When Sheldon is in his language lessons, he watches closely what the other children are doing, from where he is sitting at the edge of the group.
When the other children are laughing and having fun, he seems quiet and maybe even a little anxious. The teacher encourages him to take part, but he is easily embarrassed and gets upset when he is the focus of attention. Does this sound familiar?
For some kids, trouble with making conversation can be related to their development, they may be a little slower at getting going. They will most likely "get there" in their own time, or they may need some support.
Every child has an individual personality, and as we all know, some families are more outgoing and confident than others! Here at Dadi Mandarin, we take pride in helping all children to grow in confidence as they become strong and effective learners.
We never force children to participate, but there are ways our skillful staff can support kids like Sheldon to get the best out of their sessions and in managing their social interactions more effectively.
Sheldon might be holding back in his lessons, for example, because he is too anxious/ stressed to dive into the conversation as it takes him a while to process what is happening in class. By the time that he has worked this out, or decided what he wants to say, the moment has passed.
Sometimes he tries to join in, but the other children might be confused, as his efforts are hesitant or don’t make good sense to them. He may be naturally shy and a little overwhelmed by more confident classmates, but there are ways we can help him become more skilled and confident as a communicator.
How Can We All Help Children to Communicate More Confidently?
● When your child seems to have some difficulties in understanding and communicating in class, they can feel left out of activities. It can help if you slow your speech down a little. Adding some pauses helps to adjust the pace of your communication. This gives children like Sheldon more time to process what is being said before you move on. Teachers and parents like lessons to be lively and fast-paced, but international research suggests that taking a slower pace can be more effective sometimes.
Tip: Include breathing techniques at home when your child seems stressed!
● Role playing games can be a great way to build confidence! Tip: Using puppets can be a really fun way to engage kids in overcoming shyness or communication issues. Make up a dialogue between ‘teacher ‘ puppet and ‘student’ puppet.
● Be patient and understanding and observe the child closely when he is participating in his activities to identify what he is doing that you can praise him for.
Tip: Listen and observe authentically.
● Anticipate stress points and provide your child with things he can say and do through individual and group role play. Encourage his confidence by pre-warning him when you want him to contribute:
Tip: ‘Sheldon I want you to tell us about your picture, after we hear from Sacha’.
Finally, we all want our children to be happy and successful and you are doing a great job already! Research indicates that children need a balance of physicals exercise, authentic interaction, imaginative play, and communication with others to grow into successful adults. So, keep active and creative with your kids!
We hope you enjoyed this blog. Stay tuned next week for our next edition. As always, if you would like to book a trial class for Dadi or Otto2, please get in touch.
You may also be interested in reading Easy Language Learning Hacks for Kids.
Developed for Dadi Mandarin and written by WOI.