How do you deal with the quiet students?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by VANewbie, Jul 14, 2011.

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  1. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jul 17, 2011

    I agree. I've seen some students get very anxious and pushing them too much worsens things. I even allow students to write answers in sticky notes. I also have my students sit in groups where they can feel more comfortable discussing and participating in a small group setting. The last thing I want to do in a math class, being aware of how many people have math anxiety, is to increase that anxiety by putting on the spot. :2cents:
     
  2. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2011

    As a student in K-12, I rarely volunteered to answer questions. I always knew the answer, but I never raised my hand to give the answer.

    Even as a student in the Master's Program, I don't talk a whole lot during whole-class discussions. I contribute during small-group settings; however, I don't like to have a lot of attention focused on me because I'm pretty shy.

    That said, I tend to have my kids use their little dry-erase boards (white boards) during instruction. We say, "Write it, hide it, show it." As soon as we say, "Show it" the kids show me their answers. That way, instead of having one kid answer the question, I can check for understanding by looking at their white boards. In a matter of seconds, I can scan the entire classroom to see who did/didn't get the correct answer.

    Another thing I do is have the kids "pair share." They talk about the answer to a question with their buddy. I use a similar method where I have the students whisper the answer to a neighbor.

    Being a shy person, I try to create a non-threatening environment for everyone--whether or not they're outgoing and talkative!
     
  3. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    Jul 17, 2011

    I strongly disagree.

    I think you're helping to foster math anxiety by not having them participate in class. Once students see that being wrong occasionally is not the end of the world, they'll participate a lot more.

    I also believe that by not calling on them, it's teaching the kids that it's ok to stay quiet and let others do the speaking for them...whether that's a math class or board meeting.

    Personally, I can only go by what happens in my classroom. But from my observations...students are very hesitant to participate at first but once they get a few correct answers, i don't ever have problems with "quiet kids".
     
  4. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jul 17, 2011

    Not everybody is meant to be outgoing and maybe outgoing, outspoken people need to be more understanding about those who are or choose to be quiet. There are different ways to voicing concerns and opinions. Besides, I do require students to make presentations but I give them time to prepare. In fact, I'm teaching them how to prepare and present presentations so that when it comes to board meetings, they can do it with more confidence.

    I just don't like to put students on the spot when I can see that they can get anxious. As a person who can get anxious about certain things, I know for a fact that pushing too much actually worsens the anxiety.

    It is obvious that you have the ability to create that trusting environment and that's why all students feel comfortable participating. I just would make sure the trusting environment is set first before just aggressively asking students to participate. :)
     
  5. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Jul 17, 2011

    :thumb:

    I had two students who were very quiet and one with asperger's syndrome and they all loved the colored note card method similar to your sticky notes. I also allowed this when they wanted to ask a question but were too shy or nervous.
     
  6. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Jul 17, 2011

    I think the creation of math anxiety exists with the notion that there is only one correct answer. Even if you allow them to be wrong there typically is still a right answer so that fact can discourage students from participating.

    We need to do what's best for our students and for some students that is not pressuring or forcing them to participate in front of the entire class. You cannot change a student's personality. These situations are where one-on-one math conferences with a student could be very effective. They can solve a problem, discuss with you that problem, their reasoning, etc. Typically it gives a greater insight to student achievement than a whole class problem and the student will probably be more comfortable.
     
  7. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jul 17, 2011

    Sorry you feel that way......

    But, in my classroom, children are known to excel and leave feeling confident, smart and trust their thinking! If I ever had a child cry just because I called on them, I wouldn't hesitate to fix the situation and approach that child in a different way. But as I said earlier, I've never had a child not want to participate and that is because I foster that kind of environment during the first weeks of school. In my class, my students know that it is okay to be unsure about a question and they are praised by the teachers & classmates for trying. Every student who was unsure about an answer or was just too shy to raise their hand but answered a question anyway, felt great about themselves so much that they would slowly but surely start to answer questions without any prompting! And I stand by my practices and I will continue to be the kind of teacher I am! :) I've seen kids come into my room with no confidence, plain ol' shy, and too afraid to show their strengths, and left a totally different child! So your opinion, is your opinion.

    That being said, I agree that you can teach a child that being quiet gets them out of situations that are uncomfortable. It is not true in the real world and they have to learn eventually. I believe in teaching the whole child, preparing them for life, not just how to survive in Ms. ______________'s class! :2cents:
     
  8. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jul 17, 2011

    And I want to add that in my classroom, I do give my students alternative ways to participate. As I mentioned before, we do "turn & talk" and I listen in to partners in that way to check their learning, I do whiteboards, I do exit slips, I do one on one conferences, we do learning games, and I rotate around the room alot so that I can check in on learning that way. My point is, it is okay to call on a "shy" student. Pair them up with a "not so shy" student and let them support each other.
     
  9. jeifer

    jeifer Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2011

    Its great that you do alternative things in your classroom and you've had great sucess with all your students. I never said anything against your teaching practices. I was just saying that if I were in a class where I knew I HAD TO answer no matter what, and the teacher pressed the issue, I would have a hard time.

    Honestly, I think at this point all I'll say is it would be a clash of personalities.
     
  10. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    I would never "press the issue". No child comes to school to be made to feel pressured into doing anything. If a child says, "No, I don't want to!" That's that! Like I said, a child rarely ever says, "I don't want to!" They may feel uncomfortable doing it but do it and feels pride in it. I love that. :wub::hugs:
     
  11. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Jul 17, 2011

    I've never had a child say they do not want to. They mostly just sit there and look at me.
    I had one girl last year who I would call on to give an opinion on something. I made sure to tell them there were no right or wrong answers. She would always just stare at me. Straight faced looking at me. No blinking or anything. Even if I would say something else. She would continue to stare until I called on someone else.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 18, 2011

    As the parent of a painfully shy son, I am very aware of putting students 'on the spot' to answer questions. I create a very safe classroom environment, where everyone's thoughts and opinions are encouraged and accepted, but everyone does not choose to participate orally in class discussions and I'm okay with that. There are many, many ways to participate without having to speak in front of the group.
     
  13. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jul 18, 2011

    This is what participating in class taught me in middle school: stand out so you could be bullied. I was the student who would be the first one to raise her hand in every class, so I was not shy at all when it came to participating. You would love me in your class. However, this would put me in the map of lazy bullies who would constantly bother me during tests so that I would give them the answers. Outside the classroom, in the real world, participating in class didn't help me much at all, in fact, it made it worse for me most of the times as this also happened in high school, but not as bad as because by then I was more confident and I was able to stand up for myself.

    This taught me to stay quiet and only participate when it's really necessary. In college sometimes I purposely didn’t participate when I found the discussions unimportant. I just couldn’t believe people would engage in silly discussions when there are other more important matters to really discuss. Anyway, that’s just my personality. I'm not the type to start participating just because I want to make sure people know I'm there. The conversation and discussions to me really need to be of importance.

    For this reason, I don’t see as forcing all students to participate in class to be essential in preparing students for the real world. I’m ok with providing other ways of participation and I won’t push the issue.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 18, 2011

    I agree completely. My son, now 20, is functioning extremely well in the "real world" in spite of the fact that he didn't speak at school (not even one-on-one with the teacher) until the last week of grade 2. If you had pulled a popsicle stick with his name on it and expected him to answer, he would put his head down and pretend that he hadn't heard you. Waiting him out, quietly encouraging, giving advance warning--none of these would get an answer out of him. His reluctance had absolutely nothing to do with the classroom environment. He was always one of those kids (and is one of those young adults) who would never choose to participate orally in class. That doesn't make him less intelligent or less able to "function in the real world" (he is in Germany this summer on an internship--he's often 'braver' than I am).

    I have to agree to disagree with those who feel that students need to be compelled/cajoled/convinced to participate orally in front of the class.
     
  15. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jul 18, 2011

    Wow, in Germany on an intership? This is very impressive for a quiet boy. :)
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Yep...didn't know anyone else going and doesn't speak the language. Just because he's quiet doesn't mean he's not intelligent, friendly, and an adventure-seeker.
     
  17. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2011

    :yeahthat:

    I was teased and bullied in elementary and middle school for being a "dork, dweeb, loser, nerd." I didn't stop participating because I wanted to be smart and I saw it as my chance to change my life. However, I have some very painful memories.
     
  18. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jul 18, 2011

    Yes, we will have to agree to disagree since we're going in circles anyway. :lol: And the fact that some of us who say we don't "force" students to answer in class but encourage them to is being said on deaf ears, then I'm comfortable with being a different kind of teacher. I think that makes me who I am and why parents are usually happy when their child is in my class. I'm okay with it.
     
  19. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jul 18, 2011

    Have a great week everyone!!!!!!:)
     
  20. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2011

    Omigosh, I just read a book that addressed this very issue. It's one that was actually turned on to me by someone on these forums. It's Michael Linsin's Dream Class. There's a chapter called Help Shy Students Flourish and he listed some do's and don'ts. I'm going to summarize his key points.

    Dont's
    - Don't speak to shy students individually about their lack of participation. It can be overwhelming for them.
    - Don't recognize them in front of the class for something positive because it makes them the center of attention. For example, I had a girl who wrote a tremendous story and I asked her if it was okay to share it with the class and she shook her head so I respected her wishes.
    - Don't tell them how shy they are. Like, don't say, "You're so shy!"
    - Don't make eye contact for too long because it makes them feel self-conscious.
    - Don't allow a lull in conversation. Again, it can make them feel self-conscious. I was a shy student myself and always felt pressure to fill the silences. It never occurred to me to think that the other person/people weren't talking either.
    - Don't have them follow up if they participate at first. Allow them to get used to participating so that it is a positive experience. Linsin made a good point saying that shy students probably even practiced what they were going to say (in their heads) and if asked to expand their ideas might get stuck and regress.

    Do's
    -Do randomly call on them. This way they know they're being called on because their name came up and not that the teacher wants them to get more involved. In addition to the craft sticks, you can use a deck of cards with their names written on them. I'm totally stealing that idea!
    - Do keep conversations with them moving which is the same as don't let there be a lull in the convo.
    - Do accept them for who they are. Allow them to get comfortable in their environment and just be themselves.

    Sorry the post is so long but I thought Linisn had some really terrific ideas.
     
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