Shyness is not an unusual trait among school children, with many choosing to stay quiet rather than risk being singled out in front of a class.
 
And is it any wonder when 88% of students are in classes with over 20 students and 22.3% of students in classes of 30 or more. In circumstances like this, it’s impossible to give each individual his or her fair share of time to practice speaking out in front of their peers.
 
However the scary truth is that the more a child is overlooked because they don’t speak out, the harder it becomes for them to get involved not only in the classroom and in making friends in the schoolyard, but down the line in college and even as they pursue a career.
 
So what can be done?
 
Well, while shyness can be a natural part of a person’s personality, studies have found it is something that can be caused by their environment and therefore can also be reversed.
 
Most babies between six months and three years will cling to loved ones but by socialisng them early in mother and toddler groups, they learn how to interact with others in a safe environment. This means that when they start montessori or primary school, the change is not so terrifying.
 
Older children can benefit hugely from speech and drama classes. Rather than creating precocious children, the process of drama can actually bring a child out of their shell and help them develop a sense of self worth and confidence that they cannot get through other mediums. 
 
Unlike school, you are never wrong in a drama class. Children are encouraged to develop their creativity and express themselves in a way that it is not possible or prudent in other teaching environments.
 
Drama classes are not the ultimate solution, by any means; however, it helps to provide a choice which often is what has been taken away. They are able to grow a quiet confidence that can help them choose to blend into the background, as is their prerogative, but when required and desired, they are confident and competent enough to speak up and be heard.
 
Jill Anderson LLSMD trained with the Leinster School of Music and Drama where she received qualifications in Speech and Drama, as well as Teaching. Before establishing the Jill Anderson School of Speech and Drama, she taught in many stage schools around Dublin. For more information about the courses on offer, visit www.speechdramadublin.com.

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