Although a great deal of research has been conducted regarding class participation, researchers have systematically disregarded those students who participate best through means other than vocal contribution to class discussion. This exploratory study examined definitions of participation, as well as participation behaviors and beliefs, in the hope of gaining a better understanding of the culture of participation. Participants included 17 professors and 101 students. Cluster analysis was conducted and showed the existence of at least three distinct groups of participators. Independent samples t-tests showed only one significant difference between student and professor beliefs of how likely students would be to participate in selected situations. Implications of this study include the ability for professors to understand the different participation groups that exist within a group of students and allow them to better address the ways in which mandatory participation can increase the overall quantity and quality of learning.



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