When teaching Socratically, participation by the student is essential. Students learn through the give and take between teacher and student and exchanges between student and student. We abide by the philosophy that talking does not always equal teaching, and listening does not always equal learning. Students must be incentivized to join the conversation and engage in the learning. Once they are incentivized in this manner, learning will happen.
Secondly, class participation is a bit of a misnomer. The grade consists not only of participating in classroom discussions, but also: coming to class prepared, listening attentively to the teacher and other students when they are speaking, having a good attitude, being on task, asking quality questions, delivering quality and thoughtful answers, etc. When a student employs these techniques and is incentivized to do so through the use of a participation grade, an amazing thing happens – they learn!