What makes children shy in class?

Language is the ultimate tool for self-expression. What we can do to help kids overcome shyness in the classroom?

Young children are often shy around new people, and especially in unfamiliar situations. Therefore, it should stand to reason that children are not as shy in familiar places, like their classrooms. However, this rarely ever seems to be the case.

Why are children shy? And more importantly, what holds them back from engaging with the class?

How many kids don’t put their hands up in class?

At fREADom, we believe every child deserves to learn the skills to express themselves without fear. To get to the bottom of this question, we must first take a deeper look into what a child needs for an active mind and holistic growth.

Why are kids shy?

At first glace, ‘shyness’ doesn’t seem directly linked with the concept of children’s health. Usually whenever the topic of children’s health comes up, we automatically think of it in physical terms. Perhaps a few bruises while learning to cycle, or a scraped knee from playing hopscotch. What we tend to forget is that the mind needs to be cared for, just as much as the body. This is the real reason why many kids tend to be unhappy in school, and hence, shy. Mental health directly affects behaviour.

What we tend to forget is that the mind needs to be cared for, just as much as the body.

The structure of a traditional classroom creates inhibitions in children that are both external and self-imposed. As a result, children feel discouraged. They stop themselves from actively participating in class, rendering them passive spectators.

Thankfully, ‘Edtech‘ (Education Technology, or Digital Education) now offers some valuable ways to tackle this issue. With the power of technology, learning transforms into a joyful and rewarding experience for children. By breaking down the traditional barriers that inhibit them, we can nurture healthy, outspoken minds.

Why is the act of speaking so difficult for some kids?

1. Extreme Introversion

Some children have a naturally shy disposition that makes them nervous to be the center of attention. The feeling of having so many eyes on them makes them uncomfortable. They become sensitive to their own fumbles or mistakes, which morphs into an unhealthy level of self-consciousness. Classroom discussions end up being dominated by the most vocal kids, pushing the quiet ones to be even quieter. This eventually turns into a lifelong struggle with Public Speaking, a vital skill for most jobs they might go on to do.

At fREADom, we believe there is no such thing as a “stupid question” or “wrong answer”. There’s only curiosity, courage and an eagerness to learn. In order to coax children out of their shells, our classes are specifically designed to be inclusive. fREADom uses interactive games, which helps kids understand that their participation is not only welcome, but also necessary.

2. They feel confined to conform

The treatment of English in modern-day classrooms is a sad state of affairs. Children simply memorize big words and parrot concepts they don’t fully understand. Examinations reward memory skills instead of testing actual comprehension. The result of all this is that English classes have become dull and predictable for curious young minds. They already know what reply the teacher expects, so why bother framing their own?

To counter this, the holistic fREADOM approach understands the value of individuality. In a world where the hardest role to play is ourselves, we seek to bring out the truest, most vibrant version of every child. fREADom’s activities stimulate the imagination. Our pedagogy thrives on diverse opinions, with the goal to ensure your child’s voice is never lost in the crowd.

3. They are holding onto past experiences

Human beings might have an innate flair for language, but that doesn’t mean we always convey our feelings in the best manner. While most adults are able to work past these differences politely, miscommunication often leaves children hurt and hesitant to volunteer their thoughts again. Without the right guidance, past experiences can have a negative affect on how a child communicates.

Timon from the Lion King has some great advice!

fREADom is crafted to improve every aspect of learning a language. As such, the emphasis on listening as a skill is significant. Listening makes conflict-resolution easier, and combined with reading (which expands vocabulary), our students learn to articulate themselves better. The award-winning books on our reading syllabus promote quintessentially Indian values, fostering empathy and self-reflection, both of which are important to build good communication skills.

4. Stammers and Speech Impediments

When toddlers are just beginning to learn words, stutters and stammers are very common. While many children grow out of this habit, some find it harder to kick. Important to realize, is that the longer the habit persists, the more anxiety it creates. This anxiety carries over into school, where they remain afraid to speak up. This anxiety is rooted in the fear of being scolded by teachers, or ridiculed by classmates.

Studies have shown that kids with speech impediments need someone with an uncritical eye, patient ear and encouraging smile. At fREADom Live, we train our our educators to be exactly that. A regular classroom (be it online or offline) has more than thirty students, and a hassled teacher rushing to complete the portions in time. In contrast, our batch sizes are small enough to provide personalized attention. In addition to this approach, w have one-on-one sessions where your child can learn at their own pace and regain confidence in themselves.

Make learning fun again!

With that in mind, this article is not a diatribe against traditional classrooms. Traditional structures have their own benefits, which skilled teachers will know how to use. Nonetheless, it’s equally important to recognize that traditional systems can have blind spots- the kind of spots fREADom Live is customized to handle!

English, for us, is not about the curriculum or test scores. The English Language is essentially a tool for self-expression.

We nurture an environment that pushes for interactions in way that are mindful of each child’s unique abilities and fears.

Our students never feel like they’re playing catch-up with their peers, because their only competition is themselves. With each session they become more outspoken; progressing not only in language learning, but growing resilient in their sense of self.

Shy children aren’t the only ones who benefit from reading!
Here’s 5 Reasons Why Reading Should Be Your Family’s 2021 New Year Resolution

BONUS: Here’s a book recommendation to help your child overcome shyness:

There’s No Need to Be Shy (Dealing with Feelings) by Sonia Mehta
Also check out: An Introvert’s journey from Loner to Dreamer-
Never Lonely in the Company of a Good Book

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