“Speak Up”, Dr. Songying Fang, Political Science

I think that there is more emphasis here than in China for students to participate in classes. You need to speak up instead of being quiet and just listening. In my own experience, during the first two years of graduate school, I tended to stay more or less quiet. But I would ask questions, of course, if there was something that I really didn’t understand. I adopted the approach to listen first to what others have to say because I didn’t have a background in political science, and there were language barriers at first. But independent of my own experience, my view is that the ability to listen and the ability to express yourself are equally important. Sometimes students feel that if they don’t know enough, they can’t contribute, so they tend to just stay quiet all the time. What’s important to remember is that others are likely to have the same questions, and it’s more efficient to just raise the question than trying to figure it out on your own. On the other hand, if you don’t have the patience and ability to listen to what others have to say, you miss out a big part of the learning process.