• Raise your voice : experiences of silent students in the classroom

      Moss, Alessandra F. (2020-05)
      Class participation may be an important part of students’ learning process, but many students remain silent in college classrooms. This study was a qualitative inductive inquiry exploring the classroom experiences of students who rarely participate in class. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were analyzed using coding methods adapted from grounded theory to gain insight into students’ opinions about class participation, their class participation habits, and beliefs about knowledge in general. Primary themes that emerged were wanting to avoid being wrong and experiencing anxiety, nervousness, or related physical symptoms as reasons not to participate. Students also articulated mostly engaging in low stakes participation, when the risk of being wrong was minimal, primarily when they felt prepared to answer correctly. A variety of beliefs about knowledge were articulated, including, knowledge comes from external authority, and knowledge comes from scientific research, evidence, replication, and consistency. No strong connections were found between beliefs about knowledge and class participation habits. Practical implications for educators and future directions are discussed.