A Guide for Students in the Multicultural University
6. The challenges and skills of participation At my school and at the University I studied my undergraduate degree, we were taught to respect and honor lecturers. It was unacceptable to ask questions of them in class as this showed they had not taught well. We were taught that books are from where you learn. (Postgraduate student in an Australian university) Effective learning consists of a number of interrelated functions in a learning environment. Being prepared to be an active participant in your own learning will ease the burden of learning, enhance the quality of what you learn, and contribute to you feeling that you are managing your learning process effectively. Participation is about communication and conversation and that creates contacts, interpersonal relationships that lead to friendship. Often university or college life can seem daunting because it is a new environment and in most cases much bigger than your previous learning environment. Through participation you can break that environment down into human dimensions, find friendships, find support networks, and feel more comfortable as you immerse yourself in your learning environment. Students being actively engaged in classroom activity, supportive of each other and civil in their exchanges is the beginning of effective participation. Class participation is one major vehicle towards achieving quality learning (Petress 2006). You can become involved through your willingness to ask questions, to answer questions put by the teacher and to engage in discussion activities with other members of the class. These are relatively simple steps, but if...
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