Encouraging Participation in Class
Jan 15, 2017
Being a successful student involves more than completing assignments and doing well on exams. It's also important to be an active participant: to take part in discussions, ask questions, and make informed comments. This is a leadership skill that carries through to work and life.
Here's how to help your children to develop the confidence to speak up and to contribute:
Be prepared. Make sure that readings and assignments are complete. It's hard to participate if you are already behind.
Organize thoughts. Ask your children what they're learning, in their own words. Do they agree with the concept? Do they need points clarified? What can they bring up in class?
Help them to join a discussion. Do they know how to acknowledge ideas, to disagree, or to ask for more information? Teach them how to join a discussion with phrases like: "Can you explain further", "I agree with you, but...", "I got a different answer because...", "That's an interesting idea", or "What do you think about...".
Practice impromptu speaking. Give your child an everyday object and ask them to say as much as they can about it. “This is a bowl. It’s green and shiny. We use it to hold fruit...” It may sound silly, but it helps them to get comfortable with being put on the spot. Move on to more complex subjects as their confidence grows.
Practice critical thinking. Read a news article together and discuss it. What were the motivating factors in this event? What are likely consequences?
Learn the skill of persuasion. Does your child want permission to go out with a friend? Ask your child to consider concerns you might have, and to present a well-reasoned argument why you should say yes!