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Separating Shy Students

There's an interesting discussion forming around this entry in the Mortarboard blog, which tracks education trends in the UK. In the post, James Wignall argues against the recommendations of a report about improving student behavior and attendance. The report suggests that one way to combat bullying is to provide a separate space for shy students, such as "quiet study rooms, indoor games rooms and separate playground areas for calm and boisterous activities."

Wignall argues that separating students this way only exacerbates the differences between shy and outgoing children, providing even more fodder for bullying and ostracism. However, this commenter, drawing from personal experiences in the classroom as a teacher, takes issue with Wignall's point of view, and ultimately agrees with the findings of the report.

As a shy child myself, I empathize with the desire to have a separate space free of stressful social situations, but I don't really know why that space has to be quite as isolated as the report suggests. It seems to me that in a free-form situation, like recess for example, kids will group up with those they feel comfortable with and engage in activities they enjoy. Perhaps the key here is giving kids a variety of options and letting them choose what they want to do.

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