Article March 16, 2023
How our online school supports shy children to thrive
Imagine if you couldn’t share any of your brilliant ideas with the world. That’s the daily struggle many shy young people face at school.
Shy children are, of course, just as bright, intelligent, and creative as their peers. However, research shows that they often receive lower grades because they don’t feel confident sharing their ideas in class discussions and presentations. For many, shyness extends to socialisation too; even lunchtime can be difficult when it’s hard to make friends.
The word “shy” is sometimes used as a substitute for “quiet”. However, while quiet children and adults are comfortable in their silence, shy people are typically quiet because they find interactions stressful or uncomfortable. These nerves often ease as shy children get older, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for every child or teen. In some cases, extreme shyness can even be a symptom of social phobia or social anxiety.
All in all, the traditional school environment can be a daunting place for shy children. Thankfully, traditional schooling isn’t the only way to get a great education.
At King’s InterHigh, our online school is designed to fit around every student’s needs — including our shy learners. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we support our shy and anxious students to thrive in learning and socialisation.
"My daughter started King’s InterHigh... as unconfident and shy with very low self-esteem and found friendships difficult. Now, she is the total opposite! She is confident, positive, and has loads of friends, both at King’s InterHigh and out of school. The only thing I would change is that I wish I had moved her to King’s InterHigh sooner!"
King's InterHigh parent (Trustpilot)
Text-based communication options
In traditional classrooms, speaking aloud is the only way to participate. While shy children often excel in written work, they tend to miss out on a lot of the great learning that takes place during discussions.
At King’s InterHigh, students don’t have to speak up verbally to be heard. While learners are encouraged to keep their webcams on for the best class experience, shy learners aren’t forced to communicate via their cameras or microphones. Instead, while they’re building up their confidence, they can use text-based participation options to share their ideas.
Our virtual classrooms include various ways to type thoughts, from answering class-wide polls to typing messages privately to the teacher. This can be invaluable in helping shy children feel bold enough to talk about their wonderful insights. Over time, we often find that our once-shy learners happily progress to chatting through audio and video.
“My King’s InterHigh English Literature teacher aided me in overcoming my anxiety, and as a result, I have become a lot more active in my work and participation. I am no longer shy to state my opinions.”
International film festival entrant and King’s InterHigh alumnus
Small, comfortable class sizes
Public speaking is always more nerve-racking than chatting with a small group of friends. When all eyes are on your child, they may feel too self-conscious to speak.
At King’s InterHigh, shy children don’t get lost in a huge sea of classmates. We keep our interactive class sizes small, with no more than 20 pupils each. This ensures that every student gets the attention they need and that teachers have time to engage with even the quietest of learners. It also makes classrooms a more comfortable, warm, and inviting space for timid children to open up.
So many ways to make friends
Socialisation is so important to childhood development, from aiding in vocabulary building to teaching teamwork. Sadly, shy children often find it difficult to approach their classmates and forge those all-important friendships.
At King’s InterHigh, students will find lots of ways to socialise and make friends, even if they’re usually shy around others. From their first day at our school, every child is assigned to one of four houses: smaller, tight-knit communities that create a sense of belonging.
Our virtual clubs, meanwhile, bring students with common interests together. It’s easier to chat about your favourite thing — whether that’s STEM, gardening, or Harry Potter — when everyone around you is just as excited about it. Our older students can also connect on our safe and secure school-only social media platform, Yammer, where many lifelong bonds begin.
All in all, we’re proud to say our global community is warm, diverse, and welcoming. Your child won’t be the only shy learner in their year group, and with so many classmates from different backgrounds, our students are always encouraged to develop truly compassionate and caring mindsets.
No more bullying
If your child developed a sense of shyness after being bullied (or if they’ve been teased because they’re shy), you’ll be pleased to hear that King’s InterHigh has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying.
In an online lesson, students no longer have to deal with whispered rumours or thrown paper balls. If any student does behave unkindly, our virtual classroom setup allows teachers to efficiently and comprehensively tackle the problem.
“Anyone who has dealt with bullying and depression like me should consider King's InterHigh because it’s the safest, most welcoming school ever and will help you find joy in learning again. It’s like a big family.”
Actress, director, and King’s InterHigh alumnus
Flexible academic pacing
Many shy children are worried about speaking up in class because they’re scared to get an answer wrong. Unfortunately, some children can get left behind in the traditional school environment, where everyone goes through lessons at the same pace. This can create an even bigger self-confidence gap for those who are shy or anxious.
While our online lessons are taught live for the best learning experience, students also get round-the-clock access to video recordings of every class. Plus, student hubs are packed with extra resources to explore — including materials learners can check out before class. This gives students an opportunity to revisit material they’re unfamiliar with or read around a topic for a better understanding. In turn, shy children feel confident about their understanding and their insights.
“[King’s InterHigh] gave me the confidence and space that I needed to start recovering from my anxiety disorder.”
Medical student and King’s InterHigh alumnus
Support for wellbeing
Last, but certainly not least, our staff support students every step of the way. From workshops to tutorial sessions to vent groups, students always have a safe space to share and tackle their struggles. As our wellbeing team works with students to manage anxieties and build confidence, your shy child will find help and guidance for many of their struggles and concerns.
Book a call with us to discuss how we can support your child to thrive or learn more at one of our upcoming open events.