Why I Don’t Believe In Class Participation

As far as my knowledge goes, every management institute has a component of class participation in the marking scheme of subjects. Professors enjoy having this component as part of their marking agenda, apparently because it helps them gauge how much knowledge a student has absorbed in the classroom. In my opinion, the component of class participation does more damage than it actually aids the process of learning.

Including me, many of my friends, have a sense of uneasiness when we have to attend a class with a CP component. Some students who focus a lot on their scores, participate actively in the classroom and score well in the component which ultimately leads to a better grade in the subject. What this actually does is, it makes classroom learning all about marks. After a point, nobody is learning, they are just gathering marks for themselves every time they get a chance to speak. Needless to say, this leads to unnecessary DCP (Desperate Class Participation) and ACP (After Class Participation).

Most b-schools already have a series of exams for a subject. Almost every three weeks, we take a quiz for each subject. Apart from these, we have our end terms, assignments, attendance components, presentations etc., which also form a part of our overall score. We are almost being evaluated in a continuous evaluation format. Adding a class participation component leaves no room for actual classroom learning. It is a rat race in the classroom as well.

In my last one year of being in a b-school, I have seen students grow indifferent to the component and they don’t care about it anymore. While some still look to score through it, others decide to not participate at all in class discussions. What most of the students feel, is that it is a component which is forcing them to give answers in class. Some professors also like to point out names and ask questions that will award marks according to your response. Even if you do not know the answer, the professor does not care, and you lose some points there, whereas someone might give an answer to a question he/she knows about. Again it comes down to the whims and wishes of the professor. It simply isn’t fair.

After completing my first year of MBA along with the internship, I can say without any doubt, that what happens on the industry floor is very different from what is taught in the classrooms. One may get an internship project, regarding which s/he may have no idea at all because the problem is very company specific or the results desired are more realistic than the theoretical knowledge that one accumulates during their education or simply because the project topic is one that was not taught in class. Class participation scores are getting us nowhere. It is high time b-schools started focusing on real and contemporary issues through better teaching methods which will help in the process of learning and not just giving answers in class.

Aroon Koshy

Aroon Koshy is a Human Resource Management student at XLRI from the batch of 2017-19. He enjoys writing and is a sports enthusiast. The views expressed in this story are personal.

Comments

One comment

Chirag Shukla

“I can say without any doubt, that what happens on the industry floor is very different from what is taught in the classrooms. One may get an internship project, regarding which s/he may have no idea at all because the problem is very company specific or the results desired are more realistic than the theoretical knowledge that one accumulates during their education or simply because the project topic is one that was not taught in class.”
This hints towards not just a problem with class participation, but a larger fundamental issue in management education!
How significant is this disconnect between the industry and the classroom, according to you? Is anything that is taught of any practical use?