When I have that kid who won’t participate should I always assume it is because they don’t feel safe? What should I do in cases where they just won’t participate. Should I always assume it’s lack of confidence, fear, or anxiety?
Great question and one that I don’t think we can answer with a one sized fits all. I would certainly have that on my radar as there is something there holding them back. Having a discussion with that student to build rapport and possibly trust can only help get closer to the real challenge.
I have students who are “shy” but show confidence in their work. I have started to give them other ways to “communicate” and I showcase their work for them, instead of making them walk up and talk. I do respect the fact that my middle schoolers have a whole different perspective to “being in the limelight” and sometimes they don’t want to see themselves as someone who “does math well”.