Throughout elementary and middle school, I was known as the quietest student in the class. As I entered 11th grade, the condition deteriorated, and my classmates dubbed me “the quiet one.” I was the one that everybody assumed would shrink in the back of the classroom if a teacher called my name. While I was told that it was because of puberty and social pressure, I believe that communication barriers played a significant role in my silence and shyness. At some point, I would not be comfortable asking teachers or my fellow students’ questions or clarification even if I barely understood anything from the course concepts.
However, as I proceeded to college, I stopped thinking how my fellow students are judging me. I started interacting with my peers and got the little confidence to keep me going. I slowly loved being involved in a group conversation and interacting with almost everybody. As a student, being open to others and initiating conversations helped me in different ways. The most important aspect was the classroom. I could no longer let my lecturers and tutors move out of class before I through one or two questions, or seeking clarifications on concepts that were unclear to me. The only challenge that I was now experiencing in college, especially during my days as a freshman was how to understand the academic discourse within the college. One of my instructors used to refer to Ballard and Clanchy’s assertion that students joining universities and colleges need to adopt the reading culture to understand better the unique values, behavior, culture, and language spoken within the institutions. “Without academic knowledge and discourse, students can never have a deep learning experience, understanding their purpose and educational goals” one lecturer would always remind us.
In fact, at the start of the first semester, I had challenges understanding the discourse and usually ended up misinterpreting the styles used during formal communication. Moreover, most of the discussions about our progress were all about the specific courses and units we were to take in our department. Unlike the traditional teaching that I was used to in my middle school, I was subjected to theories. We formed discussion groups where we were expected to discuss group assignments. During the first meeting, half of the team members did not show up, and the rest who were present did not discuss much the assignment. It was clear that due to different cultural backgrounds, there was less communication between the members. However, we managed to discuss the primary purpose of the group and our objectives and expectations. I managed to lead the team throughout the first meeting and discussion. From the first meeting, I realized the role of effective communication in aiding a smooth learning process. Moreover, we managed our team due to the establishment of rules and proper communication process.
As the first semester came to an end, I was proud that I managed to overcome my second challenge after shyness and public speaking. I understood the college culture and academic discourse. From e- learning activities, visual aids, to the spoken lectures, I could now understand the various mediums of delivery, lecturer expectations, and the learning outcomes. The most interesting part was the fact that we were being introduced to more practical lessons, and preparing for the major course projects to be presented at the end of the program. It presented me with the opportunity to think about the challenging tasks ahead and to come with ideas to present to fellow students. As I headed back home for a short vacation, I realized the importance of overcoming the problem of shyness. Moreover, I embraced the importance of open communication and student interaction in a learning environment.
The purpose of this assignment to use my own life experience as a student to make my readers gain a better understanding of the challenges students face during the learning process and how teachers can adopt various techniques to help students overcome such challenges. In this piece of writing, I describe how my silent and shy nature made me miss face a lot of challenges during lessons. In the story, I point out instances where I could not be able to get proper explanations of course concepts just because I was afraid to seek for clarification from my teachers and fellow students.
One thing am proud about this assignment is the fact that it gives me an avenue to share with my audience how overcoming fear, initiating communication, and interacting with people around me instilled the confidence in me. I feel this is important because many students undergo many challenges because they do not open up to discuss the problems they face in classroom environment because of fear.
While completing this assignment, I found it challenging to present my life experience into an engaging story that would capture the attention of the audience. I would appreciate if the instructor comments on how engaging my article is. Moreover, I would also want to know if my experience directly links to learning theories especially team work and group discussions as part of student learning.