The Ethical Professor

Thinking well and doing good in academia.

The Case of Promiscuous Participation in Class

I buttonhole the loquacious student for a private conversation outside the classroom. I don’t want to squelch him or her, or suggest talking less. I want to respect their motivations and enthusiasm. So instead of just trying to get the student to participate less, I am ready with a series of challenges, beginning with this: Read More

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I am unfortunately one of those loquacious students that have difficulty not contributing at times. Sometimes, when a student makes a good point or several students do, I try to expand or give them due credit. Often, though, I attempt to come up new, non-pedestrian ideas that carry the discussion along. It doesn't always work and at times, I get buttonholed, but I think Carl Pletsch is absolutely on target with his approach. I would want a professor who was sensitive like him and did not squash my enthusiasm, instead encouraged my loquaciousness. I think also the fact is not a lot of people contribute in my classes anyway, so I am very self-aware at times, but the discussion will stay stagnant, unless I move it along is my thinking. That and I have an opinion on just about everything!

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Mitchell M. Handelsman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and a Colorado University President's Teaching Scholar at the University of Colorado Denver.


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