“In her research, Fassinger (1997) found that the variable that best explained student participation was a student trait – confidence.”

Thirty years of research on classroom discussion has generated many theories on why some students participate in discussion and others do not. I’ve come to believe that while a combination of factors come into play, Fassinger’s findings are probably key. If you put her research side-by-side with Jean Twenge’s new research that indicates that the confidence level of traditionally-aged college students is declining, we can see why engaging students in classroom discussion is becoming more challenging. That’s why my copy of Jay Howard’s excellent Discussion in the College Classroom is becoming one of my most marked-up and frequently-used resources.

Howard, Jay R.  Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online. Jossey-Bass, 2015, p. 28.

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