Verbal participation shouldn’t determine grades

Grace Hensley, Staff Reporter

There are two types of people, introverts and extroverts.  Introverts are people who are more shy and like to keep to themselves.  Extroverts are the complete opposite, they are outgoing and they like talking to people.  

Growing up, I’ve been a mix between the two.  I love talking to and meeting new people, and I’ve always been fairly good at making conversations with people.  But when it comes to doing presentations or talking in class, I suddenly feel pressured and I get really nervous.  

When everything is recorded in the grade book, I get marked down because of the lack of ability to follow all the correct ways to publically speak.  Why is this fair if my presentation was everything it was supposed to be and I learned everything I was supposed to?

Some people are at an even higher level of introversion than I am.  Some are painfully shy, but some carefully choose specific moments to speak.  Some are self conscious because they are afraid of being bullied or judged.

Teachers often define classroom participation as verbal responses that connect to the topic that the class is learning. So what would the difference be between participation with talking vs participation with writing?

Although some people are comfortable with public speaking, others are not.  Often, teachers don’t feel the pressure that these students might feel, because teachers are used to speaking in front of large groups of people.  

Some people might argue that the absence of talking might lead the teacher to believe that there is an absence of learning.  There is a solution to this. Instead of having the student participate in discussions throughout the whole class, have a one-on-one with them if you believe they aren’t correctly learning the material.  

The quality of the students work should also show whether they are learning what they are required to in the class or not.  But what needs to be avoided is taking away points from the student because they aren’t verbally expressing what they learn.  They could, in fact, be actively engaged in the learning.

Some students go to class with anxiety because they have to talk out loud in front of the class or give a presentation.  They can’t help it if they stutter or make seldom eye contact, it’s just the way they are. This could potentially affect their grade.  To prevent this, students should have the option whether they want to speak out loud in front of the class.