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Raise Your Hand:

Student boy at the back of class raising his hand

Encouraging Students To Speak Up in Class


For students who are too shy, too hesitant, or too unwilling to speak out in class, the results can mean poor grades and poor classroom participation marks. Those poor grades can make self-esteem plummet and make the child even less willing to raise his hand. It’s a vicious cycle.

So how can parents encourage even the most timid children to become active participants in the classroom?

  • Reinforce the idea that it’s okay not to know something.
  • Involve your child in a group or activity where they routinely have to speak up.
  • Talk to the teacher about your child’s reluctance to draw attention to him or herself.
  • Help your child understand that it’s okay to be wrong.
  • Make sure your child understands that asking questions in class does not mean that she is stupid!
  • Encourage your child to speak with the teacher after class

Like so much else in life, the ability to stop and ask for help when it’s needed is a learned skill—one that can help students end frustration and become a better learner.

But, it takes time to be able to confidently state that something is not understood. Putting up a hand in class to say, “can you repeat that?” is a step towards becoming a better, more confident student.

Please read some related articles on Paying Attention and Shyness.

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