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Every classroom has at least one
student who never talks in the classroom. You’re never sure if they’re
understanding the material, if they are following along, if they’re worried about
anything. They’re just silent. So in today’s video, I have three tips for dealing with
the situation. Hey there, it’s Erika from Ever Educating
and I talk about teaching tips, tools, and resources for the college instructor. In
today’s video, I wanted to talk about three ways to help you better understand
that student who never talks in class. Who’s dead silent, doesn’t email you
either, doesn’t come to your office hour. What do you do, right, when you’re worried
that those students are not understanding potentially or not paying
attention or they’re you know worried about something and you have no idea? How
can you get some interaction from them? And so I had three ways of potentially
doing this. And so the first one is to do what’s called an exit card. And so these
are actually very popular in the k-12 space as well, but basically it’s an index card that you pass. I have every student have one, right, and then you
could ask them how ever many questions you want. But in my case, I
would ask two. And so that I would ask every student to write their name on it
and say one, write down the one thing that they feel that’s the most important thing they learned in that particular class period, right.
What’s one thing that you think was the most important you learned in today’s
class right or in this week in class? And then the second one would be, what’s one
question that you had that you feel was not answered in class or if you have no
questions, you can’t just say had no questions, what’s one thing that you feel
could be gone over in more detail that if I had to repeat something in class
what’s that thing that you think would be most beneficial to go over again? And
so again, you can do this in a class to class basis, though I wouldn’t do it
every class period. I guess you can, but it takes up time, right. Or you can do it at
the end of a week and ask about the week as a whole. And so I do this periodically
and so even if my student never speaks in class, I at least know, okay Jane,
who I don’t know what her voice sounds like, she thinks this is the most
important thing in today’s class or this week’s class and actually, she had a
question that she didn’t ask or she feels that this element could have been
repeated again and she wouldn’t I guess been bored out of her mind
for having it repeated. All right, so that’s one way of getting these students to
talk, is by asking them to write something down and turning it in and
having everybody do it so they don’t feel singled out. Now the second tip is to do
something digital, right, so if you have your LMS site, you can have, you know, a
discussion forum that’s online rather than, you know, verbally in class. So if
you’re not in a computer lab, this would be homework, right, but you can still
have, “all right for homework, I want each of you to add to answer these questions
that I have about today’s discussion or today’s reading etc.” Or maybe
about next week’s reading or next class period reading. And so in that way, again,
they’re required to answer the question and they could have basically a digital
discussion by giving you an answer online. And so again, you’re hearing from
them besides just when they turn in major projects.
So here’s Jane again and she’s answering these questions and you realized,
actually, she’s really confused about what this term means. The next class
period, you can go over that term again, right, and any others that are confused,
you know, they’re confusing your students. And in that way, you know, she might
not talk in class, but you have an idea of what to go over again because of her
response that was digital. So that’s idea two for how to hear from these silence
students. And the third one, you know, it depends. You have to have the time, right,
to do this in your class. And that’s to do individual conferences. So actually
cancel a class period or maybe even two and in replacement, you meet with every
student for fifteen or thirty minutes. So obviously, the silence student might
be silent when it’s one-on-one, but maybe not having the classmates around them
will help them open up a bit more with you,
right. And so for those who are anxious about meeting with you in person, you
might have like, “we’re gonna go over these three things in this meeting.” So
they can prep for it, right, and then “bring any questions you
have for me, too.” So in this way, I try to do this as much as I can. I don’t succeed
every semester, but having that individual conference, you know, I’d say
early on in the semester, like latest I’d say by week six, so that you can have an
idea of, “All right, you know, at least I know that Jane is really, you know, she’s
understanding everything that’s going on in class, she’s just not speaking in it,
right. Or she’s quiet because she’s suffering from something that she hadn’t
been able to talk about with anybody and now that we’re one-on-one she explains
like, “I’m going through X Y Z.” Then you can offer some advice either going to
the Counseling Center, right, or going to some kind of resource on campus. Well
maybe she just needed somebody talk to you and like, “okay well, you know ,thank
you for letting me know that you’re going through this, right, we can have some
wiggle room with extensions on deadlines that you missed or whatever the case may be.
And so having that one-to-one can be beneficial for a lot of students and for
you to get to know your students more personally, right, especially the ones who
don’t talk in class. So maybe she won’t talk again, right, in the classroom, but at
least you have a sense of “she’s understanding what’s going on at least,”
right, or “she’s not, so I have to either, you know, email her for more
one-to-one help, or I have to make sure that I’m being, you know, I talk slower in
class or repeat things or I have more activities for homework. Whatever you
want to be the solution now that you know the situation. But, so these are the three
ways that you can get the student who never speaks to speak to you in some way.
In written form, in digital forum, or in verbal one-to-one communication. So if
you found these tips helpful or you plan on using them, I would appreciate you clicking the
like button below. And of course, subscribe if you want to make sure to
have more teaching tips in the future.

About James Carlton

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  1. What strategies do you use to boost your communication with your quiet students? Share in the comments so we can all try out more strategies!

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