Teaching students who are shy can be a challenge, but it doesn’t need to be. Often, teachers attempt to force participation or engagement in the classroom during activities or discussions because they think that it is best for the students.
However, that approach may cause students to feel more self-conscious, and uncomfortable, and withdraw even further—far from what teachers are trying to achieve.
That’s why it’s high time for teachers to change the narrative. Explore new ways when dealing with shy kids and how to help them overcome shyness by following these 7 tips to boost their confidence in class!
How To Help Students To Overcome Shyness: 7 Tips To Boost Their Confidence!
1.) Greet every student by their name every day
Greeting your students by their name every day, especially the shy ones. Using this tip can make a huge difference. You’ll be surprised by how they’ll react and they’ll instantly feel more at ease in your class.
The trick with this is that they’ll feel like you cared enough to know their names and this would be a great foundation for you to build a deep-rooted relationship with your students which is an important factor in both teacher and student success.
When you pass by them at the hall, or in the canteen. Try to say hi to them along with their names and their faces will instantly brighten up.
Also, try to converse with them regularly, and learn about their hobbies, likes, and interests. Find something that you think you’ll be able to form a bond with them and the whole class as well.
Building good relationships with your shy students is an effective way for you to break through them and this will give them that confidence boost they need to further succeed in class.
2.) Allow a quiet time in class
Shy students are often misunderstood by their teachers, who may believe that their lack of engagement in class is due to laziness or lack of motivation.
This can be very frustrating for shy students, as they may possess a strong desire or ability to fully participate in class, it’s just that they do not know how to.
Remember that the more you as of them to speak up or work with other students, the more they will withdraw. So instead of doing that try a different and softer approach.
One thing that can help shy students is to give them a choice of how to do their work. You might want your students to work on their arts and crafts project, but if one student is shy, having him or her work in silence while others are socializing with each other could be a big help.
You can also try letting your students choose their own goals—by letting shy students work independently at their own pace you’ll help boost their self-esteem one activity at a time. Create an environment where shy students can work independently with minimal distractions from others and give them plenty of time on their own before asking them to work in groups. It’s also best if you can let them choose the group they want to be in.
3.) Don’t be prejudiced
As a teacher, there will be a time in class when you might find yourself making assumptions about your students. You might assume that your shy students are not interested in your class or that they do not want to participate or learn.
But this is not necessarily true. It’s important for you as a teacher to be aware of what these assumptions are and remind yourself that most people who do not freely express their thoughts and feelings at first can have hidden intelligence and can be genuinely interested in your class and that they can also be highly motivated by their goals to learn successfully as long as they feel safe enough to express themselves openly later on.
4.) Pay attention to your tone when working with shy students
One of the best ways you can help shy students to overcome shyness as a teacher is to pay attention to your tone when working with them.
Whenever you’re in a situation where you’ll need to communicate with them avoid using a stern and authoritarian tone (like a tone that you would use with someone misbehaving in class), as this can make those shy students feel more nervous and uncomfortable in class.
The last thing we want for them to feel is self-consciousness, especially during class discussions and activities.
Try to speak kindly and respectfully throughout your conversation with them, it’s best to relay your message in a friendly voice. Once they feel that you care about them as a person they will instantly lift their wall and their anxiousness will immediately lessen.
A helpful way for you to understand how you sound when talking to your students is by trying out the mirror technique—in this technique, you will see how your voice affects others’ perception of you while you are talking.
Try to stand in front of a mirror and try speaking a phrase in different tones, you’ll realize how much the tone of your voice can impact what you are trying to say.
5.) Be positive and consistent with your approach to shy students
It truly is a challenge even for seasoned teachers to know how to best help shy students when you’re dealing with them one-on-one.
As a teacher, you need to be consistent with your expectations, positive in your praise, and consistent in the way you approach them when communicating with them and giving them feedback.
You need to make sure that you are doing the same things each time so that students will learn what works best for them, and you’ll know how to handle them after some time too. Positive praise is important because it will encourage your students and it will also help build their self-esteem as you are acknowledging their efforts.
Consistency is vital when it comes to discipline, because if you discipline one student differently from others then they may feel like their classmates or friends are getting away more than they do.
6.) Organize activities in small groups or pairs
You can help students feel more comfortable in small groups or by pairing them with partners who are similar in age, gender, or ability.
You can also help shy students feel more at ease when working together on group projects by matching partners based on their similar personality traits (i.e., extroverted vs introverted kids), interests (i.e., harry potter fans vs star wars fans), or academic strengths.
This will allow shy students to work on tasks where they have an advantage over their partners rather than feeling as though they are being judged relative to someone else’s skill set.
7.) Give a shy student a role in the classroom
Another trick that you can try to help students overcome shyness is by giving them a role in the classroom. This means you’ll assign them with something to do like helping you grade papers or help you with something like taking the class attendance.
You’ll never know, a shy student might even want to be the class helper or secretary, and this is a good way to give them more responsibility outside the classroom to help develop their confidence.
If you have a student on the quiet side who doesn’t like speaking up in front of others, try having them join small group discussions where students will ask each other questions. This will help encourage them to practice socializing.
Or if they’re struggling with vocabulary or grammar, have that student teach his or her peers about a certain topic that he or she feels good about their knowledge on that subject.
You can also ask them to volunteer but don’t force it on them. Instead, try something along the lines of, “Do you have any free time this week?”, if they answer yes, tell them that you’d like some help with an event you’re planning on attending next month.
That way they’ll know exactly when, where, and what the event is without having too much information beforehand (which can be overwhelming for them).
Remember, don’t ask them to volunteer at a specific time and specific place. And don’t ask them to volunteer with a group that they’re not comfortable working with yet.
8.) Ask parents to encourage shy students to volunteer
Learning starts at home, that’s why you should ask parents of shy students to encourage their children to volunteer at home or community.
Many parents don’t realize how much they can help by simply encouraging their children to help others. They can ask them to join a local school program that encourages volunteering, for example, tree planting.
They can start working with younger kids at first, and then move on to activities with older students once they become comfortable and more confident.
Parents can also ask other parents who might know about opportunities for young people who want to get involved in community service projects but aren’t quite sure how to go about it themselves—parents involved will likely be happy to introduce them!
Shy students often have difficulty in school, and their teachers can feel like they’re at loss for how to handle that.
The atmosphere in your class must be helpful, nurturing, and open so that students can learn to be comfortable at all times in the classroom. If you approach them gently, modestly, and carefully most shy students can be approached easily. They just need somebody on their side who understands them and can help them feel relaxed in the class.
By following these tips will be able to make a big difference in the lives of your shy students and help them reach their full potential.
Do you know a teacher with shy students in their class? Then share this with them! I hope this helped and good luck!
Until our next one!