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Speaking up for the quiet ones: Voicing the perspectives of shy students in middle schools

This project will examine the experiences of shy students in middle school.

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Shyness is a temperamental trait that comprises the disposition to be wary and self-conscious in situations of perceived social evaluation. Middle school can be a particularly challenging environment for shy students, where stressors include working with different teachers, group work and speaking in front of the class. Shy students are therefore prone to school-related difficulties, such as lack of engagement, less positive teacher-student relationships, and poorer academic performance. There is a however dearth of studies of shyness among students in Grades 7 to 12. The main purpose of this project is thus to advance knowledge about the educational experience of shy students in middle school– focusing on their perspectives on the unique demands of this educational context.

About the project

The project is divided into two main phases. Phase one will identify the processes that contribute to shy students’ successful engagement as learners, as well as risk and protective factors that may impact upon this success. The data collection will consist of qualitative interviews with teachers and students. The second phase is a large-scale quantitative study. A survey based on the first phase will be applied a well as other assessments. The purpose of the second phase is to find out how different school environmental and student variables, such as academic achievement, social participation, school refusal, and loneliness, influence shy students’ school adjustment.


The project is financed through the Research Council of Norway's program for research and innovation in the education sector (FINNUT).

Published Aug. 19, 2022 10:57 AM - Last modified Aug. 30, 2022 11:31 AM