June 7, 2022

Shy Students Have a Voice, Too!

Tara L. Altherr
An illustration of two students with laptops in front of them. One raises their hand, while another private chats with the teacher.

Some students have no problem talking out loud and participating in class — whether in a class discussion, answering a question posed to the class, or explaining what’s going on in their life. Other students do not like talking out loud or sharing their opinions in public. Typically, to engage a shy student, I would have to call on them or give them a specific question to answer. After more than a year of online or hybrid learning, I’ve found some students are more comfortable communicating using technology. That’s where GoGuardian Teacher comes in.

GoGuardian Teacher gives shy students a way to participate

GoGuardian Teacher's chat feature allows students to communicate with me in a way that makes them feel more comfortable, while also allowing me to assess their level of understanding. Before using GoGuardian Teacher, I wouldn’t get much of an answer. Shy students would try to get away with answering “I don’t know,” or, if I asked how they were doing, would just say, “I’m fine” and leave it at that. 

GoGuardian Teacher's chat function enables me to engage with all students — including those who do not normally participate in class. It allows me to talk with students who do not want to share their answers with the rest of the class. Furthermore, I’m able to get more detailed answers from these students than I would normally.

GoGuardian Teacher helps document discussions

Twice a week I have students fill out a “mood meter,” where they choose three words to describe how they are feeling. After students make their selections, I use GoGuardian Teacher's chat function to check in with students to see why they chose the words they did. Based on their responses, I am able to decide what to do next. Sometimes the next step is to talk to the student’s counselor. When I talk to the counselor, I am able to include screenshots of the student’s responses. This helps because it provides concrete evidence of exactly what was said, and it also helps to better inform our next steps.

GoGuardian Teacher facilitates private conversations

GoGuardian Teacher's chat feature is very helpful when I want to ask students for more information. For example, if a student answers in a Pear Deck about something going on outside of school, I can send them a private message. This way, we can have a discreet conversation without disrupting other students. 

I can also send students a message when I notice they need help answering a question — even if they have not raised their hand. I can have students tell me what they understand, and where they are still getting confused. 

The chat is a helpful tool when assisting students, because they themselves are able to refer back to what we talked about easily. I can work out a problem with them that might have taken a lot longer in person. I can also ask timely questions to help them along their way to understanding.

GoGuardian Teacher helps strengthen teacher-student relationships

These chat conversations are beneficial because they help me build and strengthen the relationships I have with my shyest students. This enables students to feel included and heard. Ultimately, the chat feature is vital to having shy students do well in my class.