August, 23, 2013
Every class that I've ever taught has had one thing in common...those who willingly, without any encouragement participate, and those who don't. Typically, the ones who aren't comfortable participating are very shy and can tend to fade into the background while the ones who are extroverted can take over the class answering all the questions, being the first to do most things, etc.
That's just how Bible class mimics life though. In life as an adult, there are those who are very comfortable having the attention on themselves and those who are not...introverted personalities vs. extroverted personalities.
The challenge for me, as a teacher, has been how to encourage those children who are not comfortable with eyes being focused on them to participate without making matters worse and causing them to feel even more uncomfortable.
When I was talking with my niece, Lara, about this, she shared a very simple technique with me that she had heard about during the time that she taught in elementary school. This is how it goes. When the students arrive, they are given 3 of something...coins, notecards, whatever. The teacher decides what that item is. I chose magnets - 6 sets of 3 of the same color because I currently have 4 kids in my class. I wanted to have a set for each child plus a couple of extra sets for visitors. (Plus, storage is easy. The magnets stay on the metal pencil bucket that we keep in our classroom.) We call them talking magnets. When the child answers a question or participates, they place their talking magnet on the metal bucket. Once they have used all 3 of their talking magnets, they have to be quiet until everyone else has participated in some way and used all of their talking magnets.
I must say, I began using this technique about 3 weeks ago and it has been a tremendous success! Such a simple idea! Thanks Lara!