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Shyness is a temperamental trait characterized by wariness, fear, and self-consciousness in social situations. In elementary school, child shyness is associated with a wide range of socioemotional difficulties, including poor peer relationships (e.g., exclusion, victimization), internalizing problems (e.g., low self-esteem, anxiety, depression), and academic adjustment problems (e.g., lack of engagement, poor academic performance). In the current article we particularly review recent research examining the implication of shyness in educational contexts. Topics covered include the development of shyness, why shy students might perceive the classroom as a potential threat, and the unique challenges faced by shy children at school. Further, we consider research pertaining to shy children and their teachers, including teachers' attitudes and beliefs toward childhood shyness, and the critical role of teacher– child relationships for shy children's school adjustment. Thereafter, we briefly summarize the findings from teacher-focused and child-focused intervention programs aimed to improve academic and social performance of shy children. We conclude with a short description of implications of shyness for educational practitioners and posit some directions for future research.
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
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Educational Psychology Papers and Publications Educational Psychology, Department of
Shy Children in the Classroom: From Research to
Educational Practice
Irina Kalutskaya
University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
Kristen A. Archbell
Carleton University
Kathleen Moritz Rudasill
University of Nebraska - Lincoln,
Robert J. Coplan
Carleton University
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Kalutskaya, Irina; Archbell, Kristen A.; Rudasill, Kathleen Moritz; and Coplan, Robert J., "Shy Children in the Classroom: From
Research to Educational Practice" (2015). Educational Psychology Papers and Publications. Paper 222.
Researchers have long been interested in the
links between children’s socioemotional function-
ing at school and their academic success (McKin-
ney, Mason, Perkerson, & Clifford, 1975). Histor-
ically, much of this work has focused on children
who either display prosocial and other positive
behaviors (e.g., Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli,
Bandura, & Zimbardo, 2000), or children prone to
externalizing problems, such as aggression and
inattention (e.g., Hinshaw, 1992). However, in re-
cent years, researchers have begun to examine
the unique academic and social challenges faced
by shy children at school (Evans, 2010).
Shyness is a temperamental trait character-
ized by wariness, fear, and self-consciousness
in social situations (Rubin, Coplan, & Bowker,
2009). Goldsmith et al. (1987) provided a semi-
nal denition of temperament as consisting of
“relatively consistent, basic dispositions inher-
ent in the person that underlie and modulate the
expression of activity, reactivity, emotionality,
and sociability” (p. 524). Contemporary views of
temperament acknowledge that it results from
interactions between biological and environmen-
tal factors (e.g., Shiner et al., 2012). Tempera-
mental traits, including shyness, tend to be rel-
atively stable across time—particularly from the
preschool years and onward (Karevold, Ystrøm,
Published in Translational Issues in Psychological Science 1.2 (2015), pp 149–157.
doi 10.1037/tps0000024 “This article may not exactly replicate the nal version published
in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.”
Copyright © 2015 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.
Submitted April 14, 2014; revised January 29, 2015; accepted February 13, 2015.
Shy Children in the Classroom:
From Research to Educational Practice
Irina N. Kalutskaya,1 Kristen A. Archbell,2
Kathleen Moritz Rudasill,1 and Robert J. Coplan2
1 Department of Educational Psychology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
2 Department of Psychology, Carleton University
Irina N. Kalutskaya and Kristen A. Archbell are graduate student authors.
Corresponding author — Irina N. Kalutskaya, 229 Teachers College Hall, Department of Educational Psychology,
University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588; email
Shyness is a temperamental trait characterized by wariness, fear, and self-consciousness in social situations.
In elementary school, child shyness is associated with a wide range of socioemotional difculties, including
poor peer relationships (e.g., exclusion, victimization), internalizing problems (e.g., low self-esteem, anxi-
ety, depression), and academic adjustment problems (e.g., lack of engagement, poor academic performance).
In the current article we particularly review recent research examining the implication of shyness in edu-
cational contexts. Topics covered include the development of shyness, why shy students might perceive the
classroom as a potential threat, and the unique challenges faced by shy children at school. Further, we con-
sider research pertaining to shy children and their teachers, including teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward
childhood shyness, and the critical role of teacher– child relationships for shy children’s school adjustment.
Thereafter, we briey summarize the ndings from teacher-focused and child-focused intervention programs
aimed to improve academic and social performance of shy children. We conclude with a short description of
implications of shyness for educational practitioners and posit some directions for future research.
Keywords: classroom, shyness, social adjustment, teachers
150 KalutsKaya e t a l . i n TranslaTional i s s u e s i n P s y c h o l o g i c a l s cience 1 (2015)
Coplan, Sanson, & Mathiesen, 2012; Roberts &
DelVecchio, 2000). Among younger children, shy-
ness manifests primarily as fear and hesitancy
when encountering new people (i.e., behavioral
inhibition, Kagan, 1997). In older children shy-
ness also tends to encompass embarrassment
and self-consciousness in situations of perceived
social evaluation (Crozier, 1995). From a moti-
vational perspective, shy children are thought
to be experience an approach–avoidance con-
ict, whereby their eagerness to join peer activ-
ities (high social approach motivation) is sup-
pressed by underlying fear and anxiety (high
social avoidance motivation) (Coplan, Prakash,
O’Neil, & Armer, 2004).
When the demands of the environment are not
conducive with the needs of child’s temperament
(e.g., the lack of the “goodness of t”), adjustment
difculties may arise. For shy children, who are
already predisposed to Negative Affectivity (e.g.,
anger, sadness, fear, physical discomfort, and re-
covery from distress) the school environment of-
ten appears to represent a “poor t” (Coplan & Ar-
beau, 2008). In support of this notion, a growing
body of empirical research suggests that shy chil-
dren are at increased risk for a range of concur-
rent and subsequent academic and socioemotional
difculties, including internalizing problems (e.g.,
anxiety, depression), and negative experiences
with peers (e.g., exclusion, victimization) (see Ru-
bin et al., 2009 for an extensive review). In this
review, we examine the theoretical and empiri-
cal literature pertaining to shyness in elementary
school classrooms. The major purpose of this re-
view is to describe how classroom environments
are related to the adjustment of shy children in
elementary grades. This review adds to the pre-
vious studies on shyness in the classroom (e.g.,
Evans, 2001, 2010) by considering both the char-
acteristics of shy children, as well as teacher and
classroom contributions to shy children’s school
adjustment. This review is unique because it ad-
dresses the needs of shy children, and identies
the characteristics that make these children dif-
ferent from their non-shy peers. We also briey
summarize ndings from intervention programs
aimed to improve shy children’s functioning at
school. Finally, we discuss implications for edu-
cational practitioners and impart directions for
future research.
Why Might We Worry About Shy Children
at School?
With the advent of formal schooling, the school
setting provides a major additional context (af-
ter the home environment) for children’s social
interaction and development. The classroom is a
social context—and the mere presence of peers
may elevate stress among shy children (Coplan
& Arbeau, 2008) which may affect both their so-
cial competence and academic adjustment. For ex-
ample, heightened social-evaluative concerns are
a common marker of shyness in childhood (e.g.,
Crozier, 1995). This may cause shy children to ru-
minate on the social impression they give others,
thus distracting them from class lessons. More-
over, children displaying shy, socially awkward,
and anxious behaviors are more likely to be per-
ceived by their peers as unattractive playmates
and “easy marks,” and tend to be excluded from
social activities (Chen, DeSouza, Chen, & Wang,
2006; Gazelle & Ladd, 2003). Children who com-
paratively spend more time alone in the presence
of available playmates (for various reasons) tend
to evoke more negative responses from peers (Co-
plan et al., 2013).
Shy children are prone to rate themselves as
less physically attractive, less socially skilled,
and less positively in general (Leary, 2001). Neg-
ative peer experiences for shy children may fur-
ther evoke negative self-perceptions and lower
self-esteem, as well as heightened symptoms of
depression (e.g., Gazelle & Ladd, 2003). For ex-
tremely shy children, performing everyday class-
room activities can present additional stress due
to their negative self-perceptions (Leary & Kow-
alski, 1995).
In terms of academic skills, Coplan and Ev-
ans (2009) suggested that shy children’s academic
performance might be affected by their lack of
participation, specic use of language, perfor-
mance anxiety, or lower academic engagement.
Indeed, shy children tend to talk less in class, and
when they do speak they make fewer comments
and typically take more time to respond (Evans,
2001). Shy children’s peers may perceive this re-
luctance to talk as a lack of preparedness or lack
of knowledge, which may contribute to further so-
cial exclusion. Consequently, shy children often
“participate” in group activities by simply watch-
ing others (Coplan et al., 2004), which in turn
sh y Children i n t h e Classroom: Fr o m researCh t o eduCational P raCtiCe 151
limits their opportunities for learning and mas-
tering academic tasks.
Elevated levels of anxiety and self-conscious-
ness might also contribute to the test performance
of shy children, particularly in testing situations
requiring demonstration of expressive vocabu-
lary skills (e.g., Coplan & Evans, 2009, for a re-
view). Curby, Rudasill, Edwards, and Perez-Ed-
gar (2011) suggest that shy children typically
need more instructional feedback and teacher
encouragement, to maintain social and academic
engagement in a classroom. Of note, language
skills may serve a protective function in the so-
cioemotional functioning of shy children (Coplan
& Weeks, 2009). For example, Coplan and Armer
(2005) found out that shy children with greater
expressive vocabulary skills had higher self-per-
ception and lower risk for psychological malad-
justment. However, it has also been suggested
that better language skills may actually increase
shy children’s dependence on teachers, by en-
abling their ability to communicate with teachers
in ways that may seem needy or unnecessary (Ru-
dasill, Rimm-Kaufman, Justice, & Pence, 2006).
Notwithstanding, there is at least some evi-
dence to suggest that teacher ratings of shy chil-
dren’s academic performance and skills are more
negative compared with children’s performance
on standardized tests’ results (e.g., Hughes &
Coplan, 2010). In this regard, it has been sug-
gested that teachers might attribute poorer aca-
demic performance in shy children to their lower
behavioral engagement in class and perceive less
participating children as less academically suc-
cessful. The testing environment may also be an
important factor to consider (Crozier, & Perkins,
2002). For example, Crozier and Hostettler (2003)
found that shy children performed signicantly
worse than non-shy children when tests were ad-
ministered in face-to-face situations, as compared
to standard administration. Awareness of these
issues may assist teachers in determining optimal
testing environments for shy children to “show
what they know.”
Shy Children and Teachers
There is some evidence pointing to the important
role teachers can play in shy children’s behavior
and development in school. It has been suggested
that teachers establish the classroom ecology via
interactions with students and classroom man-
agement style (Brophy & Good, 1974). The inu-
ence that teachers have on shy children may de-
pend on their awareness of shyness as a problem,
as well as their classroom management demands.
Teachers work constantly to manage multi-
ple demands in the classroom, and they may not
always have the resources or time to intervene
in every situation that arises. As a result, many
teachers feel unprepared to effectively manage
the classroom environment, and this decit is
likely to affect their ability to assist all children
(Aloe et al., 2014). Rather, the children receiving
primacy in teacher attention are those displaying
behavior that is disruptive or noticeable and hin-
dering others’ learning (Dobbs & Arnold, 2009).
Indeed, the current literature provides mixed
ndings on teachers’ awareness of shyness in the
classroom. Some research suggests shy children
tend to go unnoticed by teachers, perhaps because
of their quiet nature and decreased likelihood of
being disruptive during class activities (Rimm-
Kaufman & Kagan, 2005). Coplan and Prakash
(2003) observed preschool teachers and children
during teacher-supervised free play and found
that children who most frequently received initi-
ations from teachers were also the most shy and
anxious (as compared with children who initiated
interaction with teachers or spent less time with
teachers). Similarly, kindergarten teachers report
that they would anticipate serious social and ac-
ademic costs for shyness and would be likely to
intervene in responses to such behaviors (Arbeau
& Coplan, 2007). Most recently, Coplan, Bullock,
Archbell, and Bosacki (2015) reported that pre-
school teachers anticipated quite negative social
and academic outcomes for shy young children in
their classrooms (as compared to other common
types of “misbehaviors” in the classroom). How-
ever, among teachers of older children, Rudasill
and colleagues have reported that shy children
tend to receive fewer teacher-initiated interac-
tions (Rudasill, 2011; Rudasill & Rimm-Kaufman,
Teachers’ perceptions of students have been
connected to students’ interactions with peers
(e.g., Rudasill, Niehaus, Buhs, & White, 2013),
suggesting that students seem to be aware of
teachers’ beliefs toward other students, and
that they may behave in accordance with
these beliefs. With this in mind, perhaps most
152 KalutsKaya e t a l . i n TranslaTional i s s u e s i n P s y c h o l o g i c a l s cience 1 (2015)
concerning is elementary school teachers’ appar-
ent tendency to attribute lower intelligence to
shy children (Coplan et al., 2013). Indeed, it has
been suggested that children’s verbal participa-
tion may inuence teachers’ perceptions of in-
telligence (Gordon & Thomas, 1967), which may
make it difcult for shy children to demonstrate
knowledge. This negative academic attribution
puts shy children of all ages at risk for creat-
ing a self-fullling prophecy (Jussim & Harber,
2005), whereby the teachers’ expectations nega-
tively affect shy children’s views of themselves,
which could perpetuate a downward spiral in ac-
ademic performance.
There is some evidence that children’s shyness
is linked to the quality of their relationships with
teachers. A close teacher–child relationship con-
sists of warm and open interactions between the
teacher and the child, and is predictive of positive
school outcomes among all children (Hamre & Pi-
anta, 2001). Although shy children typically have
low levels of conict with their teachers (e.g., Ru-
dasill & Rimm- Kaufman, 2009), they also tend
to form less close and more dependent relation-
ships with their teachers (e.g., Rudasill & Rimm-
Kaufman, 2009; Rudasill et al., 2006). Dependent
teacher–child relationships have been associated
with teacher-rated child anxiety, asocial behav-
ior, and peer exclusion (Arbeau et al., 2010). Of
note, there is some evidence to suggest that close
teacher–child relationships can serve to buffer
a shy child from negative outcomes in schools,
whereas dependent teacher-child relationships
appear to play an exacerbating role (Arbeau, Co-
plan, & Weeks, 2010).
Shy children may also be particularly sensi-
tive to the emotional climate of the classroom
(Gazelle, 2006). Classrooms high in quality
and emotional climate might help shy children
to maintain their focus and improve cognitive
thinking. In contrast, classrooms with low qual-
ity might be detrimental, because they lack the
potential to compensate for temperamental vul-
nerabilities of shy children (Gazelle, 2006). Thus,
it is particularly important for teachers to under-
stand how shyness might be manifested in the
classroom to create classroom environments that
can diminish negative adjustment outcomes for
shy students (e.g., O’Connor, Cappella, McCor-
mick, & McClowry, in press).
Implications for Educational Practice
In terms of implications for educational prac-
tice, there are a myriad of specic strategies that
have been forwarded and evaluated in previous
research that may aid the social and academic
development of shy children, including practices
related to increasing teachers’ awareness about
shyness, described above. For example, when
teachers ask fewer direct questions, and instead
make personal comments, shy children tend to
increase their verbal participation (Evans & Bie-
nert, 1992). Moreover, when shy children are
gradually exposed to potentially intimidating task
(such as making a class presentation), and teach-
ers scaffold and praised with each successive step,
shy children show improved academic and social
performance (O’Connor et al., in press). Such ap-
proaches are reminiscent of graduated exposure
techniques, which can reduce stress of shy chil-
dren (see Cappe & Alden, 1986). Further, Hen-
derson and Fox (1998) recommend that teachers
provide shy children with more activity choices,
and suggest discussing upcoming changes to rou-
tine in advance to allow shy children to mentally
prepare. Finally, Evans (2001) interviewed Grade
1 teachers regarding the strategies used in their
classroom that seem to increase comfort levels of
shy children and promote verbal participation.
Teachers indicated that they would ask shy chil-
dren easy questions that they could answer (to in-
crease child condence), ask questions to shy chil-
dren rst (to ensure they would not be “cut off”
by vocal students), and establishing a personal
relationship with shy children to increase a pos-
itive and trusting relationship. Improving teach-
ing strategies takes effort, but applying learner-
centered techniques can maximize learning for
shy children, while minimizing their anxiety and
Implications for practice can also be drawn
from previous intervention programs designed
to assist shy and anxious children. Child-focused
intervention studies specically designed for shy
children are surprisingly rare. However, there is
some evidence that social skills training (SST)
may be a promising approach. For example, Co-
plan, Schneider, Matheson, and Graham (2010)
evaluated a social skills based early intervention,
designed to assist extremely inhibited preschool-
ers. SST provided initial free play, circle time
sh y Children i n t h e Classroom: Fr o m researCh t o eduCational P raCtiCe 153
(where social behavior and relaxation techniques
were discussed), and songs or games to convey so-
cial skills instruction. Leaders prompted model-
ing, and reinforced specic social skills such as
initiating conversations and approaching another
child. In this study, children in the SST sessions
demonstrated signicant post-intervention de-
crease in observed socially wary behaviors and in-
creased socially competent behaviors at preschool,
compared with children in the control or waitlist
condition. It may be possible for teachers to incor-
porate SST during circle time or other daily activ-
ities, and use strategies during free play to model
and reinforce social skills.
Friends for Children is a cognitive–behavioral
intervention program designed and validated
as a group-based treatment for clinically anx-
ious children (Shortt, Barrett, & Fox, 2001). This
program assists children in learning important
skills and techniques to help manage anxiety. As
shy children often experience anxiety, these pro-
grams may prove benecial to them. Techniques
in these programs include relaxation, cognitive
restructuring (turning “negative red thoughts”
into “positive green thoughts”), attention train-
ing, parent-assisted exposure, and peer support.
Barrett and Turner (2001) examined the integra-
tion of the Friends for Children program into a
school setting for children ages 10–12 (where the
teachers were trained as leaders), and found sig-
nicantly reduced self-rated anxiety of children
post-program, compared with children in a stan-
dard curriculum control group. This study dem-
onstrates that intervention programs aimed at
reducing anxiety can be effectively delivered in
a school-based population and integrated into a
school curriculum.
Recently, O’Connor, Cappella, McCormick, and
McClowry (in press) tested the efcacy of a tem-
perament-based social-emotional learning skills
program (INSIGHTS into Children’s Temper-
ament or INSIGHTS) where teachers and chil-
dren learn about individual differences in tem-
perament, and teachers are given strategies to
potentiate interactions with shy children for opti-
mal outcomes. Results indicated that shy children
performed better on assessments of critical think-
ing and math skills when in INSIGHTS class-
rooms, compared with control classrooms using
a supplemental reading program. Because of the
strong research design used in the test of efcacy
of INSIGHTS (e.g., a randomized trial), the nd-
ings from this study can be interpreted causally,
thus providing additional evidence for the efcacy
of temperament- based intervention programs on
students’ achievement through improving their
behavioral engagement.
Finally, educating teachers about child shy-
ness, associated adjustment issues, as well as
special techniques to help shy children (SST/
Friends for Children) could prove to be a pow-
erful way to provide teachers with the tools to
help shy children (Coplan & Arbeau, 2008). For
example, Rapee et al. (2005) reported that par-
ents who participated in techniques and interven-
tions to assist their shy child found a signicant
reduction in their child’s anxiety one year later.
Therefore, if teachers incorporate teaching strat-
egies into the classroom that are geared toward
shy children, teachers may be able to improve the
well-being and future adjustment of these chil-
dren. Indeed, shy children in classrooms where
teachers were trained to identify shyness in chil-
dren and mitigate anxiety-provoking experiences
for shy children evidenced more behavioral en-
gagement and better critical thinking and math
skills than their shy peers in other classrooms
(O’Connor et al., in press).
Emphases for Educational Practitioners
Collectively, evidence highlights important impli-
cations for educational practice. First, research
on shyness in the classroom demonstrates that
shyness is indeed a risk factor for children’s aca-
demic and social adjustment at kindergarten and
elementary school. Most traditional school-readi-
ness models emphasize development of academic
abilities and skills in children, and tend to un-
derestimate the importance of social skills and
competences (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000).
Therefore, it seems particularly important to de-
vote time and effort to helping shy children to de-
velop social skills to facilitate their successful ad-
justment in school.
In addition, shy students need more support
during transitions to new school environments.
The transition to formal school and from ele-
mentary to middle school can be very stressful
for all students (e.g., Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta,
2000). The kindergarten transition is laden with
new experiences and new people, rendering it a
154 KalutsKaya e t a l . i n TranslaTional i s s u e s i n P s y c h o l o g i c a l s cience 1 (2015)
particularly taxing time for shy children (Arbeau
& Coplan, 2007). The transition to middle school
often means an adjustment to a large, more im-
personal environment where there are fewer close
connections with important adults (Niehaus, Ru-
dasill, & Rakes, 2012). At both of these transition
points it is important to bring together parents,
teachers, and school personnel to create familiar-
ity and small school communities that facilitate
learning and adjustment. Current research in-
dicates that school connectedness (e.g., “feeling
close to people at school”) decreases the risk of ad-
justment problems in middle school students over
and above perceived teacher and peer support
(e.g., Niehaus et al., 2012). Thus, further exami-
nation of this effect for shy students is necessary.
Several directions for future research with rel-
evant implications for educational practice are
also evident. For example, current research on
shyness is moving toward examining the role of
various exacerbating and protective factors that
may moderate relations between shyness and in-
dices of school adjustment. For example, child
characteristics that serve protective roles for shy
children include sociocommunicative skills (e.g.,
Coplan & Weeks, 2009), social competence (e.g.,
Markovic & Bowker, 2014), and temperamental
differences including emotional regulation and at-
tention focusing (Rudasill & Konold, 2008). Fu-
ture work should examine how improving self-
regulation may contribute to better behavioral
and emotional adjustment for shy children. Also,
future research can draw from Bronfenbrenner’s
ecological systems theory to evaluate the effects
of classroom microsystems on social and academic
adjustment of shy children (e.g., Bronfenbrenner,
1997). For example, a shy child may have less
positive academic adjustment in a classroom
with low levels of emotional support (such as low
teacher warmth and responsiveness to children’s
needs), whereas a classroom with a high level of
emotional support may allow a shy child to thrive.
Certain limitations also must be taken into
account with future research. First, few studies
have considered how shyness and adjustment are
associated in non-European American or low SES
samples (see O’Connor et al., in press for an ex-
ception). It has been noted that negative environ-
mental factors including family income, parent
education, neighborhood, and quality of parenting
are related to lower effortful control in children
(Lengua, Honorado, & Bush, 2007). It also should
be noted that shyness might develop along with
learning disabilities or language delays. Future
research should consider how broader environ-
mental factors and personal characteristics con-
tribute to social and academic adjustment of shy
children. The studies with increased complexity
in designs that assess individual (shyness, anx-
ious withdrawal), relationship (mutual friend-
ships, perceived support), and group characteris-
tics (rejection, victimization) reect this emerging
trend (Oh et al., 2008; Booth-LaForce & Oxford,
Finally, there is a growing literature exam-
ining the construct of shyness across cultures
(Chen, 2010). For example, in traditional Chinese
society, wariness and behavioral restraint may be
more positively evaluated and encouraged, viewed
as indicators of social maturity, mastery, and un-
derstanding. However, as a result of the rapid
ongoing change in Chinese society (e.g., toward
a market-oriented economy), the adaptive value
of shy behavior in China appears to be declining
(Chen, Cen, Li, & He, 2005). It will be important
for future researchers to directly examine the role
of culture in the display and implications of shy
behaviors in the North American classroom.
In conclusion, previous research on shyness
has contributed to our knowledge on concomitants
and consequences on development of shyness in
childhood. However, currently there are relatively
few studies on intervention of shyness. Develop-
ment of intervention programs tailored to the
needs of shy children can signicantly improve
their well-being at school. Raising awareness of
shyness among parents, teachers, and educa-
tional practitioners can result in better services
and eventually better outcomes for shy children.
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... This will cause shy people to have great negative emotions such as tension and anxiety, and then produce behavioral reactions such as avoidance and withdrawal, which will have a negative impact on their classroom performance. Empirical research also showed that shy individuals rarely speak in the classroom and have low learning participation (Kalutskaya et al., 2015), have weak oral expression ability (Coplan & Armer, 2007), display a lack of communication with teachers and classmates (Bush et al., 2014), and have tense teacher-student relationships and peer relationships (Kalutskaya et al., 2015). Therefore, the study speculated that there is a significant negative correlation between junior school students' shyness and their classroom performance. ...
... This will cause shy people to have great negative emotions such as tension and anxiety, and then produce behavioral reactions such as avoidance and withdrawal, which will have a negative impact on their classroom performance. Empirical research also showed that shy individuals rarely speak in the classroom and have low learning participation (Kalutskaya et al., 2015), have weak oral expression ability (Coplan & Armer, 2007), display a lack of communication with teachers and classmates (Bush et al., 2014), and have tense teacher-student relationships and peer relationships (Kalutskaya et al., 2015). Therefore, the study speculated that there is a significant negative correlation between junior school students' shyness and their classroom performance. ...
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The present study investigated the influence of shyness on classroom performance by surveying 925 junior school students with the Shyness Scale, Classroom Performance Questionnaire, Fear of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire and Classroom Goal Structure Questionnaire. Correlation analysis showed that shyness was significantly negatively correlated with classroom performance. Mediation analysis revealed that mastery goals partially mediated the association between shyness and classroom performance. Moreover, this mediation effect was moderated by fear of negative evaluation. Compared with individuals who have high fear of negative evaluation, the direct effect and mediating effect are stronger in individuals who have low fear of negative evaluation. This study focuses on shyness and academic research, expands the research field of shyness, reveals the influencing factors and mechanisms of classroom performance to a certain extent, and has reference value for improving the classroom performance of shy junior school students.
... In conclusion, the present findings provide valuable additions to the literature on the relationship between social withdrawal and academic achievement through the elementary school years. These findings highlight the importance of the teacher's awareness for optimal learning conditions for withdrawn children, which may include learning environments with fewer participants, more flexible dates and contexts for assignments and presentations, and more supportive and consistent student-teacher communication (see Kalutskaya et al., 2015). Future studies may aim to develop successful interventions which promote academic performance among socially withdrawn children in particular, and developing tools aimed at increasing academic self-esteem may be a promising path (e.g. ...
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Background: Socially withdrawn children tend to perform poorer academically than their peers. What remains unknown, is the temporal ordering of the two phenomena. Also, substantial gender differences exist in both social withdrawal and academic achievement; thus, it is conceivable that the strength of the relation between them is gendered as well. Aims: To investigate cross-sectional correlates and test directional effects of social withdrawal and academic achievement from primary to upper secondary school, and examine potential gendered effects. Methods: Prospective associations were analyzed from age 6 to age 14 using biannual teacher ratings of children's social withdrawal and academic achievement in a representative community sample (n=845), by means of random intercept cross-lagged panel modelling. Results: In boys, increased academic achievement at ages 8 and 12 forecasted decreased social withdrawal two years later, whereas increased social withdrawal at age 10 predicted reduced academic achievement at age 12. No such effects were seen in girls. Conclusion: Social withdrawal and academic achievement are bidirectionally related among boys, but not girls. Results are discussed in light of need-to-belong theory, and practical implications for schools and teachers are illuminated.
Problematic behaviors impede young children's ability to succeed in the classroom. Examining individual patterns of behavior problems allows researchers to identify profiles of students most in need of support. This study applied latent profile analysis (LPA) among a national sample (N = 2764) of American prekindergarten children and found six distinct behavior profiles, which differed in the severity and type (underactive vs. overactive) of behavior problems and the classroom contexts in which problem behaviors arose (peer, learning, and teacher contexts). About two‐thirds of children displayed positive behaviors across classroom contexts, performed well on assessments of early academic ability, and maintained positive relationships with their teachers, indicating generally appropriate adjustment to the preschool environment. Yet, 24% of children were classified into three risk profiles as they demonstrated elevated and pervasive underactive or overactive behavior problems in multiple classroom settings. Children with these profiles were deemed the most vulnerable in the sample, as those with underactive problems had the lowest academic proficiency, and those with overactive problems showed the most negative relationships with teachers and parents. Implications for practice are discussed.
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While social withdrawal in childhood is typically associated with lower academic functioning, little is known about how motivations for social withdrawal may be connected to academic adjustment in emerging adulthood. The purpose of the present study was to examine associations between social withdrawal motivations (i.e., shyness, avoidance and unsociability) and indices of academic adjustment, including academic achievement (i.e., grade point average [GPA]) and academic motivation (i.e., intrinsic value, self‐efficacy and test anxiety), while accounting for gender and conscientiousness. Participants were 623 emerging adults between the ages of 18 and 25 (Mage = 20.15, SD = 1.67; 79% female) who were currently attending university. Hierarchical regression results showed that shyness was negatively associated with intrinsic value and self‐efficacy. Whereas shyness was positively associated with test anxiety, avoidance was negatively associated with test anxiety. Social withdrawal motivations were not associated with GPA. The findings suggest that some motivations for social withdrawal play a role in university students’ academic motivation, but not their academic achievement.
Shy children can find engaging with classroom demands challenging, inhibiting their development as agentic learners. In the present study, seven Norwegian elementary school teachers with acknowledged success with shy students were observed teaching and then interviewed about their observed pedagogies. A shy child in each class was also interviewed. Both sets of interviews were analysed drawing on concepts from cultural-historical theory: relational expertise, common knowledge and relational agency. Analyses revealed that teachers employed relational expertise to build common knowledge (understandings of their and the child's motive orientations) with each student. Common knowledge then mediated the unfolding of the child's agency as an engaged learner. The study offers unique insights into how shy children can be supported as learners.
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This study investigated the efficacy of the INSIGHTS into Children's Temperament intervention in supporting the academic development of shy kindergarten and first-grade children. INSIGHTS is a temperament-based intervention with teacher, parent, and classroom programs. The participants included 345 children from 22 low-income, urban elementary schools who were randomly assigned to INSIGHTS or a supplemental after-school reading program. Growth-curve modeling showed that shy children in INSIGHTS evidenced more rapid growth in critical thinking and math than their shy peers in the attention-control condition during kindergarten and the transition to first grade. The effects of INSIGHTS were partly indirect through improved behavioral engagement. INSIGHTS enhances the academic development of early elementary school children with shy temperaments.
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The goal of the present study was to explore the moderating role of teacher—child relationships in the relation between shyness and socio-emotional adjustment in early elementary school. Participants were n = 169 grade 1 children (Mage = 76.93 mos, SD = 3.86). Shortly after the start of the school year (September), parents completed an assessment of their child’s shyness. In January/February teachers completed the Student—Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS; Pianta, 2001). At the end of the school year (May/June), child adjustment was assessed by both child and teacher reports. Among the results, shyness and negative teacher—child relationships (i.e., dependent, conflictual) were related to socio-emotional difficulties, whereas close teacher—child relationships were associated with indices of positive adjustment. However, several interaction effects were also observed, with teacher—child relationships moderating the relations between shyness and adjustment. The pattern of results suggested a potential protective role for teacher—child relationships in shy children’s adjustment. Results are discussed in terms of the contributions of teachers to young shy children’s school adjustment.
Compared a treatment that combined graduated exposure to fear-provoking situations and training in other-focused social skills with graduated exposure alone and waiting list control conditions. Ss were 52 adults (aged 20–50 yrs) who reported impairment in their social, occupational, and heterosocial functioning due to extreme shyness. Improvement in social functioning was assessed through self-reported social activities in the community, through judges' ratings of a laboratory-based social interaction, and through therapists' ratings. Ss who received a combination of graduated exposure and interpersonal process training improved significantly more on measures of community functioning and therapist ratings than did Ss who received graduated exposure procedures alone or waiting list Ss. (19 ref)
Like many in the human services professions, teachers are susceptible to the feelings of burnout due to their job demands, as well as interactions with students, colleagues, administrators, and parents. Many studies have identified teacher burnout as one of the crucial components influencing teacher attrition. It has been suggested that self-efficacy is a protective factor against burnout. By way of multivariate meta-analysis, we examined the evidence for classroom management self-efficacy (CMSE) in relation to the three dimensions of burnout: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and (lowered) personal accomplishment. Results from sixteen studies indicate that there is a significant relationship between classroom management self-efficacy and the three dimensions of burnout, suggesting that teachers with higher levels of CMSE are less likely to experience the feelings of burnout. Practical implications, as well recommendations for future research, are discussed.
Research has revealed significant heterogeneity in the group-level peer outcomes associated with anxious-withdrawal, but little is known about possible sources of this heterogeneity during early adolescence. This study of 271 young adolescents (49 % female; M age = 11.54 years) examined whether the concurrent and short-term longitudinal (3 month period) associations between peer-nominated anxious-withdrawn behaviors and three group-level peer outcomes (overt victimization, peer acceptance, popularity) varied as a function of peer-valued characteristics (humor, prosocial behavior, physical attractiveness, athletic ability) and gender, after accounting for the effects of involvement in mutual friendships. Regression analyses revealed that the associations between anxious-withdrawal and peer outcomes were moderated by peer-valued characteristics and, in many cases, gender. For example, anxious-withdrawal was related positively to overt victimization for all adolescents who were high in prosocial behavior. But, anxious-withdrawal was related negatively to popularity for adolescent boys who were high in prosocial behavior and adolescent girls who were low in prosocial behavior. Anxious-withdrawal also predicted increases in acceptance for adolescent girls who were high in humor, but decreases in acceptance for adolescent boys who were high in humor. Several additional moderator effects were found for boys only. The findings highlight the importance of considering the unique constellation of characteristics displayed by anxious-withdrawn young adolescents in studies on peer experiences at the group-level of social complexity.