Help Shy Kids–Don’t Punish Them

Sarah Cain:

Jessica Lahey, author of the piece “Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up at School,” is a teacher who obviously cares deeply for her students. She’s absolutely right that reticent children need to be sensitively encouraged to push through their fears so they can make their voices heard when they have something to say, and so they can face the world with confidence and joy.
As others have pointed out in the comments, however, her article is primarily about shy children who fear social judgment, not introverts who simply prefer quieter environments and think before speaking. And grading shy kids based on class participation may not be the best way to help them.
Here are some alternative ideas for helping shy children: