I have always wondered why students are forced to speak in class. I realize that participation is a way of showing a student's understanding but that is just the thing- it is just one way of displaying comprehension. Some students excel in projects and assignments that are done quietly and alone but fail when it comes it resenting anything, so why are we harming these student's grades? A lot of people get anxiety and have an actual fear of public speaking. I even panic introducing myself and saying what my major is at new clubs. Being forced to get up in front of a class and present for a grade is absolutely ridiculous. Some people are mentally unable to do so, and for that reasons their grade suffers. This goes for both class presentations and class discussions. People should not be forced to do something that actually terrifies them.
Most high schools and colleges require students to take a speech class. The justification of this is often said to be because they are preparing us for the real world and future jobs. In all honesty standing up in front of a group of peers and talking about puppy mills is not a very common thing. Even giving presentations for work does not have as many guidelines. Additionally, not all jobs require people to give presentations. Some people choose professions for the reason of their comfort level.
Other reasons for giving the speech classes is to help people get over their fear of public speaking. This reasons is not relevant at all. I have taken three speech classes and my fear of public speaking has stayed the same if not gotten worse. In all honestly, speech classes and presentations should not be general education requirements. They should be used only for students who want to or if it applies to a person's field. If a student does not participate in a class discussion this does not mean that they do not understand or are not engaged in the class. It simply means that they do not want to share their thoguhts with people they are not comfortable with.
I feel that this will be a battle then will never be resolved. The point is, forcing students to do things that make them uncomfortable is not benefiting their education.