How do I devise a project that will challenge a Key Stage 2 pupil to vocalize and therefore increase her self-confidence?A key stage 2 pupil refuses to engage or speak with adults. she plays and...

How do I devise a project that will challenge a Key Stage 2 pupil to vocalize and therefore increase her self-confidence?

A key stage 2 pupil refuses to engage or speak with adults. she plays and chats with other children and is vocal at home, she needs to participate in lessons more volunteer ideas and collaborate in group discussions in order to reach the speaking and listening targets for key key stage,  in individual sessions and within classroom activities.

Asked on by arsenalfan

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I have found in many years of working with students of all ages, outside of a classroom setting, that most often, students who can be vocal in one environment (such as with other children) but tend to get quiet and shy in another environment (such as around adults) do so because they lack self confidence in some areas but not in others.

What your project needs to do is provide a non-threatening environment that tests and challenges the behavior you are looking for.  As a ropes course facilitator for many years, I learned that one tried and true method of building self-confidence in people of all ages is through game-playing.  Without knowing the exact age of the student in question, I would encourage you to tailor your project/activity to be appropriate for the entire class, but keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • The less involved the facilitator is (or the teacher), the more initiative the students will take.
  • Create certain rules that force your targeted student to speak up.  You can do this and make it look random even when it isn't.  Mute certain vocal students.  Take away the "sight" of natural problem solvers.  Say something like, "In this activity you cannot speak if you have blue eyes."
  • When you notice your targeted student doing something positive, remember it and highlight it later in debriefing the activity.

After any "problem solving" type of activity or game, the next step is to debrief how things went.  This is really where you can help your student learn to speak up.  Start by asking the entire group, "How did that go?  Were we successful?  Why or why not?"  As a facilitator, you can pin-point certain students (much like Jeff Probst does on "Survivor" when voting off cast members) with leading questions.  Say things like, "Mary, I noticed... tell us a little bit about that..."

It sounds like your student is comfortable talking and socially interacting, but clams up when it is time to provide conversation that could be deemed as "correct" or "incorrect."  You need to provide opportunities for this student to succeed, then make sure you give him/her the opportunity to verbalize this success.  Set up situations where there are no wrong answers, and take anything he or she says and put a positive spin on it.  This will encourage the student to keep talking, with less fear each time of being incorrect.  As self-confidence builds, you will start to notice it does not matter who the child is around, he or she will begin speaking up in other environments.

The link below provides a list of games that have minimal set up.  Perhaps you could try something like this with your class.

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