Jake age 9 was a quiet child who was often disengaged and would stare out of the window for long periods of time. His class teacher had moved him away from the window but this didn’t improve his attention span, instead he just stared into space. She knew the work was appropriate for his level and was unsure what to do.
I suggested she tried using reflective language “I can see you looking out of the window, I wonder if you are unsure how to start, perhaps it would help if I explained it again” and also with the whole class “It can be hard to ask for help but we all need help sometimes” I also suggested she consider sharing a story of times that she has had to ask for help.
This approach helped Jake and will help others like him who are often quiet, withdrawn and may not offer information in class. For these children, the fear and uncertainty of starting a piece of work can be overwhelming and they often just need the support of an adult to get them started
Simple strategies like these can make a big difference to the children we work with. For more examples see my new book Making a Difference.