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Engaging wall-flower students

I teach online and face to face classes.  We have probably all had the wallflower students that sit quietly in the room and do not participate. I have the same type of students in the online classes.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to engage these wallflower students and pull them into the course room?

Thank you


There are usually students that always answer questions or participate.  I let them answer at the beginning of class but the switch gears and say," What's you opinion of that (name)?" or "How would you solve this problem".  To generally get the classroom warmed up,(fashion design/merchandising) I ask a general question on the topic I am lecturing on and have everyone tell me their favorite designer or new clothing line they like.  This makes the students opinion seem inclusive and valuable to the class and teacher.


Polls are helpful. Then everyone is required to "vote" and be heard. I also do small group projects and lessons because some shy students will open up in discussion with their peers but not always with the entire class.


Good question...can be challenge sometimes...I try to set easy fun environment...mention funny thing that may have happend during the week...ask them if they have ever had similar type experience...

As uncomfortable as it makes them, I move my wall flowers to the front of the class. I have converted many wall flowers into confident participants over time. Being in front makes them more accessable to me for answering questions and it gives them a chance to feel safe in an exposed position. Staying in the back will never allow them to stretch and grow.

I try to make them feel comfortable in the class, This might mean initially asking them questions that are looking for opinsion instead of right or wrong answers. I also try to acknowledge them to the class if they are on the right track or produced some good work. This often will develop a sense of confidence that will turn into participation. 

Online wallflowers are very hard to detect and reach. I've had many students who only participate on mandatory conversations but work realy hard on the assignments and are excellent students, while others are just unninterested. Does anybody have a suggestion for engaging them?

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