The quiet student is the most misunderstood person in the classroom. This student hardly ever speaks or does it inaudibly when asked a question. She barely interacts with her peers and never volunteers to participate in activities. She acts cowardly during presentations but does fairly good written work.
Teachers do not particularly like the quiet student because her actions go against every objective on an interactive lesson plan. Students may see the silent student as an easy target to pick on. This may cause a serious problem for the introvert who just wants to be left alone.
These opinions aside, the teacher must try to understand the needs of the quiet student. Lesson plans must cater to those needs in the best way possible.
What are the needs of the quiet student
I have great ideas to share
The silent student has ideas that she would like to share but would not do so in a loud classroom. This student becomes invisible among outspoken students. She observes other students shouting out their ideas and being congratulated by the teacher for their contributions. If the classroom is designed for the loudest person to be heard, then the quiet student would be ignored.
The teacher can add a written aspect for sharing ideas during the discussion. Students may write brief points on cards with their names which a volunteer may collect and read aloud to the class. The teacher can comment on the contributions made and commend the students for their efforts in the same way it is done with the outspoken students. In this way, the quiet student gets a fair chance to be heard.
Treat me with respect
Being quiet is normal and not a deformity. Many teachers and students view the quiet student as an anomaly in the classroom. They may treat this student with utmost disrespect. They may refer to the pupil as “dummy”, “mute” and “stupid”.
They may even ask her to do the very things that go against her nature. Why ask the quiet student to “speak louder”, “interact with the other students”, or “read your essay for the class”? To her, it is just as absurd as asking the outspoken students to shut up.
Teachers need to be more compassionate towards the quiet student and not treat her as a problem. There are students who are accelerated, delayed, active or lazy. Teachers find ways to fit their needs into the classroom design. The quiet student also wants to be taken into consideration.
My teacher should be more involved in group projects
Teachers tend to leave students on their own to do group work. This strategy ensures that the strong leads the weak naturally in a collaborative setting.
Since the quiet student may not work well with others, she is often bullied by others in a group. She mostly ends up being the unhappy member of a group. This student would prefer that the teacher assigns roles to the students. This action alleviates the pressures brought on by the survival of the fittest strategy.