study tool.
I sometimes long for a chalkboard to write on when I’m studying. I just love the sound of the chalk on the board, like the sound of heels clicking down a hallway. When it comes to certain courses, such as foreign language and math, chalkboards are a valuable study tool for me, and I hope the chalkboard trend continues for a long time.
Well, it’s my third week into my sophomore/junior year of college, and I’m stressed. Like, everybody in college is stressed, even if there’s not a reason to be stressed.
I’m kind of ahead of the game. I’ve stayed fairly organized and gotten some assignments done early–not one day before early, like three days early. But with the clubs I’ve joined and with all the other things in life that I have to take care of, I’m just a bit anxious. I don’t want my OCD to come back and distract me again. I really want to be free of that.
But classes are good. The instructors are nice, and the work seems interesting but not too challenging. I’ve already learned awesome things, like how to use the snipping tool on the computer. I didn’t really know this thing existed, but I’ve used already used it a million times since the first week of school. I’ve been sort of trying to learn APA style, but that’s pretty much on the backburner (which will definitely be another post for another day).
I feel like I’m getting on top of things, but I’m slightly sliding. Besides that, I just feel kind of lonely. I don’t see my friends much, and many of my friends and I are growing apart because we have different interests. We’re all busy with our own things, so we don’t seem to cross paths as often anymore. But I’ve met some cool people in my classes, and we’ve already had a group assignment–and, by the way, we gave a rockin’ presentation on Abraham Maslow.
Finally, I’m learning more about myself. What I’m learning isn’t necessarily good, but I’m still learning. Realizing that I fear not being good enough. Realizing how truly self-centered I am. But at least I’m learning.
So to you college students out there who have just dipped your toes into the college waters and already feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Keep things positive–we can all make this a great semester. 🙂