To you, the instructor, classroom participation is a signal that students are engaged with you and your course. It also demonstrates that they’re eager to learn and contribute to the conversations you’re having around course concepts. Whether they’re asking and answering questions, collaborating in groups and teams, contributing on discussion boards, or sharing what they’ve observed, their participation shows the active role they’re taking in the learning process.

Obviously, the work you do as the instructor plays a vital role in creating a lively, collaborative environment in which students can learn. But, do students recognize and acknowledge the role that they play as individuals in keeping a class session active and engaging?

When we recently conducted our Student Engagement Insights survey, we asked students if they believed that they were primarily responsible for their own level of participation in class. Over four thousand students answered the question. Here’s how they responded:

Classroom participation: what students had to say


According to these results, 97% of students do believe they are responsible for the amount of effort they put into class participation. They recognize that, in order to be participatory, they themselves must make the effort, and that they shouldn’t (and can’t) rely on someone else to do it for them.

But what if it appears that they aren’t participating during your class sessions? Perhaps they need some strategies to build their confidence, or they need some help in identifying additional ways they can contribute, collaborate, and participate.


Ways to increase classroom participation

If you’re hoping to increase the level of participation in your classroom—or, if students express a desire to increase their own level of participation in class—review the following posts from the Engaging Minds blog for additional ideas and suggestions.

» Ideas for Building In-Class Participation

» Active Learning Techniques for Your Classroom

» Tips for Students: Participate with Confidence!

» Guidelines for Effective Group Discussions

» Strategies that Engage Students in Online Courses


Are your students active participants in the learning process? How do they get energized and engaged in your classroom? Share your strategies for fostering and increasing classroom participation in the comments.