What does "class participation" really mean?

What\'s the Problem with Quiet Students? In the days when I was teaching high school English, I put considerable effort into making sure that my students were actively participating in my classes. It was what I was encouraged to do - students had to be joining in class discussions, offering their ideas and opions, to be engaged in their learning. Over time, it occured to me that this might not be the case for every student. Certainly there are those who, for myriad reasons, choose to sit quietly and listen. Grades bore no evidence that the quieter students were submitting work of inferior quality to those who couldn't put their hands down. So I backed off, found other ways to egnage the quieter students in classroom activities, and focused on creating a classroom where each individual's learning style was respected.