How to Encourage Class Participation in Shy Students

Shy students are often a teacher’s dream as they work hard to avoid drawing attention to themselves. While this may be easier to deal with, no teacher wants your student to miss out on educational opportunities. Participating in class, asking questions and being part of school activities will help your student to have a richer educational and social experience. Students who apply what they have learned in class exercises are more likely to reach a deeper understanding of the material and retain more of the information they have garnered.

Talk to Your Teacher

If your student is shy, speak with your teacher about this and discuss ways in which to encourage participation. Teachers can ensure that shy students are seated at the front of the class so that they are more visible. Shy students may need a little longer to feel confident enough to answer questions or participate and teachers who understand this can be more accommodating.

Teachers can work to build a rapport with your student and can work one-to-one with them wherever possible. They can also encourage your student to participate and join in class activities.

Get a Tutor

The effects of student peer pressure are great and most students are shy because they don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their peers. Fear of failure may stem from the fact that they don’t know the answers to questions, feel overwhelmed by course materials or simply just don’t understand. You can overcome these academic issues by getting an in-home and online tutor.

An in-home and online tutor can work with your student one-to-one in an encouraging and safe environment. As your student fills in the gaps in their knowledge, their confidence will grow. When they understand what is happening in class, they will feel confident enough to ask questions and participate in activities.

Social Skills

Encouraging your student to participate in activities outside of the classroom will help them to gain the confidence to get involved inside the classroom. Sports, extra mural activities and social events are great places for them to mix with other students and form friendships. Social bonds are important in improving confidence.


When students feel prepared, their confidence improves. Get your students to prepare some questions or read up on possible topics prior to class. You can also role play with students so that they are more able to deal with possible situations that arise. Be very encouraging and help to bolster their self-confidence by focusing on the positive rather than dwelling in the negative aspects of their social interaction and academic performance. You can improve their confidence by rewarding small successes and focusing on their achievements.