The problems of class participation

The mentality of a defeatist is to believe that one’s own nature is immutable, that extroverted and introverted perspectives are distinct. This mentality is one embodied completely by the student, not the teacher, and while some may believe that the burden to encourage participation is on the teacher, the onus to actually participate is, as the word may say, on us. The problem is that tailoring participation to each students’ leanings toward extroversion or introversion is not the solution.

Once again, the defeatist’s mentality is to believe that they are incapable — to believe that they cannot reach out and raise his or her hand. There is no such thing as one who is completely introverted. One aspect of the argument is whether the burden to solve the problem of participation is on the teacher, by changing the curriculum, or on the student, by adapting to the class.

Introverts are not necessarily harmed, but they will never benefit from this mentality. Simply put, they lose the opportunity to discuss, to offer their insights. Without ever putting their knowledge into the outside world, they cannot be critiqued. The introvert will not be able to better their ideas and evaluate another perspective.

I consider myself an introvert and I see the problems caused by introversion. In terms of the participation system at least, introversion will only ever find anxiety and discomfort. As for extroversion, there can only be benefits. The three notable systems of participation that I’ve seen so far in my years of high school can be dubbed as mandatory, invisible mandatory, and voluntary.

There’s no way around mandatory participation since it’s an integral part of the curriculum set, along with the grading of the class. Invisible mandatory is very similar, but it focuses on the social pressures of participation. Voluntary participation is the exact opposite of the mandatory type. However, there is really no way around the fact that all of these types of participation end the same way — with the extrovert benefitting.

In my experience, invisible mandatory is the most favorable compromise. It’s a relative mix of mandatory and voluntary, and I find a few issues with the extreme ends of the “participation spectrum.” With mandatory participation, participation becomes meaningless to some students both after the point quota is fulfilled and while focusing solely on the grade. As for voluntary participation, there is a complete lack of support for introverts. The problem for invisible mandatory participation is also one of its benefits. Introverts and extroverts alike feel the pressure to participate, yet it is still easier for the extrovert to do so.

Even though extroverts benefit most from participation-based teaching, both camps should realize that participation should be held up to a standard of quality rather than quantity.

It needs to be said that even though nature decides our course of action, it is just the start of how we are and it can be changed, for better or for worse. Different parts of us are mixed up, extrovert or introvert. Our mentality is adaptable. Even though our personalities may be what they may be, we should adjust to each teaching style and create an environment where, not just extroverts or just introverts, but everyone can thrive. When it comes to participation, you should be able to call upon that extroverted part of yourself, or at the very least ensure that you can overcome your introversion whether it be for academic or social purposes.

By Jason Luna, Staff writer
Editorial Cartoon by Natalie Jiang

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