Raise Your Hand

Hey guys. I hope you are all winding down for the Holidays and are keeping warm. These last 3 weeks for me have been my last weeks of the semester so got a bit hectic, but I am now back in Cleveland for Winter Break.

I wanted to do one more post for the year pertaining to something a professor said this semester. This professor is like one of those flat-out awesomely amazing people. Very chill and laid back, but passionate and energetic when it comes to his field of study, as well as teaching students.

In his class he makes participation mandatory. It’s a cool 5% of one’s grade. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but just for reference let’s say there are 100 points in the entire class. If you did not participate at all and get 0 points for participation, that means even if you get every other point in the class, the highest grade you could earn is a 95% (95 out of 100 points). Factor in the reality of missing at least some of the other points, you could lose at most 2 points (93 out of 100 points) in order to earn an A in the class. Any more points lost, assuming you’re choosing to forgo the participation points, would earn at best an A- for the class.

Point in case, just participate for a free 5%.

Participation is really easy for some, but not all. I think there are two kinds of non-participatory students, those who don’t care to participate, and those who are truly too shy to participate. Concerning the first type who don’t care about participating, sorry but I got nothing for ya. Just participate if nothing else for the free points.

Now moving onto the second type – if you don’t participate in class because you are truly too shy to raise your hand I would like to pass along what this professor said to us this semester.

While responding to a student who really did not like speaking in class and felt it unfair that part of their grade was based on in-class participation, this professor responded to them with,

“Let me lay all the cards out on the table. I don’t make you participate in class because I want to see if you know the answer; if I wanted to do that, I would just give you an exam. I do it because in this world nobody will ever ask you to raise your hand, nobody will require you to voice your opinions or thoughts. It will be entirely up to you to choose whether or not to do so. And I want you to choose to do so. Believe me, there will be times in your life, both professionally and personally, in which staying silent will not be an option. Consider this class a test run for those times.

My school is considered a liberal arts school and its selling pitch is partly laid in the promise that, “Graduates will be able to effectively communicate with others in the workplace.”

In ten seconds this professor had summed up the importance of communicating, how communication is a life skill rather than a job skill, and how whether you realize it or not, professors have a method to their madness.

I’m sure not all professors think this deeply about their mandatory participation, but this one did.

And perhaps there’s something to it.


Housekeeping Note: I think I got this from my mom at some point, but it was a “9 Things Awesome People  Do” article and one of this things was, to take a stand not because you think you’re right, but because you’re not afraid to be wrong. Of all the things in this world to be afraid of, being wrong falls way down on the list.

Image Source: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2015/05/why-powerpoint-should-be-banned-in-lectures/

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