Class participation is important for a number reasons, particularly when it comes to encouraging students with learning how to express and communicate ideas to their peers. It is also important for teachers, as they are able to assess just how much a student understands about a given topic.
Making sure students are keen to participate in class discussions can be difficult, especially given the many reasons a student may not want to join in with a debate, such as shyness, problems and so on. That said, there are a number of things a teacher can do to encourage more engagement.
Teachers should strive to create a classroom environment that is not only comfortable for students, but also helps to foster debate and interaction with taught subject topics. Explaining the value of students' questions to the teacher, such as the fact it helps a teacher to identify and refine any possible flaws in their teaching methods, is just one such example.
Teachers should also ensure that any and all student responses and contributions are taken seriously, and that there is no such thing as a stupid question when in class. This can help students to feel confident in asking questions, and also that they will not be mocked if they ask what they may consider a foolish question.