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The child who is bright but too quiet

(31 Posts)
emkana Mon 11-Jul-11 21:30:29

what to do about it, other than tell dd, year 5, to speak more?

OhYouBadBadCrookshanks Mon 11-Jul-11 21:35:06

what makes you say that she is 'too quiet'?

dixiechick1975 Mon 11-Jul-11 21:35:52

What extra curricular activities does she do?

pointydog Mon 11-Jul-11 21:40:27

What does 'too quiet' actually mean and why is it a concern?

emkana Mon 11-Jul-11 21:45:51

Just that it was commented on four times in her report, and affected her grades - ie her understanding is excellent, but the teache feels she doesn't show it enough in group or whole class discussions. Dd says she feels shy and also doesn't want to stand out as the class swot.

She does guides, dancing and music groups (choir, violin) out of school.

Roo83 Mon 11-Jul-11 21:46:23

I used to be very quiet at school, I would answer if asked questions directly but hated putting my hand up because I didn't want to be teased or called a 'geek'. It didn't matter how many teachers told me to speak up more, I just couldn't. I wasn't low on confidence, and was fine from 6th form on when everyone there wants to work. Even went on to work in sales for a few years. A lot of waffle I know, but maybe let her come round in her own time?

MrsBloomingTroll Mon 11-Jul-11 22:16:09

FWIW, I was exactly like this all the way through school. Came up at every parent's evening until age 18. I was very, very shy. My parents didn't socialise a whole lot and I didn't have any pre-school education or many extra-curricular activities away from my family. I went to Brownies but my Mum helped out there so I had no chance to be "me"!

I still managed to land a place at university (Oxbridge) and there, in an education system that had smaller classes and 1:1 tutorials, my confidence grew and I went on to have a successful career pre-DCs.

I still don't like talking on the phone or making phone calls, but I am now reasonably confident. In this day and age, introverts like me can be successful in careers due to email and the internet, it doesn't have to all be about speaking up. As your DD progresses through school her written work will become more important and "speaking up" less-so.

That said, I do think that lack of confidence probably stopped me from taking all the opportunities open to me up to about age 20.

For my DCs, I am determined that they will be more confident, and I do think that confidence (not cockiness) is more important than intelligence with regard to conventional career-based "success". DH has confidence by the bucketload, but not as good an education as me, and through having confidence to take risks with his career and build networks has ended up earning way more than I ever did.

For our DCs, we're trying to ensure they get a variety of social interaction, not just with us, and will be encouraged to take up opportunities as they arise.

MajorBumsore Mon 11-Jul-11 22:19:23

I rather suspect that the teacher is under pressure from the head teacher to be giving your DD a target for the future (as I am!)
I wrote the same for a girl in my class. She is a very high achiever, lovely, helpful. Wonderful to teach in fact.
I spoke to her Dad the other day and said to him that I'm not going to mention it again. If she's quiet, she's quiet-so bloody what! (didn't use those words) Some kids are quieter-as long as there aren't any other issues underlying it, who the hell cares.

MorningPurples Mon 11-Jul-11 22:23:49

This could have been me, too.

Worst thing was people saying it was a problem, and making me feel ashamed of it. Best was people who just accepted that it was how I was, supported me if I wanted to change, but otherwise didn't seem to imply that it was somehow inferior to be like that.

I was also the class swot. Hated it. Did anything I could to cover it up. It's so obvious - even on here - how much people resent and want to take down a peg those children who are working ahead of the others. I learned very quickly not to show it at all, hide it as much as possible. Even if it affected my grades. Might have been tormented inside about that, but it was better than been noticed as being ahead. Combined with being terrifyingly shy, and also a huge perfectionist, made for big problems emotionally. Wished teachers would just see me for who I was, let me be quiet, let me hide what I could do if I needed to and instead deal with me privately, if I'd done well or whatever. Not calling attention to it.

It eventually got better when people stopped putting the pressure on me to be different. Supporting me by letting me be who I was, modelling what I needed to do and say, not minding whether I did it myself yet, letting me realise that others felt the same and as scared as I was, etc.

good luck. Please don't make her feel ashamed of who she is.

bubblesincoffee Mon 11-Jul-11 22:24:44

I think you just have to let her be her, and make sure she knows that you think she is perfect whether she is a loud attention seeker or as quiet as a mouse. If she is not scared of doing something wrong, she will be more likely to speak up when she has something to say.

dixiechick1975 Mon 11-Jul-11 22:36:02

Was going to suggest Guiding.

I was very much like your DD when younger. Would have hated being forced to eg drama classes.

Keep encouraging and give her time.

DontCallMeBaby Mon 11-Jul-11 22:45:51

Don't write off drama though - she might hate the very idea, but equally she could go for it. I was a very shy child, got all the 'must speak up in class' and DD is going the same way. We are both, however, complete hams if you put us on a stage.

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 08:47:16

It does get better later on for the quiet but bright child: the grades that actually matter are the GCSE and A-level grades and those are all either exams or coursework. Nobody is going to care about what a teacher said in a school report in Yr 5, nobody is even going to care about what level you were at in Yr 5.

I would relax a bit; stressing about it will only make her less confident. Let her go to drama or scouts if she wants to, but don't give her the impression that you are hauling her off to activities that will change her personality because she's not good enough as she is.

Teachermumof3 Tue 12-Jul-11 12:22:51

How is it affecting her grades? If she is bright, but quiet-the only area I can see where it would really affect your levels is in S+L. If she's listening, understands the work and produces accurate work which fulfills the learning objectives, there is no problem.

I really wouldn't worry unless it's affecting her maths/reading/writing levels and if it is, then there are issues other than her being quiet.

pointydog Tue 12-Jul-11 13:05:48

It shouldn't affect her grades at all unless she won't speak in an oral test but that is highly unlikely.

Some kids don't like to draw any attention to themselves in the classroom and some kids are very sensitive to teasing from classmates so they don't speak in front of the crowd. It is absolutely fine to stay quiet and you cannot make your dd speak more in class.

I agree that people with confidence and good social skills have a far higher chance of success in life but that's a different issue that can be tackled.

emkana Tue 12-Jul-11 22:32:19

It affects her grades because the report gives a grade for each subject which is supposedly just based on attainment but which really is a mixture of attainment and effort. So in reading for example dd didn't achieve the top grade because she doesn't contribute enough in guided reading sessions.

skybluepearl Tue 12-Jul-11 22:46:13

It may improved over time. Mine was just like that aged 5 but now aged 8 is much more confident. He is still a bit quiet during carpet time but teachers expect him to continue to blossom next year. He now knows his class mates so much better and is very settled within the school environment.

mintychocchip Tue 12-Jul-11 22:52:05

My eldest is like this - is also 10 yrs old and I am a bit fed up on his behalf that it keeps being mentioned in his school reports as though it is a problem.

A quiet child will not come out their shell by being told over and over again that they should speak out and not be so quiet. The teacher that helped DS1 most told him that he was more streetwise/worldly than many children his age because he had travelled so much and lived in 3 different countries and therefore he could have ideas that would be really helpful to class discussions. He warmed to this idea and did contribute more for her- she was also very gentle and would be positive about any contribution.

His next teacher was critical of him for being so quiet and then when he made a contribution, she apparently hmmmmed at his response and he took this to mean she didn't like what he said so he held back from then on.

I have changed my support over the last few years - I now don't mention it. As long as DS1 is enjoying his time at school, making good progress in his work and forming close friendships, I'm happy that he is happy with himself.

Focus on all the positives in theschool report - I'm sure there are loads and she needs a big positive well done for all those things.

JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 12-Jul-11 22:54:33

Don't push, it might make it worse...

cory Wed 13-Jul-11 08:28:53

make sure your dd knows that things will be different in secondary school: that there it's the work that she does that will count, not her personality

and that the grades she is getting now won't matter in the long run

redfoxy Wed 13-Jul-11 12:48:38

ugh, I hate reading about this... I was and still am painfully shy, public speaking mortifies me, some people are just introverts, some are extroverts. Doesn't mean that shy people can't achieve.
I would not tell her to speak more, I am sure she already knows that she doesn't speak as much as the others and by making an issue out of it, it will become more of an issue. Focus on the positives and try to work out what sparks her to become more vocal, perhaps in smaller groups she may open up more and come out of her comfort zone. The worst thing I can tell you from experience is to be put on the spot in a public situation or constantly reminded about it. Ironically my 6 yr old daughter is a complete extrovert, has more front than Harrods, and is constantly putting me in situations where I have to interact with people and speak up. shock

PercyPigPie Wed 13-Jul-11 13:26:52

What MorningPurples said. I think it is dangerous to label a child as being 'too' anything, to be honest.

Galena Wed 13-Jul-11 22:21:37

Often, with a bright child who has no glaring behavioural issues, a teacher will be scrabbling round for a target to give the child - something often expected by the head. I've been guilty of selecting this as a target, because I could honestly find no other area that I felt the child needed to work on. I now realise it probably isn't a terribly helpful comment to put, however, I still don't know what other target I would put for a child who is bright and an absolute pleasure to teach.

spiderpig8 Thu 14-Jul-11 16:17:31

It is often the very quiet children who really shine at drama.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Thu 14-Jul-11 16:38:18

MrsBloomingTroll - are you my twin???!!!!

Another bright but quiet one here - on every school report and only really broke out and livened up once away at university. I'm still no extrovert but no longer quite so painfully shy.

Life has come full circle with every one of both my dc's reports saying they are too quiet smile

Tbh, the very worst thing of all wasn't actually being shy and quiet, it was absolutely everyone else thinking it was a problem. My parents were constantly thinking up ways to make me 'mix more' (eg brownies and guides) but quite frankly all it did was make me worse and retreat further into my shell.

IMO, the best thing you can do is to reassure your daughter it's not a problem - please don't tell her to speak up more! And pelase don't find her lots of extracurricular stuff to 'cure' the problem because it won't.

I know that doesnt sound very helpful, but by trying to solve a problem you could make it bigger than it was before iykwim

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