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How to encourage passive pupils to actively take part in the class?

Frederick anak Sut

List of Contents

The effectiveness of teaching method in teacher can be shown through the
response of pupils in the class and how do they behave in the class. The teacher
always enters the class with enthusiasm but de-motivated when the pupils
especially passive learners did not give enough effort to learn and make the
lesson more meaningful. The study on how to encourage the passive pupils to
actively take part in class will be carried out in the selected school for science
classes. The analysis of the study will be assessed by gathering data from
various methods which are using questionnaires forms, observation from the
peer, pupils and senior teachers interview session to determine the problem.
Keywords: passive learner, participate, class activity, questionnaires

Research Background
The study is carried out in SK Abang Abdul Rahman, Saratok during Science
classes. This study will involve two classes which are Year 4B and also Year 5B.
Year 4B has 49 pupils in the class and Year 5B has 43 pupils. This research will
focus on some passive pupils in the classes. These passive pupils are very
difficult to take part in class because of the attitude. They prefer sit among
themselves and seems to be not interested in any lesson that been taught. Most
of the time, a passive student does not even know they are passive. They usually
sit toward the back of the room, talk with their friends when they should be doing
work, and participate in class only when there is no other. There are some factors
pupils become passive in the class:
1. Teaching and learning process is not interesting
2. The lesson seems to be too difficult
3. Shyness and nervousness to take part in the class
4. Peer interaction problem
5. Psychology problem

Problem Statement
When the first time I enter these two classes, I found that the classes are active
and interesting to teach. However, there are some groups of pupils that are
looked quite passive and very quiet in the class. They do not participate actively
when the lesson is been conducted. When the class activity is been conducted,
they do not give full commitment. This had become a problem for me because it
disturbs my focus and also my teaching process. In the classroom one is
supposed to be active. The silent and shy students are often perceived as being
less interested, motivated and participatory. Silent pupils have problems
establishing a closer relationship to the teacher which again makes the teacher
adapt situations of evaluation to the pupil. For shy pupils performance for the
class or activity in the groups are difficult. The problem for the socially passive
pupils is that they are not able to show what they know. Therefore, this research
is been carried out to encourage the passive pupils to actively take part in the
class. A number of methods and approaches will be taken to encourage these
passive pupils in the class. At the end of this study, we will see how does these
passive pupils changing and become more active in every class activity that been

Rationale of study
The rationale of the study is how does the teaching technique of the teacher can
influent the involvement of the pupils in the class. It is about the best way to
attract the attention from the passive pupils to actively involve in the class
activity. The passive pupils should be encouraged to take part in the class so that
they are not leaving far back from the others. The opportunity of learning should
be fair and should be given to all type of pupils whether they are active or
passive pupils.
There are many ways to find out if the pupils are active or passive. Passive
students tend to take more time, on tests, sometimes not even finishing. Are you
able to get their attention while they are doing an activity? Passive students will
be focused on something other than the teacher, making it hard for the teachers
to get their attention. They usually sit toward the back of the room, talk with their
friends when they should be doing work, and participate in class only when there
is no other choice. As a teacher, it is a big responsibility for us to identify pupils
behaviour. A teacher must be concern and able to know whether the pupils are in
a good mood to study or not. Managing behaviour in the classroom also would
entail the teacher looking at discipline from two directions which are promoting
desirable or good behaviour and handling misbehavior when it occurs. Therefore
in this study, a few approaches will be used so that I can able to encourage the
involvement of passive pupils in my lesson. I do not want them to feel isolated in
the class. I want them to actively take part in the class activity.

To carry out this study, I used five different methods. Each method has it own
strength and effectiveness in order to encourage the passive pupils to actively
take part in the class. A few aspects that I am looking for during this study are:

Pupils pay attention attentively in the class

Pupils show their expression when teacher asks questions

Two-ways communication between teacher and students

All pupils actively involve in class activities

Pupils can do their exercises without guidance

Methodology 1: Use of various teaching aids

Teaching aids are very important in delivering message and attract pupils
concentration. Pupils will learn better with attractive teaching aids. Thus, we are
looking for an alternative to the previous teaching aids to attract pupils attention.
The use of various teaching aids will help a lot to attract especially the passive
pupils in the class. Some examples of teaching aids that been used during my
class are mahjong paper, mounting board, LCD and power point slide, label card,
Styrofoam and the live specimens such as the bougainvillea tree, earthworm,
seeds, etc. For each class, I used different teaching aids based on the topic of
the day. For example, for the topic Plants Reproduce, I show some videos on
how plants reproduce. Besides, I brought some live specimens such as seeds,
Begonia leaves, fern leaves and bougainvillea tree into the class. From what I
can see, the responses from the pupils are very impressive especially among the
passive pupils. I can see the positive response from them. When I ask some
questions, they show their expression and this is a good sign for my study. This
had approve that the use of various teaching aids can attract all pupils include
the passive pupils to actively take part in the teaching and learning process.

Methodology 2: Questioning techniques

Questioning techniques are very important in each teaching and learning
process. In order to know whether the pupils understand or not the topic of the
day, teacher must ask questions. Besides, questioning method can help to
strengthen the understanding among pupils. For the first two classes, I faced
some problems where only the same pupils answering my questions. Some
pupils sat down quietly and looked blur when I asked questions. From this, I
know that this group of pupils is from the passive pupils. I looked for ideas on
how to get them involve during my lesson. Therefore, I gave my attention more to
these groups of pupils by asking them a few questions. If they do not understand
the questions, I simplify the questions.
Example of question:
How does sugarcane reproduce?
If the pupils do not give the answer, I simplify the question:
Does sugarcane reproduce through seeds or stem cuttings?
This questioning technique had helped me a lot in order to encourage the
passive pupils to take part in my lesson.

Methodology 3: Various class activities

Pupils can get bored easily if the same class activity is been conducted every
day in the class. Therefore, a teacher must be creative in order to make the class
interesting and informative. From my research, at first I did the class activity,
majority the boys were actively take part in it. However, the major problem is the
girls group. They were looked very quiet and not interested in the class activity.
Therefore, for the next lesson, I conducted another class activity. I asked them to
work in groups and doing the classification chart. From what I can see, all pupils
were actively taking part. They enjoy doing the classifying activity in groups. For
this activity, I prepared a mounting board for each group and each group was
also given glue and some pictures to be classified into their group. Besides, I
conducted class outside the classroom. For the topic Plants Respond to Stimuli,
I brought the pupils to walk around the school compound and looking at the trees
at the school compound. This activity is seemed to be very interesting and able
to attract all pupils include the passive pupils. I asked them to do their own
findings on what happen to the shoot growth, the root growth and also the
Mimosa plant when it had been touched. This method is very effective to train the
Science Process Skills among pupils. From what I can see, various class
activities had encouraged the passive pupils to take part in the lesson.

Methodology 4: Giving rewards and encouragement

Most pupils like to receive rewards or encouragement. The rewards are
not necessary the gift or things but it can be in other form such as the praise,
hand-clapping and etc. Positive reinforcers help students learn behaviors
necessary to be successful academically and socially. For example, a student's
behavior goal may be to increase the amount of time he stays on-task in class.
Positive reinforcers would be used as a reward for improving over a period of
time. Positive reinforcers include any actions, consequences, or rewards that are
provided to a student and cause an increase in desired behavior. They may
include rewards and privileges that students like and enjoy. For example, a
student may earn physical rewards such as school supplies, healthy snacks, or
choice of free-time activities. Many teachers attempt to use praise as a form of
positive reinforcement in order to motivate students to achieve and behave in
positive ways. Research does indicate that there are effective ways to praise
students. The terms "effective praise" and "encouragement" are often used by
researchers and other professionals to describe the same approach. In this
paper, we will refer to both as "encouragement."
For my study, I need to carry out a research on the effectiveness of praise
or rewards in encouraging the involvement of passive pupils in the class. For
each class activity, the best group will be given some prizes as encouragement.
This method is also effective because all pupils are attracted to the rewards and
therefore, they involve actively in every class activity. When I ask questions
especially to the passive pupils, I always give praise to them. For example, Very
good answer, well done etc. This had give them motivation to answer the next
questions and lastly they are not afraid anymore to answer any questions from
the teacher.

Methodology 5: Peer study

Year 4B has 49 pupils and Year 5B has 43 pupils. I had arranged the seat of the
pupils where I asked one passive pupils to sit with one active pupil. This is what
we call the peer study. From what I can see, this method had helped the passive
pupils to gain confidence in communication skills. This is because their new peer
which is the active pupils had helped them to build the confidence among them.
At last, the passive pupils are involving actively in the class activity. When there
is work they do not understand, they discuss with their new peer. Therefore, this
method is very effective. I should not let the passive pupils to sit among them.
They must be given opportunity to enjoy the lesson same as the other pupils.

Data Analysis

From the results and analysis that have been carried out, it was shown that the
girls were the passive pupils than the boys in both 4B and 5B classes. Most of
times, the boys in the class participate actively when it comes to question and
answer session, presentation and group work rather than the girls. As for the

girls, they would be passive pupils if they did not understand what I taught them
and try to keep quiet as they could not answer the questions. Unlike the boys, the
girls did not have the strength and confidence to try and to participate in the class
activity for most of the time. From the interview and observation, I found out that
in order to get the passive pupils to become active in the class are by giving
more attention to them especially in guidance during doing the exercises or
completing the tasks given. As those passive pupils like the attractive interesting
activity that I always carried out, more compliments and attention will be given to
them so they will feel excited and keen to learn in the class.



1 -3 week

Class involvement (%)

3 -6 week
6th-9th week


9th-12th week

Table 1: Class involvement (%) for Year 4B and 5B classes for the 1st till 12th week of

From the table above, the class involvement for each class is increasing till the
end week of practicum. This means, more and more passive pupils are actively
taking part in the class activity till the end week of practicum. The increasing
number of class involvement in the class shows that the methods that been used
in this study is effective and successfully to encourage the passive pupils to take
part in the any class activities.

The strength that I could find out from the research which had been
carried out for the past few weeks during the practicum was that I had figured out
which of my pupils were passive and active in class. The girls in the class, which
respectively to be passive (also can be known as inactive pupils) like to do self
assessment activities in class that involved simulation, presentation, question
and answer sessions that required them to come forward and write or paste the
correct answers on board. Apart form that, I also can enhance the attention of my
boys and get them to get along with the girls especially when it involved them to
work in group so they could collaborate with each other, cooperate to the tasks or
carried out the experiments given as all the pupils would involve and no one
would be left out.
As for the weaknesses, I confessed I even did not realize that I pay more
attention to the boys rather than the girls. It is maybe because of the factor that I
concentrate on the boys as I am afraid they would make noise and disturbing the
class as they were naughtier than the girls. It is because the boys groups are
more active than the girls. As I turned out wrong, I tried to adjust myself a bit to
be balanced in communicating with both boys and girls in the group. I also
realized that I did not give enough guidance and assistance for them in doing the
exercises as I assumed they could do it well like they did during the class activity.
I realized that the passive pupils need more attention from me. Therefore, I give
more attention to them during the class activities. This is because I want to
encourage them to actively take part in the class.

As conclusion, my study had successfully encouraged the passive pupils to
actively take part in the class. There are 5 methods that been used during this
study. The most effective method is Giving the Rewards or Encouragement.
Most of the pupils like the rewards and praise. They make it as their motivator to
be active in the class.

Bruner, J.S. 2006. In Search of Pedagogy Volume I. Routledge (Taylor & Francis)
Group. New York
Hanson, D. & Herrington, M. 1976. From College to Classroom: The
Probationary Year. Routledge &Keegan Paul Ltd. London.
Holliday, A. 2007. Doing and Writing Qualitative Research. 2nd Edition. SAGE
Publications. London.
Thomas, J.B. 2002. Creative in the classroom & Life : A nurturing Approach.
Penerbit Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idiris. Tanjung Malim, Perak.

Questionnaire to pupils
1. Gender


2. Do you like to come to school?


3. Which of the following objects will attract you most?

Text book
4. Do you like to do an experiment?
5. Do you like the science class?
6. Do you find the class interesting?


7. Do you understand the lesson?

8. How you want the class conducted?
Inside the classroom
Outside the classroom
9. Do you like group activity?
10. Are you excited waiting for the next class?