Dear Aunt Pep,
It is Week Four. I sit in my compulsory tute, and the voice echoes in the back of my mind: Tute participation is worth 10% of your overall score. The tutor asks a question. There’s a silence. I look at my laptop, at the clock, at anything as to avoid meeting their gaze. The silence continues. The tutor sighs. ‘The answer is “separation of powers”’, they mutter. Every student fervently types this. We are all going to get 0/10. But how can I break this pattern by the end of semester?
Dear Participation Anxiety,
For the shy and/or publicly oratorically challenged amongst us, it can be the worst of times to learn that academic assessment (or 10% of it at least), is predicated upon verbal engagement. However, keep calm and don’t be too alarmed because there is absolutely no rubric that stipulates your participation must be informed, or correct, or anything really—except that it needs to occur. The key takeaway here is quantity over quality. So, say something! Anything! Respond to questions with questions, guess with absolutely no contextual knowledge of any of the prescribed readings for that week, or ever! If it’s the participation marks you’re after, you’re in luck because no actual work or effort needs to go into it. My personal tip? Gulp down a triple shot flat white right before class and you’ll be physically incapable of shutting up!