The most crucial part of student learning is class participation, so learn how to participate in class with our guide.

Look, when students actively speak in class, they get to learn how to express themselves in a manner that others can understand.

One way students can participate in class is by asking questions. This way, they enhance their understanding of certain topics. Additionally, they obtain important information about topics that might come up during the course.

Class participation is also a valuable resource for instructors. Through students asking questions, an instructor is able to figure out what exactly students understand and don’t understand.  This way, they can adjust accordingly to help students learn well.

how to participate in class


But, does participation in class come easily? Well, truth be told, most students and even adults find class participation a real struggle. This might manifest itself in the classroom in a variety of ways- not talking in class, not participating actively in group activities, not volunteering to ask or answer questions, or even not asking for help.

If this rings true for you, then it goes without saying that you probably find engaging in class particularly difficult. So, is it possible to get out of your proverbial shell? Here is a guide to help you know how to participate in class even if you’re a shy person. Keep reading.

Pick a Front Seat

Have you ever realized that introverted fellows like sitting at the back? Well, if you’re a shy person, make sure that you sit near the teacher; at the front. This will not only bring you closer to the instructor but also help yourself to enhance your confidence.

Figure Out Why You’re Shy

There are many causes of shyness- genetics, prenatal influences, trauma, environmental influences, etc. Your shyness could be as a result of any of those reasons, so pondering the cause of yours. This way, you’ll become aware of who you truly are.

For example, if something that happened during your childhood days caused you untold trauma, it’s the highest time you figured out how to overcome those memories. Once you learn to overcome your past experiences, you’ll also be able to get over your shyness and actively participate in class. Another cause of shyness is ridicule from pals, which can make a person withdraw from other people big-time. See the cause of your shyness and try to fix it as soon as possible.

Identify What Triggers Your Shyness

Chances are that you’re not shy all the time, or in all situations. There’s a likelihood that something triggers your shyness, right? Is it speaking in front of a crowd? Or is it meeting new faces that makes you run for cover? By identifying the triggers, you can get to plan beforehand and create an action plan, just in case you find yourself in such situations. Also, it will make you realize that it’s not people but situations that make you shy, and that it’s not a problem with you alone. After that, you can then…

Learn to be Confident

The most important thing when dealing with shyness in class and in any other situation is to accept that shyness is a disease you can learn to fix, bit by bit. The first step is to act confidently the moment you step into the classroom, and then throughout a session. It’s also fundamental to know that confidence comes only if you act, learn and master how to deal with shyness. Here, your patience will pay. Remember your first time riding a bike? It appeared terrifying at first, but later on, you began to feel confident. Go for it and try it as early as today. This is also true if you want to grow social confidence.

You see, feeling anxious when you’re with your teacher and fellow students is not the problem; avoiding interactions is the biggest problem. You will learn to overcome your shyness if you eliminate avoidance. After that…

Engage with Others

Once you are done eliminating avoidance, you can now start engaging with your peers. This may be through small talk during group discussions or even participating in extracurricular activities. Additionally, you can also approach that classmate you’ve always crushed on. Ask them to be your date during Valentine’s. This way, you’ll also learn to be active in other areas including class participation. It all goes down to doing things little by little.

Make Friends

One thing you may have realized about shy people is that they tend to have no friends at all. They tend to stay in their cocoons, which can affect how they participate in class. But as usual, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. In real terms, college is the perfect place to fit in easily if you want to.

how to participate in class

When you make more friends, you begin feeling more comfortable making your low voice heard. And then, we learn a lot from our social circles. You could be pleasantly surprised by how active and talkative you will become when you are with friends. 

Take the Focus Off Yourself

Maybe you have heard about a certain trick to enhance your public speaking- imaging your audience in their undergarments. One reason why this can work for you is that it helps you to focus outside yourself. You know, students who are naturally shy often abhor the idea that everyone is focusing on them all the time. They tend to believe that every mistake they make is under spotlight.

But the reality remains that people, whether shy or outgoing, specifically focus on themselves, so much that they’ll barely notice if you make a blunder or give a wrong answer to a question. What this means is that instead of focusing on yourself and your flaws, pay attention to your fellow students, who are your immediate surroundings. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should now start preparing a catalog of your peers’ mistakes. Rather, listen to what your instructors and fellow students think about how you can participate in class activities.

Also, practice confidence by contributing where you feel your passion lies. You’ll realize that you’re more confident in subjects you’ve a passion in. You’re confident about your knowledge when you’re in such classes. 

How to Participate in Class: Ask Question

Speaking of how to deal with shyness in class, one way to achieve that is by asking questions when need be. Yes, putting your hand up and seeking clarification when you feel that you have not understood something.

Asking a question will definitely create an impression that you’re confident enough, and it also shifts the focus from you to the person answering your question. This technique is not only useful in a class but also in all other social settings. During a classroom discussion, use your notes to draw questions. This way, you will feel confident that what you ask is insightful and relevant. 

Remember that your professor will certainly like it when you want to know more about a given topic. In your discussion groups, get other students talking by asking even the most awkward questions such as why they like drinking alcohol till late into the night.

Arm Yourself with Tons of Information

If you are looking forward to participating in class, utilize the time leading up to the class to prepare small notes and information about the topic you’ll study about that day. This way, you’ll for sure have an arsenal of things to discuss with your fellow classmates. This does not only enhance your confidence around people, it also ensures that you are always ready to answer questions asked in class.

Embrace Eye Contact

Making eye contact creates a connection with your instructor or a fellow student. It also demonstrates your confidence. You see, the ability to make eye contact is a very crucial aspect of social interactions. It makes people appear as friendly and approachable, and that’s exactly what you need to deal with your shyness.

Seek Moral Support

Are you stuck in your shell? Or are you trying to overcome your shyness but you’re too afraid to seek outside help? It may be daunting, but you may be shocked at what a little help can do. If you can manage to seek help from your advisors or professional counselors then you’re, without a doubt, on your way to success.

how to participate in class

Family and friends can chip in to help you, but you can also seek assistance from your teachers. Approach any of your college tutors and open up about your situation, while making it clear that your shyness is what causes you to calm in class.

Challenge Your Fears

Can you try theater or such jokes? You know sometimes, the best way to deal with your shyness is to face it head-on. Throwing yourself head-first into your scare. Lucky for you, college offers a wide range of opportunities that you can take advantage of to challenge your biggest scares including shyness. Check into the theater department and see whether you can secure a slot as a thespian, or something like that.

Or maybe join a social group such as the environmental club. Forcing yourself to engage in activities can seem unbearable, but a few months down the line, you’ll grow more confidence. The result will be that the more confident you’ll be in social activities, the more it will replicate in the class. That’s exactly what you want, right?

Verbalize Your Shyness

If there’s a better way to overcome your greatest scares, then it has to be embracing them first. Verbalize it. Don’t fear to acknowledge that you’re indeed shy. Whether you inform your instructors so that they understand why you calm a lot, open up to your roommate, or admit to your peers that you feel anxious around people, chances are that confiding your fears will help you to persevere.

Knowing that people around you understand your issue will keep you off the thought that someone is judging you, which will in turn alleviate your anxiety big time.

Don’t Expect to be Perfect

Remember that every person has something they’re struggling with, and that nobody is perfect. Don’t let the frustration from not participating in class affect your self-esteem. If left alone, your shyness can easily give birth to depression and insecurities, which you don’t want. Instead of focusing on your inability to actively participate in class, embrace what you are good at. Keep in mind that shyness and failure are part of our learning processes, so you’re not alone in this.

Boost Your Self-image

One reason why most shy people retreat from class participation is because they’ve already labelled themselves as shy. It’s important to not associate your shyness to being an outcast or an unusual human being. Instead, accept that you’re unique in your own way. For example, you be so talkative in classes where you’re passionate about the subject, so that should motivate you to keep improving your confidence even in other classes. After all, you don’t have to be like everyone else or fit in. Learn to be comfortable with your situation.

Watch Your Progress

Keeping a track of your successes is a sure great way to keep you going and motivated. As we said earlier on, dealing with shyness calls for a little effort at a time. List your scares in a personal journal along with what you’ve accomplished so far. Watch your progress towards fixing your shyness. The time used in fixing shyness varies depending on a person, so yours may be short or long. Above all, you should start believing that you’ll eventually make progress with your shyness.

In Conclusion

In this article, we have explored different effective ways to help shy students know how to participate in class. Try a few of these tips every week and see the progress you’ll achieve within no time at all. They’ll go a long way to make you a more confident student and help you excel in your tests and exams. We’ve also talked about keeping track of your progress-  its importance cannot be overemphasized. Good luck!

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