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Quiet children

(30 Posts)
nikos Mon 17-Oct-11 18:23:56

Just been for dd parents evening and been told yet again how quiet she is. They assume she is shy and lacking in confidence but she just so isn't and will happily throw herself into new situations. She just doesn't like speaking in front of a group. She is in year 5, doing brilliantly academically, but we can tell they are concerned that this will become an increasing problem as she moves up the school (she is in a middle school). There only strategy seemed to be picking on her to speak in class
We have made an appointment to see the head. But in the meantime, are there any teachers/parents who have been in this situation and found strategies that work?

dikkertjedap Mon 17-Oct-11 18:33:40

Would she enjoy something like Stagecoach? It seems to work for some children. I don't think there is anything wrong with quiet children, but in large classes they are unfortunately often overlooked. That clearly is a big problem as it does not help them to overcome their fears. So I would look into some form of after school activity (theatre or otherwise) to overcome her fears if I were you.

thisisyesterday Mon 17-Oct-11 18:34:29

i would ask her why they thinik that matters.

is she capable of doing the work? is she doing well at school?

if so then she should be "allowed" to be quiet. not everyone is bolshy and in your face are they?

really annoys me this. they used to say the same about me at school too

thisisyesterday Mon 17-Oct-11 18:34:58

i would also wager that picking on her to speak in class is merely going to make her MORE nervous about doing it and thus counter-productive

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Mon 17-Oct-11 18:56:09

No experience as a parent, as my dd is not a quiet type at all, but I was looking back over my old school reports recently and nearly all of them commented on how quiet I was. I don't think I was shy - just didn't feel the need to shout my opinions out from the rooftops! I don't think I ever got past those comments at school but they didn't hold me back at all - I now work in a senior management role in which I am regularly required to speak in front of large groups of people, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest! So see the head by all means, but try not to worry too much! smile

nikos Mon 17-Oct-11 18:57:36

I totally agree that picking on her to speak is the wrong strategy which is why we have made an appointment to see head. We were actually quite concerned about the class teacher and her attitude - she was talking about how people need to be able to speak in jobs etc and this could hold her back!! Outside of school she is very sociable and will speak confidently (although quietly) to adults. It is mainly not putting her hand up for whole class discussions.

bigTillyMint Mon 17-Oct-11 19:00:49

Has she said why she doesn't like to speak in class? Why does she choose not to?

thisisyesterday Mon 17-Oct-11 19:07:17

yeah, i was like wood. i just didn't feel the need to always be one of the ones with my hand up saying the answers.
I knew I knew it, they knew I knew it.... I really fail to see how that is a problem.

and like wood, it has not held me back at all outside of school. when i NEED to speak to people I can and will.

Miggsie Mon 17-Oct-11 19:12:12

I never spoke up in class, my mother used to say my reports saying "too quiet" were wrong!
I didn't speak up because I felt no need to share my thoughts with others and I didn't need the validation of the teacher in any way. Often, even in adult life I don't join in discussions as I consider what they are saying is boring but can't be bothered to get into a debate.
Does the teacher really want 30 children talking continuously?

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Mon 17-Oct-11 19:13:32

thisisyesterday - are you me? shock

That's exactly how I used to feel! I knew the answers, and they knew I knew them, so why the need to make a big song and dance of it!!

OP, talk to your dd and try to find out if she thinks there is a problem. If she is happy that she can say what she wants when she needs to say it, then I don't see a problem. grin

nikos Mon 17-Oct-11 19:18:04

I so agree with all of you that say what is the problem. She doesn't see herself as quiet which I suppose is her way of saying she speaks when she wants to. But the school are presenting it as one.
Any teachers around to give perspective on this?

PointyBlackHat Mon 17-Oct-11 19:26:50

I was told last year that my DD was quiet in English class, but teacher emphasised that it was not a problem - just that she would like to hear more of DD's ideas as her writing was interesting and creative.

As long as your DD does her work well, is achieving and has a nice selection of friends, what's the problem? Especially since she is not particularly shy outside school? Children develop at different rates, I didn't come out of my shell until I was about 16 and then there was no stopping me.

Sounds like the school is making a big deal out of nothing, you are right to talk to the Head about their approach - it will only make things worse.

LauraSmurf Mon 17-Oct-11 19:32:33

A truly wonderful mentor I had when I was a younger teacher taught me the 'lighthouse child' technique for quiet children. Each class generally has about 6 quiet children who are either shy or just a little more conservative. So in each half term pick one child and make them your lighthouse child for half a term.

It simply means that as a teacher you make a greater effort to notice, talk to and give jobs, praise to a quieter child. With the best will in the world teachers can sometimes be distracted by the biggest noisiest ones. This gives a focus on those who may slip through the cracks. So yes they are called on more, but that is only one of the many things they are spotted for . It is intended as a self esteem and clas profile boost. I have found it so useful over the years and it rarely fails on ks2 children. Hope this helps!

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Mon 17-Oct-11 19:32:52

OP, if she speaks when she wants to speak, I really wouldn't worry too much - I get why the teachers may think that her reticence will translate to other contexts, but that isn't necessarily the case. I remained quiet all through secondary school but apparently shone at university interviews etc. I guess I just liked to save my words for the times that really counted! grin

You mentioned that she is very bright, and i wonder if this might be a factor - nobody wants to be perceived as a know-it-all!

LauraSmurf Mon 17-Oct-11 19:33:03

Stupid iPhone typos. Sorry!!

efeslight Mon 17-Oct-11 19:35:24

hello nikos, a teacher here, though most teaching at ages 4-8, i am surprised this was raised to you as an issue, i think it depends on just how quiet she is - does she put her hand up to volunteer answers in whole class situations? in smaller groups? in pairs? in assembly?
will she answer a question when asked directly in larger groups? just a 1 word answer or will she expand her ideas if given the opportunity? does she listen to others speak and then offer her own opinion in discussion?
she sounds like a child i would describe in a report as 'quietly confident', which isn't a bad thing in my view. hope the teacher doesn't make too much of an issue of it, agree with others that if she is happy and so are you, then trying to 'fix' the 'problem' could make her self conscious.

BabyGiraffes Mon 17-Oct-11 20:07:57

Oh the poor girl, leave her alone sad. She is obviously bright and doing well and can and will talk, quietly, when she needs to smile. Like some of the other posters I really can't see the problem at all, especially at this age. I was also the quiet child and even when my confidence soared at about 17, I was still quiet in class. Remember to this day [old emoticon] grin that I got the top mark in a subject and one of my classmates bitterly complained because she'd had something to say ALL the time and I had rarely spoken. Brilliant teacher just said in front of everyone that yes, but when BabyGiraffes speaks it is a well thought out and relevant comment [unlike envious class mate who would talk drivel for the pleasure of hearing her own voice]. Hah. Shouldn't be gloating but the fact I remember this incident just shows that there are teachers who understand!
[steps off soap box]
By all means chat to the head teacher but I'd be more worried about the teacher's attitude than your dd's quietness.

mrsshears Mon 17-Oct-11 20:20:49

This kind of thing drives me mad angry
my dd is the same and what miggsie has posted is my dd.
Being an introvert is a personality trait and not something that needs to be cured.

nikos Mon 17-Oct-11 22:12:25

Thank u for all the replies. We were actually quite angry when we came out because of this teachers attitude and lack of solutions or strategies to deal with it if she thinks it is a problem. Her only strategy was to decide to ask her to speak. They say she is fine in small group discussions with people she knows. Something telling she said was that it was harder to know if she was understanding lessons because she was quieter - maybe this is more to do with the teacher?
I so agree with this being a personality trait and what do they expect us to do? If a child was badly behaved or persistently too loud or, say poor at reading, then they would come up with a strategy to help.

I should also point out that she is an absolute sweety. Very kind and well behaved.

thisisyesterday Mon 17-Oct-11 22:23:18

but she must be able to tell if she is understanding the lessons from the work she is doing, esp her homework?

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Mon 17-Oct-11 22:35:07

She sounds lovely, OP. Just enjoy her for who she is. She will use her voice when she is good & ready. smile

nikos Tue 18-Oct-11 08:00:38

Just bumping in case there are any more experiences of this

Caz10 Tue 18-Oct-11 08:10:24

I am a teacher, and while I agree with all the positive comments above, I just wanted to add that increasingly assessment of pupils is not carried out via written work - informal assessment has always been like this but increasinglywe are pushed to assess in other ways - if a pupil is very quiet in class it does give you less to go on, and there may be no written work to go with a Particular topic or lesson.

nikos Tue 18-Oct-11 08:43:52

That's useful caz thank u. It might be worth mentioning when I see the head, if this is causing problems with assessment.

thisisyesterday Tue 18-Oct-11 09:22:45

perhaps, if it is a case of needing to assess her then the teacher could just make sure she goes round and speaks to any of the quieter children one to one, or as part of small groups, just to check their understanding of the subject?

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