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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

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.

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