Supporting and encouraging shy students within the classroom can sometimes be one of the most important things that the teacher should focus on. But first, you should think about it, some students are naturally introvert and quiet. They like to be silent. So, your mission is not to turn them into extroverted students, but your aim is to increase their self-confidence and improve their speaking skills. It may take some time, but you can have positive results in the end. Just be patient an persist.
Don’t make special exceptions for “shy” students in the class as this will bring attention to them and create more anxiety for them. Here are ten suggestions you can try to encourage and support shy students in your class
1. Build a relationship with them:
Find out their likes and dislikes and then make their interests as triggers for them to speak and answer questions. Explain to them that there is no right or wrong answer to a certain question, so they should try to speak to untie their tongue and improve their speaking skill. There is no need to be shy or afraid to participate in the discussion.
2. Motivate them:
Any kind of participation from them in speaking tasks even it is just repetition must be encouraged and praised from you.
3. Create comfortable and supportive learning environment:
All students including shy ones will not speak and participate in class tasks unless they feel comfortable and not threatened.
4. Use collaborative learning:
Using pair and group work can encourage students to take small steps in speaking. When the shy student becomes a member of a group, he/she feels less threatened and less anxious. In groups, students exchange opinions freely without fear because they are not exposed directly to the whole class-environment which can lead to silence and reluctance to participate.
5. Use role-playing:
Use social interactions, situations or stories that may occur in real life and encourage shy students to participate in role-playing them. Introduce how to play each role and teach the class some social openers for greeting others.
6. Involve parents and past teachers:
talk with them about what works and didn’t work with shy students. Ask parents about how their children feel at home and how they support and encourage them to speak up more.
7. Provide confidence:
All the time tell students that it doesn’t matter if they make mistakes while speaking as it’s normal to happen. The only most important thing is to talk in public in front of the whole class. Add, be confident and try again and again, and you will not feel embarrassed for sure.
8. Let them do easy tasks:
Ask them to repeat after you or after a brilliant student. Tailor as easy tasks as possible to them to give them the push they need.
Always observe their behavior and take notes of their reactions for situations particularly uncomfortable ones to change the setting for their favor.
Do you have any more suggestions? Let us know by leaving a comment.