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How to encourage my child to ask for help more in class?

(5 Posts)
Fiona2011231 Mon 17-Nov-14 12:15:11

Could you pls advise?

I talked with the teacher of my son, who is in Year 1. One of the things she mentioned is that my child, a quiet pupil, rarely asks for the teacher's help in class.

When given something to do, he would actively try his best to do it. That's why he gets top mark for his effort. However, if he is stuck at something, he would be quiet. He would wait until the teacher is free before asking for help.

The teacher explains that in a 30-pupil class, it would be good for the child to actively ask for help rather than passively waiting.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my child is a quiet pupil in class.

Is there any tip to encourage him to ask for him when needed?

Thank you

PastSellByDate Tue 18-Nov-14 13:03:41


I'm just a Mum so I'm not sure how much help I can offer but two things occur to me:

you could talk to the teacher and encourage her to reward your DS for asking questions in class (sticker/ merit point/ etc...). This might gradually entice him into regularly asking questions in class.

Our Dds have at times used a stop light system. Children are given green/ amber/ red cards and at the end of the 'explanation bit' they're asked to show the card that they feel: green (I understand)/ amber (I'm not sure I understand)/ red (I don't understand). Based on those cards, the teacher can go round to individuals or get groups (maybe all red cards) together and explain it again.

At home - really stress how learning isn't just reading/ writing - but also includes talking/discussing/ asking questions. It's part of the process.

Finally, I know my DD1 sometimes comes over all shy - and I've always encouraged her to ask after class/ school. Usually the teacher doesn't mind - and can help. Genuinely - it's the first time you ask that's the most nerve wracking - after that it's much easier.

If DDs come home and says I didn't understand x in maths/ English today - I try to explain myself or find a video clip that helps.

With Maths - Khan academy ( - then click subjects/ math (remember US grades are 1 less than UK years) - is free and has nice video clips explaining basic concepts.

If maths continues to be the issue and you don't feel confident about helping - many here on MN have found on-line tutorials really helpful: Komodo maths/ mathletics/ maths whizz/ mathsfactor/ etc...

I certainly highly recommend Woodland Junior School Maths Zone - which offers lots of links to great & safe video games where your child can practice skills and improve.


nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 18-Nov-14 14:49:33

I have heard of quiet children being given cards they could use to tell teachers they had a problem as well so that might be worth asking about but I suppose in the long run it would be best to try and increase his confidence that it is OK to ask questions or to not understand something.
I used to HATE asking, I still do. It always worried me what other people might think, everyone else is busy so therefore they must have understood it and it is only me who doesn't and therefore I must be stupid and the teacher will be cross with me so I really need to try and do it by myself etc etc etc.

The school should be able to do some confidence work with him and it is also a large part to do with how he feels the teacher might react when he does ask. perhaps he did ask once last year or something and got told to work it out himself or the teacher was busy and stressed at the time so he felt he wasn't then allowed to ask again and this has now continued. perhaps he doesn't want to disturb the teacher because she is always busy with someone else.

Fiona2011231 Wed 19-Nov-14 15:12:17

Thank you so much for your kind replies. I will try some of these tips.

Mcnorton Fri 21-Nov-14 10:26:27

hi Fiona
my son is in year 2 now, but was the same as yours in year 1 and reception. His teachers took care of it . They told me that once they realised he was shy of asking for help they just checked on him more. He is in a class of 30 too. Obviously it would be better if he had asked, but at 4 or 5 they're not always ready. That's not helpful to you, i realise.
one thing our school has that might help is a traffic light sign system. they ask if the class understands what they are doing completely (green), a bit (amber), or need help, and anyone holding up a red card gets attended to.
My son has grown out of it now he's a bit older, chances are yours will too.

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