How to help DD's confidence in asking questions

(5 Posts)

Hoping someone here can offer me wise words on how to help my DD in the class. Or maybe just tell me to relax!

Background- DD is 5 and in p1 (we're in Scotland) she is an October birthday which makes her one of the youngest in her class. We are really pleased that she is enjoying school and has settled in well. However her teacher has mentioned that DD is very passive in the class, and won't answer questions. DD is very chatty normally, and quite confident generally but she seems less confident in class situations - especially PE (although her teacher says she is doing well).

I have an older DS who is very academic and sporty so was always very involved in class discussions etc. therefore I never had this with him and I'm just not sure what to do to help DD feel happier about participating.

Part of me thinks she is young, and P1 is about getting used to school. Should I just relax about it and assume she will join in more as she gets older? I don't really want to make her feel like there is a problem.

Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 20:41:34

not sure really but perhaps just really reassure her at home that her opinions are valid and respected by you as her family and also try and let her know that it is ok to make mistakes. I think many children are worried they might give the wrong answer. I don't think you need to link it to school directly as it is the underlying message that is important

Hi Periwinkle
Thanks for that, it makes sense to try that.

Ferguson Wed 27-Mar-13 22:33:03

Hi - exTA (male) here -

I worked ten years in an infant school, and many children at first are really shy and worried; some refuse to answer to their name at register time.

One 4 year old girl wouldn't go into the playground at all, but stood in the classroom doorway, which opened onto the playground. There were posts outside supporting a canopy roof. I asked her, if I helped her get to the post did she think she could hold on to it, which she agreed to. (Teachers are often too busy to notice or take action in instances like this, whereas TAs or voluntary helpers can be more sympathetic and have more time.) She was then worried at line-up time at the end of play, so I held her hand in the line to reassure her. The next day I said No, I didn't need to hold her hand, but I would just watch her in the line to make sure she was OK. So after a few days I 'weaned' her off her dependency on me, and before long she merged into playground activities with all the other children.

Once they have refused to do something I think they continue it, rather than give in and loose face (tho I don't say it is a conscious decision). And some children would rather not answer anything, than risk getting it wrong. (Others are the complete opposite, and HAVE to say something, not caring how irrelevant or outlandish it might be!)

I don't have any doubt that DD will gain confidence, but it may take a while. An understanding teacher can make things easier, whereas the old 'dragon' type (and they do still exist!) makes it harder. Plenty of praise, and not too much pressure, and I'm sure she will do brilliantly.

Thanks Ferguson that's helpful. DD's teacher is kind to the children, and they love her but she's quite formal in her teaching. I'll keep on working to build DDs confidence.

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