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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.

DailyMailSucksWails Sat 30-Mar-19 20:31:13

It's not good to be dominated by other people. Most if not all quiet people don't stand up for themselves as well as they should.

Plus it means the class is missing out on her contribution & she is missing out from finding out the she can have great stuff to contribute. Knowing that could boost her confidence in multiple areas.

I have a shy extrovert DS, I'd really like him to feel more confident.

MMama18 Sat 30-Mar-19 20:38:01

Rare but not impossible! (You’re talking to one!) grin

MMama18 Sat 30-Mar-19 20:39:09

@AnnaNutherThing ^^

nutsfornutella Sat 30-Mar-19 20:44:18

It's because the education system is designed for extroverts. In most cultures being quiet is seen as a good thing as it allows the teacher to crack on but in our educational system, it's easier for teachers to assess the extrovert/chatty kids and how teachers assess things is decided by the government (so I'm not teacher bashing here)

I nod along when I hear the obligatory comments about quiet kids but don't tell the kids about it. The extrovert kids tend to be the ones causing low level disruption so I think the teacher should be relieved that they don't have a class full of extroverts.

AnnaNutherThing Sat 30-Mar-19 20:44:48

My favourite among my kids primary teachers was a really quiet lady. Her classes seemed to have a low buzz of contented kids getting on with stuff.

Oblomov19 Sat 30-Mar-19 20:51:17

Bring very shy and quiet is a problem and it's the schools duty to try and bring her more out of herself.
I don't understand why you all can't grasp this.

littlesunshining Sat 30-Mar-19 20:59:04

@Oblomov19 okay but why is it a problem?

AnnaNutherThing Sat 30-Mar-19 21:00:28

According to OP her daughter asks if she has a problem with work and answers questions when asked.
She has friends and is happy.

The only issue mentioned seems to be joining in larger group discussions. Where presumably she is competing for attention with the livewires.

sunshinestanley Sat 30-Mar-19 21:03:04

Watch Susan Cain's TED talk smile

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-19 21:05:25

I don't think it is the school's job to bring them out of themselves. If they are learning and happy leave them be at that age.

DS1's confidence got better as he got older, but the First school teachers continually trying to get him to not be himself didn't work at all.

shimmerer Sat 30-Mar-19 21:21:41

Another person here that got this all through school. I always did well academically. The only criticism I ever got was that I didn’t talk enough. I was just an extreme introvert, and a classroom full of mostly extroverts didn’t suit me.

I think it’s reasonable to sometimes push quiet children out of their comfort zone so they can learn communication skills, etc. However, I also think it’s important to validate them as introverts. They function differently and there’s no need for them to be talkative. It seems like you understand this anyway.

I tried for so many years be more extroverted, but I never got far and it made me feel like a failure. I managed to get better at some things like public speaking and I could act extroverted for short periods of time, but it would ultimately drain me. I now see that my “quietness” is part of who I am. Of course, I love talking and expressing myself when I’m in the right company (usually only one or two other people).

IMO, most schools are not the ideal place for quiet children to learn. They are built for the average child, and your daughter is not the norm. If you ask me, it’s the school that should change!

Asgoodasarest Sat 30-Mar-19 21:26:56

I was incredibly shy as a child and I’m still naturally an introvert. As I’ve got older, I’m more comfortable with speaking up etc, but I’ll always prefer smaller groups, quieter places and quiet pursuits like reading.
It does annoy me that there seems to be negativity around being a more reserved character. Not everyone can be all signing and dancing at the front, the world would be in chaos.
As long as she is doing the things she wants to do and is generally happy, then try not to let it bother you. Unfortunately the way schools are set up does favour the more outgoing children, so it may be challenging for her at times.

WillGymForPizza Sat 30-Mar-19 21:36:34

I had this all through school as well. Im an introvert and am just naturally a bit reserved, I don't enjoy speaking out in front of groups.

Fairyliz Sat 30-Mar-19 21:44:09

My DD got this all through school and it really got on my nerves because she was a clever, happy child who loved school.
After the 20th time of hearing it I said to the teacher surely you are glad she is quiet when most children in the class won’t stfu! Funnily enough no one mentioned it again smile.
She’s now in her 20’s and works in PR and can talk for England.

BackforGood Sat 30-Mar-19 22:05:42

Because that is actually part of the teacher's job - to report what they can do/ are doing well, and to report areas they could do with developing.
Not being able to speak up in front of people is incredibly inhibiting as you become a teen, then a student, then an adult.
No, not everyone will be brilliant at it, but it would a benficial skill for everyone to have in tneir locker.

You can sit and be annoyed about the comment it you want, or, while she is still very young you could be aware it is something she would benefit from developing and take steps to help her gain a skill that hasn't come naturally to her this far.

FedUpOfBrexit Sat 30-Mar-19 22:21:14

I hate it when teachers think it's a good idea to 'bring kids out of their shell' by forcing them to speak in front of the class thinking this is the approach these kids need and they will be cured of their shyness.
In fact it can have the opposite effect but they are very quick to jump to say these things build confidence.
As a kid forced to do this ,no it doesn't it just makes me hate the teacher and hate speaking in public more.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-19 22:23:00

One teacher thought she could 'cure' DS's shyness by making him the Narrator in the school play. He hated every minute of it, got something wrong and everyone laughed at him. Brilliant.

Elphame Sat 30-Mar-19 22:24:37

Yes I was another incredibly quiet and shy child.

However by my 30s I was high profile in my career and gave many presentations to professional audiences.

It never held me back - as a child I just didn't fit in with my peer group. They bored me silly and I preferred my own company.

Itssosunny Sat 30-Mar-19 22:25:57

It's normal to be shy. There are extroverts and introverts.

eddiemairswife Sat 30-Mar-19 22:33:33

I had this on reports, that I did good work but contributed little in lessons. My reasoning was that, if most of the class had their hands up to answer,what was the point? I was a very bright girl who would answer if no-one else could.

cabingirl Sat 30-Mar-19 22:37:51

This was me as a child - every single parents' evening for my whole school life. "Too quiet, doesn't like contributing in group discussions"

Ended up becoming a radio journalist and speaking in front of tens of thousands for a living.

I'm still more of a listener than a talker in group situations and it's exactly what has made me successful in work and personal situations.

As long as she has friends who she is comfortable being herself around, and she is doing well academically, don't worry about it.

Maryjoxk Sat 30-Mar-19 22:42:41

Teachers were the same with my DD.
I’d always say to her ‘you are the way you are, it’s ok to be shy and the world needs both loud and quiet people’
She’s left school but since, her shyness has not once negatively impacted her when doing job interviews, making friends etc

HeathRobinson Sat 30-Mar-19 22:45:01

Bring very shy and quiet is a problem and it's the schools duty to try and bring her more out of herself.
I don't understand why you all can't grasp this.

So funny! 😂

Fudgenugget Sat 30-Mar-19 22:45:11

All through primary, and now into secondary, teachers said this to DD. @Sparklingbrook your graphic has her to a tee.

DD is achieving, doing well in English, Maths, Art, Drama, History and Geography. She produces beautiful pieces of work, tidy and clear to read.

Yet they still want her to talk more. She has always been quiet, as have her dad and me. She will answer a question when asked, but won’t put her hand up voluntarily.

After Parents Eve one day, she was in a class, and bravely decided to put her hand up. The teacher said her answer was wrong. DD said it was right, because she reads a lot. Teacher still insisted the answer was wrong. DD came home, told us about it. We looked it up and DD was right. DD declares she is never putting up her hand again. angry. She says why bother when the teacher doesn’t even know the right answers!

So now she is back in her shell, and happy as a clam!

DangermousesSidekick Sat 30-Mar-19 22:49:36

Schools do seem to becoming ever more hostile places for those that aren't massively social and don't have verbal diarrhoea. Perhaps some of it is a reflection of the increasing political play among school teachers themselves. Some of it might also be because they are being pushed to raise aspiration - and in Britain, more and more, aspiration and high-level jobs are brought about by mouthy socialising, not actual competence. We need a huge culture shift.

nutsfornutella Sun 31-Mar-19 00:01:23

* Bring very shy and quiet is a problem and it's the schools duty to try and bring her more out of herself.
I don't understand why you all can't grasp this.*

In my experience if you analyzed what extroverted and introverted people said in class, the percentage of relevant, meaningful comments made by the introverts would be far higher than the extroverts. Ideally teachers would assess on the quality of contribution rather than quantity.

Shyness is a problem if the pupil can't/doesn't ask for help but in my experience there's a lot of extroverts who could learn from the introverts and listen more than they speak.

WhenISnappedAndFarted Sun 31-Mar-19 00:08:17

This was me as well, all the way throughout school.

All I and my parents heart was 'I wish WhenISnappedAndFarted would put her hand up and answer questions more, we know she knows them.' or 'I wish she'd contribute to talking more in class' or 'shes a very hard worker, she just needs to speak more'.

I didn't need to speak more. I just wanted to get on with it and to be left alone. I'm an introverted person and I hate that a lot of people try and get shy or introverted people to talk more.

RedHelenB Sun 31-Mar-19 06:10:20

Be honest, being shy is a hindrance in life. The teacher is only trying to help.

StitchingMoss Sun 31-Mar-19 06:52:40

I was brought up by a painfully shy mum and have a painfully shy sister - I’ve seen the negative impact it’s had on both their lives. Consequently I made it my mission to ensure neither of my DC were “shy”.

I’m also a teacher and do my best to encourage the shy/less confident children to participate as much as possible.

It worries me when parents tell others that their child is “shy” in front of the child as it encourages them not to speak. I think this is a shame.

Incidentally shy and introverted are not the same thing - Dc1 is an introvert like my dh, so perfectly happy to participate and not shy but needs lots of time alone to recharge his batteries.

MeYouWye Sun 31-Mar-19 07:29:38

Every one of my parents evenings they told my parents that I was quiet and detached. I was noisy at home so they never took it seriously.

I've worked in education since and quite happy with life, and can be chatty when the need arises. Teachers are looking after 30 children in their class, that is quite the challenge. The children that will get most noticed are the ones that stand out in some way. The rest are kind of along for the ride (there are exceptions obviously but the nature of my job had me in many different teaching environments so I can say this with certainty). Therefore if your child is quiet they will need to be self motivated to be successful. I don't think shyness is a bad thing but as I see the same attributes in my child, I'm home educating them.

Guylian2019 Sun 31-Mar-19 07:56:51

I'm a primary teacher.

First of all its much easier to assess children who are able to discuss their learning. Lots of assessment information comes from watching and listening to the children rather than from their books.

Second of all it's not that rare to have introvert teachers but many get more confident as time goes on. I've worked in a few schools as I've been teaching a long time. I'd say it's around a 60:40 ratio of naturally extrovert/naturally introvert. However many of the introvert teachers mask and appear extrovert until you know them well enough to spot it. I'm actually one of them! I'm definitely naturally introverted but would prefer my kids to learn extrovert ways as I think it's easier for them long term. It's an easier life. I wouldn't force an uncomfortable child to speak aloud but I would encourage. These skills are important for gaining jobs when older, making new friends etc and it opens up a whole new world of jobs which may remain unlikely for an introvert.

Oblomov19 Sun 31-Mar-19 08:36:33

Maybe I didn't phrase my OP very well, but my point remains the same.

One later poster says 'it's normal to be shy'. Actually I disagree. Normal? The norm?

No, I don't think it is. Many many people are. But surely we are all supposed to be aiming be balanced? Surely the aim is balance:

Not particularly extrovert, but not shy either, not introvert, and if the child is painfully shy or particularly shy it really is in the child's best interests to be less so. So parents, teachers everyone's job, is to encourage that adjustment. Gradually, gently, over time.

This thread actually shows quite a lot of resentment and negative thoughts towards naturally extrovert children:

Some posters wishing that they just shut up and listen and let the quieter children have a say/ get a word in edgeways!!

I'm clearly the minority here, because, you see, I find that very interesting ! hmm

Oblomov19 Sun 31-Mar-19 08:51:27

We all face challenges, we all need re-adjustment and trying to balance.

I have the opposite problem, with DS2, he was born confident. he is quite loud and he needs toning down. that's my challenge.
I'm just striving for balance.

Whatsername7 Sun 31-Mar-19 08:59:42

Im a teacher. Shyness and lack of confidence can be heartbreaking to watch. When you see that light in a childs eye having asked a question, and you know they have an answer or idea but cant find the confidence to say it. You dont pick on them to answer, you worry that will make it worse by putting them on the spot, so someone else shares an idea and you see their shoulders slump a little, defeated. In group work, they get walked over by the more confident kid, despite having ideas or they have a piece of work that would be perfect for the 'star' assembly but you are worried that if you put them forward they will be mortified. When you talk 1:1 all you get back is a nod, smile and wide 'deer in headlights' eyes and you worry you are making things worse when you are trying to help. If the child were to start to believe in themselves, put their hand up occasionally, you could praise them and show them that there is nothing to fear, but you need them to take that first step. So, you tell the parent at parents evening - your child is wonderful and perfect, but so shy she barely speaks. You are hoping for 2 things. 1. The parent will say 'at home she is so loud! She loves school etc' so you can feel reassured that child is happy. 2. That parent will support the child in comimg out of their shell too.

Lougle Sun 31-Mar-19 09:05:25

I think there is a difference between 'quiet' and introverted in the sense of 'being a thinker rather than a speaker', and 'shy' in the sense of 'finds it difficult to interact with other people' and 'won't ask for help because it requires speaking'.

Many of you are describing quiet, thoughtful children, who can speak up, but generally choose not to. They aren't shy. They are just more towards the introvert end of the scale.

A shy child can have problems. My DD2 is shy. She won't speak in class unless spoken to. She won't offer answers to questions unless the teacher specifically addresses her. She won't ask for help, even when she's completely stuck. She won't answer her mobile phone unless I say "DD2 answer your phone."

DD2 now has an ASD diagnosis.

Acis Sun 31-Mar-19 09:18:09

I used to get this virtually every parents' evening with DD, to the extent that I almost wanted to go in with a sign saying "Yes, we know she's quiet, live with it and tell us something we actually need to know". When she got to Sixth Form College, I wanted to kiss the teacher who said "She's quiet, and that's absolutely fine, because when she says something it's worth listening to." She went on to a career which requires her to speak to groups of people regularly and, though she found it difficult at first, she coped fine and has done very well.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-19 09:20:56

Shy DS is now at University and although he's never going to be a loud extrovert is doing just fine. He's come a long way since First School, but he still remembers the teachers for all the wrong reasons.

LunafortJest Sun 31-Mar-19 09:21:31

"It's not good to be dominated by other people. Most if not all quiet people don't stand up for themselves as well as they should."

That seems like victim-blaming, to me. What about if the dominant noisy and aggressive people didn't act in a way that meant quieter people need to defend themselves? How about that?

"Plus it means the class is missing out on her contribution & she is missing out from finding out the she can have great stuff to contribute."
If the answer to a question is a simple basic fact ie what does 2 + 2 = ? Then how are the class missing out on anything? And why assume she doesn't know or have the confidence to contribute? Maybe she knows others will answer. Maybe she doesn't have anything extra to contribute, so would just be adding to the noise. Maybe she is a listener, not a speaker. Just because someone doesn't put their hand up in class (I never really saw the point, tbh. The teacher is there to teach us, anyway.) doesn't mean they don't realise they have the ability to contribute. Perhaps they consider it a waste of time and wish the teacher would just get on with teaching instead of wasting time getting kids to yell out things.

LunafortJest Sun 31-Mar-19 09:23:53

@Oblomov19 No, it is not a problem. Not at all. I don't understand why you can't see this. That your attitude is the problem.

RuthW Sun 31-Mar-19 09:24:03

Just ignore it. I had the same at every parents evening right up to yr 11. She now has a masters degree in maths snd from September will be teaching maths in a secondary school.

See does presentation to 100s of people and doesn't bat an eyelid.

Think she's done ok!

PickleFish Sun 31-Mar-19 09:30:13

Being shy might cause lots of problems in later life (as I have found out to my cost) but telling parents they child is quiet, or trying to change the child by making them uncomfortable and forcing them to speak up or do presentations or whatever isn't helping them become less shy, it's just reinforcing that there's a problem with the way they are.

If teachers actually had a way of helping, taking the child from where they were and encouraging baby steps, finding out what was making things so hard for the child, teaching strategies to manage anxiety, etc, that would be different - but most of them don't. It's just telling the child to 'put their hand up'; 'be more confident'; 'talk more'; 'do this presentation/play/activity that means speaking' etc, none of which solve the root of the problem. Shyness can be at a level that is out of the teacher's remit, and constant commenting on it, pushing the child into situations etc, can make life a nightmare for shy children.

LunafortJest Sun 31-Mar-19 09:43:14

Yet people, including teachers, are hostile to shy and introverted people and you don't see that hostility as a problem? Only the hostility shown to those who are usually hostile first?

LunafortJest Sun 31-Mar-19 09:45:23

@Guylian2019 It might be 'easier' but it is a lazy and outdated method. A kid shouting out something proves absolutely nothing. That is what grading worksheets is for. That is what assessment of submitted work is for. There really is no need for any child to speak in class.

nutsfornutella Sun 31-Mar-19 09:49:32

* This thread actually shows quite a lot of resentment and negative thoughts towards naturally extrovert children:**

Extroversion/shyness is s spectrum. If too shy is a negative thing so is the opposite. As it's a spectrum by definition there will be children on both ends of that spectrum which is what the person who said it's normal probably meant. In my experience the education system is biased towards the extrovert. Teachers almost expect low level disruption from the extrovert and the system does not recognize that the shy may learn to become more confident if the people on the other end of the spectrum were also being nudged towards the middle through working on being quieter.

Adversecamber22 Sun 31-Mar-19 10:06:38

Extreme ends of introvert and extrovert behaviour will both bring their own problems.

I think what is getting mixed up here is shyness which is something totally different. I suppose teachers are concerned dc may be shy. Being shy does negatively affect people’s lives. MN has had many a thread over the years with people worried about being shy and lacking confidence who will not push forward and speak out due to shyness. That trait often negatively affects their lives.

LunafortJest Sun 31-Mar-19 10:10:20

Introverted and shy basically mean the same things. Shy can include lacking confidence and being insecure, but not always. All introverted are shy people.

isabellerossignol Sun 31-Mar-19 10:11:53

This is my daughter too, she's in her first year of secondary school. She came top of her class in most subjects in her first set of exams, with the notable exception of drama where she was bottom of the class by quite some distance, because she speaks so quietly and struggles to speak in front of people.

I don't think she needs 'cured' of her quiet nature but there is the potential for it to hold her back because Eg if she doesn't understand something she simply wouldn't ask a teacher to explain or repeat it because she hates to speak. I do worry that she is at the very extreme end of quietness.

BlingLoving Sun 31-Mar-19 10:19:32

There is a difference between being shy and being introvert. Shyness is a problem as shy people.find it difficult to speak up, advocate for themselves, let their needs be known etc. Introverts are people who do not feel invigorated and excited by large groups.

Being an introvert, confident and happy but preferring significant alone time or smaller groups is fine.

Being shy is something the school will want the child to work on

BlingLoving Sun 31-Mar-19 10:20:27

@Luna no that's not true. In fact, the trickiest combination is a shy extrovert.

Guylian2019 Sun 31-Mar-19 10:20:58

''Guylian2019It might be 'easier' but it is a lazy and outdated method. A kid shouting out something proves absolutely nothing. That is what grading worksheets is for. That is what assessment of submitted work is for. There really is no need for any child to speak in class.''

I think you might be the outdated one! I didn't mention shouting out. How sad that you think there's no need for a child to talk in class. If you think you can gain all assessments from worksheets then you are mistaken. You can't always see if the wrong answers are showing deep misconceptions, simple errors or simply a lack of checking. You may not know if they've copied or if they've used something on the wall to help them. Talking to the child gives you a MASSIVELY better insight into how secure they are with a concept.

LunafortJest Sun 31-Mar-19 10:30:55

Guylian2019 There have been others on this thread who pointed out how lazy and outdated the method is, so it's interesting you pounce on me. You seem very defensive for someone so sure of your methods. Perhaps because you know we're right.

You can assess a child with worksheets. How sad that you think a child needs to speak in class in order for you to assess them. Very lazy thinking. A teacher can speak to a child one on one. They don't need to speak in front of the entire class, surely, just for you to assess them. And if you think students cheating is a reason not to do exams, I gather you won't be preparing your students for exams in high school. And smh reading your response.

cocomelon23 Sun 31-Mar-19 10:31:07

This was me at school. My mum always got told I was too quiet and shy. I'm still the same now at work as an adult and tbh it's a pain in the bum. I have ideas and things to say but just can't. Social situations are a nightmare. I wish someone had been able to work in my shyness as a child (if that's even possible).
My ds is the complete opposite. Absolutely full of confidence, speaks up when needed etc. I'm so relieved he didn't take after me.

Processedpea Sun 31-Mar-19 10:35:00

I was shy too it was awful I now gave ways to deal with it or just grew out of it but it did stop me doing so much I feel I missed out on do much I think schools can access lots of advice to give kids more strategies to be more confident

Processedpea Sun 31-Mar-19 10:36:23

Coco fake it til you make it smile I find I have to really remind myself to be confident as it just doesn't come naturally

Lweji Sun 31-Mar-19 10:43:41

All introverted are shy people.

As others said, not true.

There is also a difference between being shy and being quiet.
If she is able to answer questions when asked, and if she's able to deal with people when she needs to, then I wouldn't worry too much.
In fact, I don't, because that's how DS has always been. And me.
The quiet ones tend to think before they speak, whereas many outspoken people tend to speak before they think and are more often than not very unreasonable.

flumposie Sun 31-Mar-19 10:44:23

English Secondary school teacher . We introduce assessed speaking activities from Year 7 simply because as part of the GCSE course pupils have to be recorded by video completing spoken assessments These are then sent to the exam board . This is why I try to engage pupils in discussion.

geekaMaxima Sun 31-Mar-19 11:06:46

Introverted and shy basically mean the same things. Shy can include lacking confidence and being insecure, but not always. All introverted are shy people.

This is completely wrong.

Being shy means being nervous or lacking confidence around other people, particularly people you don't know very well. Shy people are often anxious in social situations that require them to interact to more than they're comfortable with doing. Shyness can stop you asking for help even when you need it, so shyness can make some children struggle in school because they don't get the support they need (in a "don't ask, don't get" system).

Being introvert means being more focused on your own mental states than on interaction with other people. Introverts tend to prefer thoughtful or reflective behaviour, and often find noisy crowds tiresome, but aren't nervous or lacking confidence around other people and don't get anxious in social situations. Introversion can make you inattentive if you're inclined to daydream when bored, so introversion can make some children miss parts of lessons in school because (for instance, if the class is moving too slowly for them) they're busy thinking about something else.

I'm an introvert but it wasn't a problem in school because I'm not from the UK and quiet studiousness was perfectly acceptable. I work in STEM where a reflective, thoughtful mode of being is a huge bonus when it comes to analysing data and writing papers. And I'm perfectly confident around other people and regularly lecture to hundreds of students without a moment's anxiety.

Introvert ≠ shy.

Guylian2019 Sun 31-Mar-19 11:36:11

Luna - I think we'll have to agree to disagree. I've been teaching a long time and my methods certainly work for my children and for me. However, I can see the other point of view and I would never push a child if they were uncomfortable. I do believe in encouraging confidence to speak up however.

Itssosunny Sun 31-Mar-19 12:02:02

OP, happy Mother's Dayflowers

Your mother on the other hand doesn't deserve a message from you today. Stay strong.

nutsfornutella Sun 31-Mar-19 12:28:41

I've personally had the feedback at Parents Evening that my quiet ds gives excellent answers verbally but isn't good at expressing them on paper. It's very unimaginative of the teachers on here who think that hands up is the only way to assess. Some children will produce excellent work away from the distractions in the typical classroom and not necessarily cheat by copying or get parental help. I think that some teachers underestimate the effect on the classroom environment has on quieter people. In my experience, teachers often overlook the extroverts who aren't really confident and use loudness to disguise their insecurities too but the parents aren't given that feedback or help from schools as there is a mistaken belief that quiet = unhappy and loud= happy.

Firef1y72 Sun 31-Mar-19 12:44:50

I wish someone had been concerned about my "shyness" at school, could have meant I'd have got help and had my autism recognised a a little earlier. Of course autism wasn't really recognised in girls back then, but I would hope that the warning signs, which includes that shyness, dislike of large ,groups, difficulty with making friends (beyond a core group) would be noticed and acted on today.

(I am regarded highly intelligent, have high IQ, plenty of qualifications, but was unable to walk in to a classroom even one minute late (so wouldn't go and then I may as well not go to the rest of that day at school at all), would have a panic attack if asked to speak in front of the class, had very few friends (like maybe 1), didn't cope well with any attention on me, painfully shy, etc, etc, etc. Finally got my ASD dx 2 years ago.

FloatingthroughSpace Sun 31-Mar-19 12:59:18

Your DD sounds like she may have low profile selective Mutism?

This is different from the communication difficulties caused only by autism. These are caused by social communication difficulties (don't know what they should say) or social interaction difficulties (not motivated to interact on this topic).

Low profile Selective Mutism is not uncommon as a comorbid condition with autism. It is different in that children have something to contribute, know what is expected of them in answering, but cannot bring themselves to do so (anxiety based).

Itssosunny Sun 31-Mar-19 14:17:41

How did I manage to post in the wrong thread?

Lougle Sun 31-Mar-19 16:54:04

Thanks floating. That's really helpful.

BottleOfJameson Sun 31-Mar-19 17:29:32

Obviously you can assess a child without them speaking in class but the fact of the matter is (I say this as a shy introvert) is a skill that almost everyone needs. Having the confidence to put forward d your point of view in front of people is vital.

Being quiet socially and more interested in small groups is fine and not something to try and chabge but speaking up in class is an important part of education.

StitchingMoss Sun 31-Mar-19 17:54:59

@nutsfornutella, which teachers have said hands up is the only way to assess? This is rarely used nowadays IME.

Quiet doesn’t = unhappy but as another poster said, being able to speak to for yourself, present to an audience, share your views in a group, etc is an incredibly important life skill so we do what we can to nurture it. Equally, the “loud” kids need to be helped to listen to others point of view, not always dominate discussions etc. My DS has been constantly pulled up for shouting out, dominating discussions etc and his listening skills have been something myself and his teachers have worked on over the years. He’s finally beginning to understand that his enthusiasm can come across as arrogance and he needs to learn to share the limelight. It cuts both ways.

StitchingMoss Sun 31-Mar-19 17:55:20

Up for yourself

littlesunshining Mon 01-Apr-19 07:32:37

Thanks for the replies, it would be great if DD could gain more confidence but I'm just not sure if making her speak more is the answer. She has gotten a lot better, when she first started school she would cry every morning simply because she didn't want to go somewhere without me and she often didn't ask for help when she needed it. As time went on she just became more comfortable, made a few friends and settled in. She's quite talkative at home, not as loud as my other DC but she's certainly more confident there. I was quite a shy child but I seemed to just grow out of it, being made to speak more only made me anxious and I don't think it helped much in the long run but I know that might not be the case for DD

GreenTuftyFlowers Sat 25-May-19 16:25:54

Im a teacher. Shyness and lack of confidence can be heartbreaking to watch. When you see that light in a childs eye having asked a question, and you know they have an answer or idea but cant find the confidence to say it. You dont pick on them to answer, you worry that will make it worse by putting them on the spot, so someone else shares an idea and you see their shoulders slump a little, defeated. In group work, they get walked over by the more confident kid, despite having ideas or they have a piece of work that would be perfect for the 'star' assembly but you are worried that if you put them forward they will be mortified. When you talk 1:1 all you get back is a nod, smile and wide 'deer in headlights' eyes and you worry you are making things worse when you are trying to help. If the child were to start to believe in themselves, put their hand up occasionally, you could praise them and show them that there is nothing to fear, but you need them to take that first step. So, you tell the parent at parents evening - your child is wonderful and perfect, but so shy she barely speaks. You are hoping for 2 things. 1. The parent will say 'at home she is so loud! She loves school etc' so you can feel reassured that child is happy. 2. That parent will support the child in comimg out of their shell too.

What a lovely post, you sound very perceptive and caring. smile You're exactly describing Selective Mutism there and there are specific strategies you can use to help if you haven't yet found them? Have a look at the link posted by FloatingThroughSpace, there are also a lot of teacher resources on the SMIRA website info pages

herculepoirot2 Sat 25-May-19 16:30:31

Not sure teachers can win this one. If they let shy children remain that way, they will criticised for failing to build confidence. If they intervene, they are charged with judging the child for their shyness. Lose lose.

GreenTuftyFlowers Sat 25-May-19 16:37:28

OP - have a look at selective mutism (low profile) info if you think it might fit? What you said about being forced to speak being unhelpful is very true of selective mutism and it's important your DD's teachers understand this.

This is a very good info sheet:

GreenTuftyFlowers Sat 25-May-19 16:51:05

I suppose teachers need to be able to have an idea of WHY the child is being quiet which is why awareness of often completely different causes (selective mutism, autism, shyness, introversion, disengagement, bullying, abuse etc) is important.

The problem is when an erroneous conclusion is reached - eg a selectively mute child is deliberately not speaking to be difficult, and the problem is made worse by making a big deal of it and threatening punishment.

With regard to selective mutism, intervention strategies are absolutely not about judging. It's all about removing pressure to speak rather than punishing / bribing, which isn't really going to harm any quiet child.

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