What “quiet students” have to say
What is going on in the minds of the “silent majority” of students who rarely (if ever) ask questions or contribute to class discussions?
If you’ve wondered as I have, you would be interested in this article summarizing some of the author’s findings in her study of “quiet students.” Her intellectual journey begins with a well-intentioned but simplistic desire to “get students talking.” What they would talk about and to whom, how they would talk to be productive, and how it could affect their learning didn’t seem to be a part of the thinking. In her extended set of interviews with students, she developed a deeper understanding of the complex set of influences that affect students’ level of participation and their learning.
I am not highlighting this article because I think that the author has THE answers, but because she asks (and at least begins to answer) a good question. I suspect it’s one that every instructor has had to face when their attempts to stimulate student interaction are met with the sound of crickets.
I myself was surprised that the utility of online discussion boards was not addressed — they can be an excellent way to provide space and time for everyone in a class to contribute and to be “heard.” Online discussions allow time for reflection and careful composition of comments as well as a buffer from the possibility of a critical response from peers or professor. In my experience, the quality and quantity of individual and collective student discussion online has been quite impressive — including lots of insightful thinking previously hidden in “quiet students'” heads.
Here’s the story:
Chronicle of Higher Education
September 5, 2010
What’s the Problem With Quiet Students? Anyone? Anyone?
By Mary M. Reda
What are your thoughts about the article? About your “quiet students”? Click the “Comments” link just below this to add your comments — it’s easy and we’d love to hear from you!