How can we make students motivated to actively participate in class?

Ishitha Panguluri, Editor-In-Chief

I’ve spent countless hours sitting in classrooms and interacting with my peers and
teachers. One thing I’ve noticed is that, often, classroom discussions fall flat or only a handful of
students actively participate. As someone who is both likely to quietly sit in class and listen to
conversations while also engaging in lively debates in my AP United States History class, I
couldn’t help but wonder – how can we motivate students to participate more in class?

Have you ever found yourself sitting in a classroom, staring blankly at the whiteboard as your
teacher drones on and on about a topic that feels completely irrelevant to your life? Maybe
you’re too shy to speak up, or perhaps you’re simply disinterested. Either way, a lack of
participation can have a negative impact on both your own learning and the classroom
environment as a whole.

But fear not, because there are ways to make classroom discussions more engaging and
dynamic. One of the key strategies is creating a positive and inclusive classroom environment.
Picture this: you walk into class and are greeted with a warm smile from your teacher. You take
a seat among peers who respect and appreciate one another’s opinions. You’re excited to learn
because you feel safe and supported. This type of classroom environment is more likely to
foster participation, as students feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and engaging in

Another way to encourage participation is to make classroom discussions relevant and
interesting. After all, who wants to talk about a topic that feels completely disconnected from
their own lives? By bringing in real-life examples or allowing students to choose the topics for
discussion, teachers can ensure that students are invested in the classroom discussion and are
more likely to contribute.

But perhaps one of the most effective ways to increase participation is to give students more
control over their own learning. When students feel like they have a say in what they’re learning
and how they’re learning it, they’re more likely to be invested in the classroom. Project-based
learning, research-based assignments, and other student-led activities are all effective ways to
give students a sense of autonomy.

In conclusion, creating a positive and inclusive classroom environment, making discussions
relevant and interesting, and giving students more control over their learning are all effective
strategies for increasing participation in the classroom. By implementing these strategies,
teachers can create a more dynamic and engaging classroom, and students can feel more
motivated to actively participate and engage in discussions. So let’s make our classrooms
places where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and learning together.