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Discussion Sessions

September 29, 2010

I don’t know if this happens in other classes or just mine but I feel like the discussions are not generated very well. I read every assignment assigned for discussion but I feel like I don’t know what to say during discussion. I know I’m not the only one in the class who feels that way. I’ve seen people around me with highlighted texts but never speak out during class. I respond in discussion once or twice during each session because I feel like by the time I’ve found evidence in the text or thought of something to say, other people have already said them and for me to speak up would just be repetitive. Some other people are more outgoing than others and they are the ones who are constantly speaking out while the rest of us stay quiet. It’s not that the rest of us aren’t opinioned but we just don’t know what to say in class. I’m always nervous before I speak out because I’m afraid I’ll say something wrong. I want to contribute to discussion but sometimes it’s just difficult. I don’t know how else to generate discussion and this may be the best option, but I feel like a lot of people are not receiving the credits even though they are reading every assignment. I know if you ask them, then they probably have a lot to say. However, I am not recommending calling on certain people to answer questions so they can get the credit because sometimes you really don’t know the answer, and when the GSI calls on you, you can’t answer it. But maybe there’s another way for people to be more involved during the discussion? I don’t know if there is, but people learn differently and that’s why there are a lot of other ways for them to get the points. But people also participate differently. Some people are too timid to speak out when everyone is watching them. I know some people might say there’s nothing to be afraid of, but that doesn’t prevent us from getting nervous at the thought of speaking out. And because we are scared of saying the wrong thing, we often just stay quiet.

  1. matteric9 permalink
    September 30, 2010 10:51 AM

    You bring up a good concern, for I too have felt that way in my discussion section before. The hardest part of public speaking is thinking about what the people you are speaking to think. With that being said, since participation in this course can amount for a fairly significant portion of your grade you should not be afraid of what others may think, if you know you have a reasonable topic. If you really have done the reading there is always something to bring up, just take the initiative!

  2. Jake Zunamon permalink
    September 30, 2010 11:28 PM

    I think this is a really interesting post and I give you credit for being so honest about your opinion in the classroom. I have a few things to say in regards to this post.
    1) If you do all the readings and are taking away from what other people have to say, be happy. That is the point, don’t worry so much about receiving credit because at the end of the day grades are not all that matters.
    2) If grades and participation are that important to you and you feel that you literally cannot say anything in class due to timidness or what have you, talk with the GSI about alternate possibilities. I’m sure they would be more than happy to have you email them what you thought about the lecture/ discussion, as long as it shows you were engaged and formulated some of your own thoughts.
    3)It also might be positive to ask your GSI if in class they could incoroporate more small group discussions. That is a great way for people to express their ideas in a more relaxed setting and to learn from others, while contributing as well.
    Ultimately, don’t beat yourself up over this. If you are learning and doing the reading, do it for you, not the grade. Make sure you get your points in another way. Realize that we all make mistakes in classes, say dumb stuff and as one teacher once told me, “don’t hit a home run every time we step up to the plate.” But who cares, keep on batting or at least pick up the bat.

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