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Classroom Rights for Introverts

(4 Posts)
OutwiththeOutCrowd Sat 18-Jan-14 18:23:09

Last year, in Y6, DS's banter-loving teacher bought into the playground pecking order, giving more time and attention to the talkative, dominant members of the class. The result was that she ended up presiding over a loudmouth-led class.

DS, who is quiet and polite, felt marginalised. He had already been bullied and excluded in the playground and his teacher's conduct seemed to exacerbate the problem, bringing it into the classroom too.

In the end, I removed DS from the school prematurely. He had been requesting to leave for a long time, although he loved learning. Another girl, who was on the kinder and more polite end of the spectrum, also left early, citing bullying as the reason.

Aside from that, it seemed that most of the students were happy in the classroom and at least appeared to enjoy, or be immune to, the joshing and jeering.

So, I am just wondering what you think quieter students can reasonably expect of their learning environment if the majority - including the teacher - are comfortable with, or even relish, one-upmanship and mickey taking?

AndHarry Sat 18-Jan-14 20:46:12

I'm an introvert myself and I think it's more a case of learning to cope in a world of extroverts. IME our society is set up for extroverts and it can be very tough going on anyone not confident enough to at least fake it. For example, I hate teamwork but every employer expects me to be good at it, it's on my CV and I have to demonstrate that I apply that skill during my annual appraisals.

AndHarry Sat 18-Jan-14 20:54:12

That didn't really answer your question blush I believe that every child should be taught in a supportive learning environment, where the teacher appreciates different personality types and encourages each child's confidence in their self-worth. I also believe that the classroom is a place for personal as well as academic learning and that involves teaching introverted children coping strategies for life in a society that is skewed towards the extrovert. Many situations in life will require an introvert to speak up, push themselves forward and stand up for themselves in order to access the opportunities to fulfil their interests and reach their potential.

In my own experience, I've found outside hobbies and clubs really helpful in developing confidence. It might be worth exploring this further for your son.

OutwiththeOutCrowd Sun 19-Jan-14 10:58:05

AndHarry, thanks for your input - you make some good points. I would like my DS to push through the difficulties like you do and try not to let being quieter interfere with fulfilling his potential.

I agree that we live in an extrovert-o-centric society and, to an extent, introverts have to fit in with this.

As for the situation in schools, I would like to see teachers in the early foundation years being more proactive in trying to integrate less socially adept children who have been rejected by their peers, whether by helping the isolated children with their social skills or cultivating a more inclusive attitude in the rest.

A good party host will try to make all the guests feel included and I think good teachers should be able to do likewise with their pupils.

I am trying to encourage DS to persevere with clubs at his new secondary school but the constant rejection at primary school has left him cautious about trying to join in. Having said that, the children at the school have actually been a lot friendlier in general than he is used to - so it might just be that he needs a little time to adapt to this new reality.

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