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In US universities, students are encouraged and expected to participate in class. Instructors consider it part of the learning process. Questioning the instructor and providing your own opinion indicate that you are paying attention and thinking critically about the material being presented to you. Instructors also appreciate clarification questions (e.g. asking the instructor to repeat the directions for an assignment) because they want to make sure everyone understands. However, many – if not most – people feel anxious about participating in the classroom. This is especially true for students whose first language is not English. While overcoming this feeling takes time and practice, here are some strategies* that can help you in the meantime.
Q: What theory of feminism supposes that society oppresses women through patriarchy?
A:I think the answer is radical feminism.
A: Is it radical feminism?
A: I’m not sure, but it could be radical feminism.
I have a question about what she said a second ago…
Could we revisit his comments on X?
I’d like to go back to discussing X.
*Feak, C., Reinhart, S. & Rohlck, T. Academic Interactions: Communicating on campus. Michigan Series in English for Academic & Professional Purposes. (2009). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
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