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Supporting Shy Students: A National Study of Teaching Practices

The purpose of the project is to document successful pedagogic strategies that teachers use towards students with shyness, and to illustrate the extent to which these strategies are used nationally in Norway.

Which pedagogic strategies that teachers use towards students with shyness can be considered successful? (Illustration: Colourbox)


Shy students appear as silent, shy, anxious and withdrawn. The school life of the children with such difficulties can be challenging. Expectations of social fellowship and active participation in education often enhance children's difficulties and affect school performance, contact with peers and quality of life. International studies show that shy students are often ignored at school. They disturb less than others and usually make themselves as invisible as possible. For teachers it may be challenging to communicate with students with shy behavior. The absence of verbal feedback can make teachers feel unsafe (unsecure). At the same time, these children need extra follow-up at school in order to achieve good social and professional development. There are few studies that document what teachers actually do to children with shy behavior. Thus, we know little about how teachers can help students to get a favorable learning environment that promotes learning and social participation. The project intends to develop knowledge about this.

About the Project

The project contains three subprojects.

  • The first consists of qualitative studies, through observation, interviews with teachers and students and focus group interviews, seeking deep knowledge of favorable pedagogical approaches that teachers use towards shy students.
  • Based on the findings from these studies, a questionnaire is being developed in the second subproject, where the purpose is to illustrate the extent to which the identified pedagogical approaches are used by teachers in Norway.
  • In addition, a third subproject is being carried out focusing on how school leaders help to support students with shy behavior.

The findings from the subprojects will form the basis for disseminating knowledge about favorable pedagogical approaches to professionals and for new studies.


The project is funded through the Research Council's research and innovation program in the FINNUT education sector.


Published May 22, 2018 9:56 AM - Last modified Aug. 19, 2022 10:54 AM


Project Leader Geir Nyborg


Detailed list of participants