Understanding Student Perceptions of Class Participation

  • Kelly Wonder University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Keywords: participation, higher education, willingness to communicate, student engagement, English as a foreign language


Located in the Philippines, this study explored the perceptions secondary English education majors at a public university in Metro Manila, Philippines, have of classroom participation. Through an open-ended questionnaire and a series of interviews, the researcher found participants defined class participation as “recitation,” such as student responses to teacher-generated questions with limited interaction with peers. Participants also reported a strong power distance relationship between student and teacher and suggested a fear of failure restricted their class participation. Despite these challenges, participants expected their participation to be assessed. When examined through the lens of Willingness to Communicate, student perceptions were contrary to the skills expected of 21st century learners. Understanding the student perception of class participation has the potential to mediate perceptual mismatches and create more effective learning environments.