Posted on: November 10, 2016 Posted by: Mustafa Humayun Comments: 0

Intelligent, insightful reader; I have little doubt that you find class participation easy. I am certain that, with your wit and keen insight, you are able to easily contribute to any class discussion that you find yourself a part of. O contemplative purveyor of intelligent in-class comments; the chances are that you do not worry about class participation; you simply participate. You are among the best and the brightest at LUMS and undoubtedly have a glittering academic future ahead. Naturally, a person as wise as you must understand many things, including the importance of being aware of differing perspectives of the same experience and thus with your implied leave I will present to you how I, a rather academically lazy student, dealt with this bemusing thing called class participation.

I have many memories of high school. A rather prominent one is sitting in class and not participating. Not only did I not grasp most of what was being taught, but it also did not matter if I participated in class or not, because all that mattered were my grades in the CIE examinations which had very little to do with class participation. This thorough non-participation for the vast majority of my pre-collegiate academic life did little to prepare me for, what is known throughout the hundred acres as, CP.

Before coming to LUMS, I had resolved, like many others, to work hard and to perform well academically. Throughout O week, I was fairly optimistic that I would be able to keep good on this self-made promise. After all, I only had to study fairly regularly for quizzes and the mid and final exams. I, naïve as I was, did not know that class participation constituted a percentage of the grade. I was fairly shocked when I found this out. How on earth was I to participate in a class and not make a complete fool out of myself?

What I did to resolve this issue, esteemed reader, was that I decided to ignore the fact that CP existed. It did not make sense to me that I speak simply for the sake of speaking or so that I could get full CP marks. I decided to abide by one very simple rule; I would only speak up in class if I was absolutely sure that what I wanted to say made sense. By doing so, I was able to stop worrying about participating in class and actually do it. That, however, does not mean that now whenever I speak in class, I always make insightful comments and ask clever questions. There are times when I speak, and it seems to me that I emitted incorrectly, incoherent howling from my mouth. Sometimes, I am told by my friends -yes, I have those- that I made somewhat reasonable points in class.

A game of ebb and flow is CP. Sometimes, it goes well. Sometimes, it does not. What I have come to realize is that in both those circumstances, I learn. Moreover, I have to come to understand why class participation is necessary; it initiates a discussion which is invaluable in clarifying concepts and deepening understanding. For the professors, it is a way of both surveying the understanding of their students and of guiding the collective class conversation onto topics and subtopics which further complement the proceedings of the class. Lastly, CP need not be the annoyance that it is touted to be. If one takes the time to study and think about the topic/s under discussion, participating in class can become an instrumental, and dare I say somewhat enjoyable way, to gain knowledge.

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