Bored Students: Not Anymore with Total Participation Techniques

We, teachers, can all relate to this common drill: you pose a question, and the same hands are always rocket in the air. The same students keep participating actively prompt after prompt. It isn’t always true that they are only ones who fully understand the lesson. It’s just that some students are not confident enough to share their thoughts with the class. On the other hand, some students worry that their answers are wrong.

The above situation is not beneficial to the flow of learning in class as teachers get a little feedback from others, and it doesn’t give an accurate assessment of what others have learned until it’s too late to help these students.

Education that is built on stand-and-deliver teaching is not effective to both the young and adult minds. Learners of any age need to pause and process what they learn, and as teachers we should allow the process of dissecting information, jotting down their thoughts, comparing and contrasting their understanding with their peers to happen while we deliver our lesson.

It’s not only about teaching content. It’s also about determining students’ depth of understanding of the content just taught.

Failure to engage the students in lesson hinders their understanding of the concepts. If students are not engaged in the lesson, they become bored in the process. Students can’t learn something new if they are not interacting in the classroom, and they are just a passive absorber of the content – listen and take down downs when necessary.

How to engage students

So what’s the solution? Simple. Quit asking your students to volunteer during discussions. Design activities that will foster ownership of learning in the classroom. In doing so, you are making your students accountable for what he does and doesn’t understand.

The total participation techniques provide you with strategies that will boost students’ awareness of what’s happening in the classroom. Hence, engaging them to the learning process. At the same time, total participation techniques will help the teacher get immediate feedback on the students’ understanding of the lesson. By getting immediate feedback, he can immediately give remediation or assist students who are in need of help.

Total Participation Techniques make every learner an active learner. These teaching techniques allow for all students to demonstrate active participation and cognitive involvement in the topic being discussed.

One technique that we can adapt is ‘Think-Pair-Share.’ It requires low preparation though it guarantees active involvement from all students once done right. In fact, you can even do it on the spot. I usually use this technique in the lessons and have dramatically observed the change in my student’s involvement during the lessons.

Every time I ask a question during the discussion, I don’t immediately call those students who have immediately raised their hands to participate. I always allow a thinking time, which will allow everyone to ponder the question just recently asked. After the good pause, I ask the students to share their responses to their seatmate. In doing so, no one gets left behind. Everybody can share their thoughts minus the fear of having a big audience.

Watch the video below so you can get a clearer understanding on how this ‘Think-Pair-Share” can be adapted to your own classroom.

Making everyone involved in discussion ensure the consistent engagement of the students to the material being discussed in class. As the facilitator of learning in the classroom, it lies in our willingness to make adjustments in how we deliver our lessons to make sure that all our students learn the materials we teach them.


TFT will also host its first ever Professional Development Workshop for teachers.  As we will be opening a tutorial center, it will be held there. The name of the tutorial center is Bruner Learning Hub located in Maly, San Mateo.

The topic will be on Total Participation Techniques.  There will 2 sessions, Part 1 and 2. Part 1 will exclusively focus on the techniques.

If you’re interested, please fill in your details in this google form. We will email you with more details and how to reserve your slot. Thank you for interest and support! 🙂

Argee Abadines
Argee Abadines is the founder and chief content engineer of this website. He is a brain based educator and his educational interests are pedagogy, higher order thinking, creativity, and educational technology. He is also the founder of Bruner Learning Hub. He currently teaches high school business studies and economics. Previously, he taught English to primary students. He reads up regularly about trends in education and online media. You can visit his personal blog at

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