In-Class Discussions and Those Who Are Not Quick to Speak

In-Class Discussions and Those Who Are Not Quick to Speak

He sat there and never added a word to the conversation. From semester to semester his professors asked him, encouraged him, and even begged him to participate. He was a graduate student. Seminars were about sharing ideas with each other.

He, in turn, was frustrated. He was taking things in, thinking, forming his own thoughts, having insights. But, by the time he was ready to say something, the conversation was already on another subject. Often, two or more subjects had come and gone. His thoughts were ‘old news.’

It didn’t help that he was also shy; almost to the point of feeling mortified by the prospect of jumping into a ‘real-time’ discussion of ideas. Some of the students were confident and did not worry about venturing ideas before even they knew what they meant. Some people, he realized, think out loud (and sometimes not even very well!).

That ‘he,’ of course was me as a student. Continue reading