More than a grade boost: The importance of class participation
Many students may think they have an automatic grade boost when their syllabus says class participation is worth at least 10 percent. However, you must actually “participate” in class in order to receive the full credit. Participation is partially related to good attendance, including being on time for class; nevertheless, scrolling through Facebook or texting during class does not count as class participation.
To really participate in class is to actively listen to your professor and be engaged in lecture and discussion. Essentially, participation is a “two-way street.” Although it is the student’s responsibility to pay attention and not get distracted by their devices during class, it is also the duty of the professor to provide opportunities for questions and discussion during your time together.
Study.com reports, “Joining in class discussions can help your professors connect your name to your person.” Pacific prides itself on having small class sizes with professors who “know your name.” When you raise your hand or even go to office hours, this allows your professors and TAs to get to know you, giving you the potential opportunity to work with them on research or even ask for a letter of recommendation.
Study.com continued on to say that discussing ideas can even help you learn more: “Engaging in some academic discourse can help elucidate concepts in a way that staying inside your own head never could.” Pacific Seminars 1 and 2 are normally the first discussion course students take at Pacific. In these classes, you learn that what you think truly matters. Many also find the exchange of ideas with other students and their professor positively influential to their ability to brainstorm and develop new ideas.
Sports medicine major Alyssa Culver ’18 believes that “class participation is key; it gives us students the chance to voice our opinion. Professor Killic [who teaches HESP 141: Sport, Culture, and US Society] is an excellent example of this. Her classes are discussion based. I have not only learned a lot, but in turn it makes it a more stimulating class that I truly enjoy.”
When professors stimulate class discussion, it really makes a difference in how much a student will like the class and how much they learn. “Most professors encourage participation… though some professors like to keep it ‘old school’ and strictly lecture to the class, rather than listening to the students’ perspective,” affirms communication major Jenna Graves ’16.
Business major Katie Spies ’17 has an interesting take on participation. “Class participation is important to help the information sink in; however, there are some professors who demand class participation before teaching you the material, which makes class more difficult and frustrating.” Participation in class definitely should be a reciprocal relationship: The professor must be attentive and help the students be adequately engaged as well.
It’s true: It’s very easy to get distracted or even bored in class. Nonetheless, remaining attentive and engaged can help in more ways than one. This is your money and your experience, Tigers; don’t waste it.
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