As an extroverted parent of a "shy" child and wife of an introvert, I will say that my advice has radically shifted in the last 9 years (my daughter is 9). They have taught me to see the world through their eyes. First, they will tell me that they are involved at school. Observing and listening feels full for them. My daughter will tell me everything about her day in full detail. She tells us stories that have us laughing at the dinner table. When I mention this to her teachers, they are stunned. Because she's not in the middle of the action, they assume that she is "checked out" or not interested. My husband tells stories of being pushed to talk or participate in ways that felt unnatural and uncomfortable to him. He hated school. Top 5 Lessons they have taught:
1) Don't make assumptions!
2) I give my daughter (and student like her) more space and time to warm up to people.
3) I allow for more hand gestures to communicate - thumbs up/down, fist to 5, conversations gestures (thumbs up for agreement, signals for connections, questions, etc)
4) I realize that relationships are very important. I advocate for my daughter to have the same partners and groups - continual changing is hard. I have done this with a number of students in my classrooms and have seen them come out and stay out of their shells.
5) My daughter does well when she can think and write before speaking. (Some kids need to speak before writing, so there needs to be a nice balance of this.) My husband loves text or online communication. This is an important skill for students to learn.
I hope this helps!
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Excellent advice MIchelle. I have learned many of the same things plus these about my daughter:
1) Don't give up on or stop calling on them or asking them to share. Some day they might surprise you.
2) Shy in front of the whole class does not always mean shy in small groups, so allow for smaller group settings where shy kids might feel more comfortable speaking up.
3) Give them time to answer when asked a question, sometimes teachers just move on thinking that student doesn't want to share, but sometimes they are just building mental courage!
Such good advice! I would also add that small groups and pair-sharing has been really helpful in my classroom. I would also highly recommend small table groups and pair-projects where they both present, but one child is able to take the lead (if they desire) in terms of talking in front of the group, and the other child is able to show the work/be up in front of the group which can be a huge thing for them.
This goes well with Michelle's answer. Introverts participate in ways which might look different than what is considered "normal" participation. In group work, let them be the stage manager, not the actor, doing behind the scenes work. Don't force them to always be up front, it is good to have them present in small groups. Remember presenting in front of a large group is not a necessary life skill, articulating their ideas to others is the skill they need. And it's okay to sometimes let them work alone if they choose.
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