I hated the silence. In law school classes where the professor relied solely on volunteers, I hated the silence and ended up raising my hand more often than not. I found I was most interested and engaged in class not when there was lecture but when there was some sort of dialogue, and there needs to be more than one voice to dialogue. I didn’t really want to hear my own voice all the time (and I’m certain my classmates didn’t want to hear it all the time, either), but I would offer it if no one else spoke up.
Maybe I’m remembering myself speaking more than I actually did. Or maybe I was an anomaly. A female law student quoted in a recent National Jurist postsaid that “it feels like men do most of the talking during class discussions.” And indeed they might. Data from the 2010 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) suggest that women do not speak up as much as men in law school classes. The National Jurist reports that according to the LSSSE, which for 2010 surveyed 25,000 law students at 77 law schools, 47% of women students frequently ask questions in class, while 56% of male students do. This, LSSSE notes, is an area “that needs attention.”