8 comments
  1. Great post! This makes a lot of sense to me. I have a few quiet students who never offer to speak up--but when I do encourage them to share, it shocks me sometimes at the depth of their understanding. It reminds me that I MUST give them the opportunity to share their opinions--what they have to say is important and can be beneficial to other kids!

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    1. Exactly! That's the power of having them speak up. True, it's uncomfortable. But it's worth it.

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  2. I think this discussion is an iceberg, with a massive amount of depth under the surface. I know many people who have been diagnosed with medically recognizable anxiety as adults. They always thought they were just shy or introverted as kids, only to find out that, for their entire lives, they have been experiencing anxiety at an extreme that most people don't. The diagnosis is usually a huge relief, because by the time they've become adults, their self image has been shattered by the idea that they should always have been able to overcome the anxiety on their own through sheer determination. To have a professional tell them that it wasn't possible allows them to begin to shed the constant sense of personal failure they carried through school and work, every day, for their entire lives.

    There are a lot of shy and introverted kids who can be encouraged and overcome, but I strongly believe that the true scope of students who suffer with undiagnosed severe anxiety is astonishing.

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    1. True, but isn't that also true of people who are diagnosed as ADD? And yet, we take loud students and ask them to learn coping strategies to stay quiet. I think the same is needed for extreme anxiety. I'm not a psychologist. I get that. I'm just saying that teachers are too quick to let a shy kid off the hook while punishing a loud kid.

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  3. Yes, you are 100.000% right.
    But those poor shy kids must be made to speak up... slowly, carefully, gently, with compassion.
    They should not be bullied, but rather teased. They will need the ability to speak up later on in life.
    It will "hurt", a little... But they will benefit from it. And so will the rest of the class.
    And someday that teacher, if the teacher did it properly, will be remembered.

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    1. I agree with you. As a former shy student who lost a lot of points for not participating, I can easily emphasize with my quieter students. I find that having them set small goals - I'll raise my hand once early on in the class - is very helpful. I also have kids set aside a visual cue, like a paper clip, to only be taken away when they've participated. Some are my most thoughtful students are the quietest, and I yearn for their participation. But it has to be done in a kind way and the culture of the class has to be one that is accepting and open to all students.

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  4. As teachers it is our job to make a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment in our classroom so that all students are able to express themselves freely. This is not something that is always talked about in a job description or the media, but is an essential part to learning! Until students feel accepted and that their voice matters, they will have a difficult time sharing...especially quite/shy/introverted students!

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Please leave a comment. I enjoy the conversation.