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Why are school so negative about DD's shyness?

(97 Posts)
littlesunshining Sat 30-Mar-19 19:22:51

7 year old DD is in year 3 and every parents evening it's the same, she's doing well academically, she's on top of all her targets, this is what she needs to do to improve...but she's too quiet apparently. I'm not sure why the school have such a problem with her being quiet. By the sounds of things she gets on with her work but will tell someone if she's stuck. She doesn't cope very well in big groups so she doesn't put her hand up very often but she answers the teacher if she's asked a question. I know her teacher wants her to participate more and I encourage to but she can't be forced. She doesn't have loads of friends, just sticks to her little friendship group but she gets on with most the kids in her class. I see being quiet and introverted as just part of her personality, she's been that way since she was a toddler and she may grow out of the shyness and become more confident in the future but if she's happy and doing well then i don't why they are so eager to do something she's uncomfortable with

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-19 19:27:06

DS was like this. The teacher couldn't seem to accept it at all. She would constantly try to get him to do things out of his comfort zone and he hated it.

She would admit she didn't know what to do with him.

Ilovemysleepthief Sat 30-Mar-19 19:28:11

Sounds like my dd, they always obsess about it at parents evening too angry

BillywilliamV Sat 30-Mar-19 19:30:06

My DD Is the same, doesn’t speak up enough. I point out to the teachers that it is their job to draw her out.

Warmworm Sat 30-Mar-19 19:31:42

I’ve had this same comment about my dd for years, she’s 16 now and still quiet but doing great academically. I think teachers usually try to find some area for improvement. Try not to dwell on it, it takes all types to make the world go round. She sounds smart, I’m sure she’ll find her place.

Beclaboo Sat 30-Mar-19 19:32:56

I was like this at school! Up until I was 18 it was mentioned in every report and parents evening that I was very studios but very quiet. And guess what? I’m fine shock

QueenoftheBiscuitTin Sat 30-Mar-19 19:33:09

I was like your DD and teachers were constantly telling my Mum that I should try and put my hand up more. My Mum got fed up in the end and told them that was the way I was, it's not doing anyone any harm and to stop going on about it.

dingit Sat 30-Mar-19 19:34:49

This was my dd all through school. Fast forward to aged 20, and she off back to school to do a presentation to year 11 on her degree.

MMama18 Sat 30-Mar-19 19:37:16

This was me as a child. Every school report from nursery to sixth form said the same ‘Mama needs to be more confident and put her hand up more’. I am now a fully functioning adult, primary teacher, and mum! It’ll do her no harm, as long as she has good friends and asks if she’s stuck/confides if she needs help, she will be fine x

CatherineVelindre Sat 30-Mar-19 19:42:40

The main teaching and learning paradigm in the UK is that of constructivism, and construction of knowledge through talk is seen as very important. It is entirely cultural as many other countries assume that quiet = studious and attentive, whereas it is all too easy for teachers here to associate it with a student not being engaged. They need to see that students are making progress, and engaged talk is one of the easiest ways to do so, but with a bit of imagination they should be able to find other ways of getting feedback on her progress without forcing her to speak when she doesn't want to.

Phineyj Sat 30-Mar-19 19:50:37

My goodness, when I used to have a bunch of KS3 classes on my timetable, I really liked having students like your daughter to counter those who Would.Not.Shut.Up (I'm a sixth form specialist so my skill set is more in the area of coaxing work out of stressed/hungover/romantically challenged young adults). Just have a ready comeback - maybe 'ah, I guess we have two ears and one mouth for a reason...'? Followed by a tinkly laugh.

Pikehau Sat 30-Mar-19 19:57:11

Hi OP, school is being unreasonable. Check out a talk about the power of introverts by Susan cain - you tube or TED I cant remember but it might have a few useful soundbites for you if and when you meet the teacher.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-19 19:58:03

This summed DS up.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-19 19:59:34


Tavannach Sat 30-Mar-19 20:03:14

AFAIK verbal skills are used as part of assessments. Also, clever pupils participating in class discussions can make it more interesting and move things along a bit. But if your daughter is quiet by nature there's no point in forcing it.

Minai Sat 30-Mar-19 20:05:00

This was me at every parents evening my entire school life. I was always very quiet and shy but like your dd I would ask for help if I needed it and was very happy with my little group of friends. Some teachers tried to get me out of my comfort zone and all it did was stress me out and make me clam up more.

I’m still quite a quiet person but I’m happy, confident in myself and have a successful career (or did until I had my children and now a sham) so I don’t think my shyness has had any negative impact on my life.

Minai Sat 30-Mar-19 20:05:46

Sahm not a sham grin

helpmehelpmygirl Sat 30-Mar-19 20:05:55

This was me!! I had/and still do have so many negative comments about being quiet. My dd is very quiet also and I make a point to boost her’s absolutely fine to be shy!! In fact it’s made me a good very friend, a very good nurse and if people don’t take the time to get to know me, then so be it!!
I had teachers actually pick on me constantly at school and I felt that I was strange. It’s only now at 30 that I am ok with being quiet. Another reason why my dd will be home schooled

Thingsdogetbetter Sat 30-Mar-19 20:06:21

If the teachers are relying on hands up as a teaching method then they're pretty crap anyway! All that tells a teacher is who's confident, 100% knows the answer and wants to please the teacher. Really outmoded method and my opinion only used because it's easier for ticking boxes in a large class! There are ways of encouraging quieter students to build confidence in contributing to class, hands up does the complete opposite!

Next time ask the teacher what other methods they use to encourage participation from quieter students or disengaged students. Turn it round on them.

JuniperGinYay Sat 30-Mar-19 20:12:41

This was me as a child- but it was just the school environment. I didn’t really enjoy hands up statements, I was happy in my own company and happy to listen.

I haven’t grown into an under confident or quiet adult though. I enjoy debate, in my areas of interest I can be very chatty and although I’m not a chatty person always I have no issue with public speaking or delivering information.

I was even a teacher for a while, though still not a talker. I like to be concise and I don’t think it hurts at all not to dominant the classroom with teacher talk and forget about independent learning or experimentation.

She may be quietly confident, and not the ‘shy’ stereotype at all.

Happilyacceptingcookies Sat 30-Mar-19 20:16:42

I've had this comment with DD. When I see some of her friends who are louder, run up to the teachers to tell them things, are the first to get everything, I do realise why they say DD is shy. But I like to think she is polite and waits her turn. Does that mean she misses out in things if she isn't the first to put herself up for things? Perhaps, I don't know. I think you can be quiet, polite and assertive at the same time though.

WaxOnFeckOff Sat 30-Mar-19 20:21:10

I think it depends on why she is quiet. we had this all through school with DS. Initially we felt that he was quiet but comfortable in himself. We were wrong. He's nearly 19 and really struggling socially. he's doing well academically at Uni but not participating and I can see him being in for a first class degree but being unemployable. We are struggling to help him still tbh. I'd take on board what they are saying and check that she is confident but quiet rather than too anxious to speak. Good luck OP.

Usernamesake Sat 30-Mar-19 20:21:38

My DD (8) gets this all the time from school and it does. my. head. in!
She's naturally introverted, as am I and her Father. I had the same vibes from my school years and it really dented my self confidence and my anxiety levels.
In my 30s /40s I had a very successful career and did many work place courses that highlighted the varying personalities that feature in this world and how we all have something worthwhile to contribute.
This was key in banishing those 'shy kid' hang ups that had long been lingering from school.
It took me a long time to feel it was ok to be an 'introvert' (although not overly keen on that term..!)
There's a fine line between encouraging shy children to speak out/participate more in school and making them feel that they're not as 'good' as naturally confident/extrovert children.
I encourage my daughter as much as I can to believe in herself; she participates in hobbies that she enjoys and which boost her confidence. However I am also encouraging her to be happy in her own skin.

SlipperyLizard Sat 30-Mar-19 20:21:49

This was me at primary (and secondary tbh), I remember my mum saying if I was t careful they’d stamp “introvert” on my file, as if that would be the worst thing ever. Thanks mum!

Being an introvert isn’t something to be ashamed of - although it has taken me years to work that out, and I won’t pretend life is easy for introverts.

But I’m a successful professional, so must be doing something right!

AnnaNutherThing Sat 30-Mar-19 20:24:02

It is reasonably rare to come across introverted teachers for a start.

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