There are personal, cultural, learning, and social reasons people don’t speak up in class. Students of color and women of all races, introverts, the non-conventional thinkers, those from poor previous educational backgrounds, returning or “nontraditional students,” and those from cultures where speaking out is considered rude not participatory are all likely to be silent in a class where collaboration by difference is not structured as a principle of pedagogy and organization and design.
This is absolutely not true. African American students, returning and mature students, and working class students are my best participators, both in Spanish and English. I think the quoted person speaks from stereotypes and not from any real experience. She decided these students must be silent, shy victims and is squeezing them into this role because it’s convenient and enjoyable.
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds often have lacunae in their knowledge and need remediation. That’s a real problem. The ease and the joy with which they participate definitely isn’t.
“Women of all races.” Really? You’ve had a black or a Hispanic woman in your class and she sat in the corner, completely quiet? And this kept happening for years? I’ve been teaching for a while but I can’t imagine this happening. Black or Hispanic women are a gift from God to every teacher because of how well they participate. What you need to be doing to force them into silence is a total mystery.