In this blog post, Upper School math teacher Andrew Franz shares recommendations for engaging with reserved or introspective boys. He also highlights Haverford’s teacher-coach-advisor model, which allows faculty to build stronger relationships with boys outside of class and ensures boys are comfortable to engage in the classroom.
The stereotypical vision of a classroom of boys usually involves boundless energy, perpetual movement and a cacophony of voices all trying to be heard at the same time. While a particular topic or subject may elicit this response in males, one would be surprised at the number of boys who are reserved and introspective, who prefer quiet reflection over boisterous response. These students may have a strong desire to share their ideas, but are uncomfortable in social settings where they feel their responses will be scrutinized. We understand that reaching and engaging them is an important part of their growth as students and young men.
I find that a healthy teacher-parent partnership in engaging introspective boys includes:
- Getting to know him: Ask him questions. Build a rapport. Find ways to connect with him so he feels comfortable and safe participating in conversations. Use what you learn to find activities that enhance his talents and interests.
- Allowing time for a response: The tendency is to fill the empty space with words, but the reflective boy uses time to gather his thoughts. Be patient and make sure that he understands that you value his response, even if he takes a few extra seconds.
- Avoiding placing him in uncomfortable situations: We may think we want our child to be the extrovert who can handle all sorts of social situations, so we are compelled to thrust him into uncomfortable or stressful settings. It is important that first, we boost his confidence by finding activities that highlight his talents and help him to experience success.
At The Haverford School, we strive to engage all students in the learning process. The connections between teachers and students at Haverford provide the tools to make all students feel comfortable and safe.
At The Haverford School, we strive to engage all students in the learning process. When a boy is reserved in class, it is important that he feels he can contribute to class discussions, and in fact, it is often the expectation. Therefore, we search for ways to invite him to share his ideas.
Through our teacher-coach-advisor model, Haverford faculty members are provided with numerous touch points throughout the school day to interact with the boys. Thus, the reserved boy has had the opportunity to share experiences with his teachers which are used to engage the boy in the class discussion.
In addition, since these students are hesitant to raise their hand and draw attention to themselves, teachers are vigilant in looking for signals that the boy is prepared to respond. We do not always call on the boy with his hand raised. During cooperative learning activities, teachers intentionally group reserved students with more outgoing ones, providing an example for active participation and responsiveness.
The connections between teachers and students at Haverford provide the tools to make all students feel comfortable and safe.