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I am a teacher. Should I require shy kids to speak/participate in class?

  • Yes

    Votes: 9 42.9%
  • No

    Votes: 12 57.1%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always hated introducing myself in front of a class, giving speeches, etc... I'm sure many of you guys can relate

The thing is, the roles have now switched and I work as a teacher doing "interview prep."

The point of this class is to help kids be better speakers/get to know themselves better and it is overall very fun and rewarding. Most kids are hesitant to speak at first, but, like kids without SA, eventually come out confidently.

There are a couple of kids, however, that seem really nervous and afraid all of the time and seem shy; this brings me to my question.

Should I try to force them to speak to "get them to come out of their shells" or should I treat them differently from the rest of the group? I at once know how they are feeling from personal experience and also know that avoidance perpetuates social anxiety. Thoughts?

Thank you for reading.
 

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Beasting
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Yes. As much as I hated speaking in class as a kid, it really helps them conform the the harsh realities of society, and I don't think sheltering them is helping them. Just don't make them do anything to tough for an SA person.

Unless they are like super super super shy, in that case you could make an exception.
 

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HeavyDirtySøul
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I think you should really encourage them and try hard to get them to speak, but dont force them. Be understanding instead of demanding. But I guess at the same time, other kids wouldnt think its fair if you set them apart. Thats a hard call.
 

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Everyone should have to, social anxiety shoudlnt exempt them from this it is an important and necessary skill for the future. However, maybe offer "practice" or help in smaller groups for some shyer kids if they like it, explain some techniques that would help make it easy for them.. Let them know you too used to suffer with the same thing...
 

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It doesn't matter. If you don't, their next teacher will.

It's not the individual teachers that are the issue; it's the whole school system.

I was forced to talk in school and it sure as hell didn't help me any. If anything, it made my problems worse and was the driving factor in me dropping right out of school (multiple times).

Forcing kids to speak up in the classroom environment isn't the answer.
 

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I answered no, but its not that simple.

trying to work towards "coming out of their shell" is very important for all kids (or adults) to work on. And you are very correct in saying avoidance perpetuates SA.

I think the common perception here (for any kid, SA or not) is that if you just force them out there and make them do it they will figure it out and be just fine...and they will open up, and its all good. And I think usually (for most people) this is true. But shoving or forcing a person with SA or other issues can be more detrimental than helpful.

I don't know, its a tricky question. Honestly its probably a case by case kinda thing. Just understand that they can take things alot harder than most people (embarrassment...a bad experience...a mean authority figure forcing them into embarrassment, etc). try to understand where their limit is...don't push them past it too much, but also keep them moving.
 

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my bro told the teacher that he was too afraid to talk in front of the class because he would blush and the teacher allowed him to not do any talks.
 

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I was a super shy and quiet guy back in school and I had a lot I wanted to say in class but didn't have the guts to speak up. I can feel confident telling you that some of them actually have a lot to share but just don't know how to start.

Perhaps you can discuss the things then ask around for opinions. For example, you talk then you go name, what do you think? Start with a few talkative people first before going to them.
 

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Penguin
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Yeah you should try to make them speak infront of the class, you'd basically be giving them free exposure therapy and they are gonna need to speak in front of people eventually so school is a good place to practice. Of course they will hate it at the time, but if you never make them speak and so they never do, they will run into bigger problems when they have to in later life.
 

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Penguin
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As missalyssa said, I would break up the class into groups of 5 people or less and let them give their speeches just to their group. It's soooo much easier to give a speech to 5 people than to 30 people.
I disagree, when I had to give speeches infront of my entire year I found it a lot easier to talk to an anonymous sea of 120 faces than smaller groups where you can feel individual people watching you.
 

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subtastic
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I think you should try to get them to participate and work on creating a supportive class environment. I had a few classes (not in high school, sadly) where I felt pretty comfortable about participating because the instructor had done a great job of making everyone feel welcome.

If I were one of those kids, I might find it helpful to hear from you that you're a shy person.
 

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Nothing works better than positive reinforcement. If one of them does a speech and it doesn't go super well, maybe talk to them after class privately and tell them that their material was very strong and they were so close to being able to really bring their point across...they just need to really go for it, and good things will happen. Maybe have then give part of the speech to you in private and then verbally reward them when they do it well. They'll get better over time for sure.
 

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It doesn't matter. If you don't, their next teacher will.
See, I came to the opposite conclusion from that idea.

Since this statement is true, their next teacher or a teacher in the future is going to force them to do it against their will and in a way that isn't comfortable to them. Since you suffer from the same issues and understand what they are going though, you likely will be able to help them open up in a way that feels safer and less judgmental.

So I think you should try something, be it small groups or whatever. Maybe try a class game that is just fun and maybe lets people show their strengths, without being too personal (what that would be I don't know)?
 

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no either way it doesnt make a difference, with myself i was forced so many times to do presentations and read infront of the class, it just ended up in humilation each time, the more i did it the more i became worse.

i guess it depends on the person but dont force em.
 

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I think you should encourage the shyer kids in your class to speak in front of other people but maybe you could use a kind of baby step approach and don't force them to talk in front of the whole class immediately. For instance, you could start by dividing the class into smaller groups and have the kids speak in front of their respective groups. In this case, the shyer kids would only speak in front of a couple of kids rather than the whole class...Then you could gradually increase the kids' "audience"...I don't know, just an idea...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
wow...it's a fifty-fifty split right now in the poll
thanks for all of the feedback everyone; I run the next class this Saturday so I will try doing some of the things that you suggested, and to not give the kids a free-pass but be understanding and nurturing about speaking
and yeah, I agree that it would be good to share that I am shy; however this fact is already painfully apparent to even the most oblivious of people, lol : )
 
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