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No Show of Hands: Why Your Child Refuses to Participate in Class

Regardless of the setup, recitations in school are the norm and even a part of the grading system. A number of kids have no problem participating in class. In fact, they enjoy the attention and the praise they get from their teachers.

A greater majority, however, refuse to raise their hands and answer their teacher’s questions — particularly in complex subjects like Math. More often, this should not be a cause of concern in terms of the child’s development. Although certainly, this may affect their academic performance. The first step towards helping your child is to know the root cause of what is keeping them from participating actively in class. Here is a breakdown of the common reasons behind such a behavior:

Fear of Failure

Your child may be hesitating to recite in class because they are afraid that they might have the wrong answers or that they might mispronounce a word when they answer. The keyword here is “afraid.” It stems from the fear of failing, and probably be laughed at in class. In worse cases, that failure could haunt them for days, weeks, or even months.

In these cases, there is only one cure: to let them fail and learn a lesson from it. It is only in allowing them to experience failure that they overcome the fear of it. Let them embrace the perspective that everyone fails, even the adults they look up to. At some point, in fact, some of their fellow classmates themselves may have had wrong answers, but there is nothing to be ashamed of it. When they are able to pick up this thinking, they would be fearless in participating in class.

Language Barrier

In some instances, there are challenges in communication that keep children from reciting. For instance, some kids may have not understood an unfamiliar Filipino or English word the teacher may have said in passing. If this is the case, encourage your child to clarify with their teacher what the word or words meant.

For your part, keep a close communication with your child’s teacher so you can bring up such language barrier concerns. If you are still looking for a school, consider those that prioritize a close partnership with parents and teachers. You may want to consider a private grade school in Imus, Cavite, which puts great emphasis on the combined role of the teachers and parents in nurturing a student’s academic success.


Child sitting by the window

Some children might feel that what they are doing in school is too easy. This is often the case with gifted children. Remember that children would have to feel a sense of challenge so they can be engaged in class. Work together with the teacher on how they can give your child more difficult tasks. Or, you may also want to consider putting your child in a specialized school for the gifted.

Have an honest, sit-down discussion with your child as to what is keeping them from participating in class. Reassure them that you are there to help every step of the way.

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