Students with social phobias will be extremely challenged in the school setting. They will be incredibly withdrawn from the rest of their classmates and any activities that are happening in the classroom. The resulting effect of a fear of social situations will have a great impact on a student’s live “these fears are quite debilitating and impair healthy social, psychological, and educational development” (p375).
What can we do for a student that suffers from social phobias? Smaller classroom size if at all possible would probably benefit this student. Obviously this is hard to achieve, but the social phobia will most likely impact their learning to a degree where it might become more realistic the older the student gets. Allowing this student to get to and from classes when the majority of the other students are not in the hallways will also benefit this student. This might mean showing up to class late and leaving early to avoid the crowds. Creating a safe positive climate in the classroom will also help. Being extremely positive with all students and allowing them the option of passing if you call on them to answer a question. Avoid drawing attention to this student, yet making sure to have very warm personal interactions with them. Trying to make this person as comfortable as possible in the hopes of allowing the student to put their social phobia to the side and learn.
I would connect this to the HOPE standard H1 – Honor student diversity and development. To me this standard means recognizing that each student is unique and is progressing along different lines of development. As a special education teacher, I must be able to see each student as a unique individual in order to figure out how I can be of best service in helping them meet their educational needs. This will often times require thinking on my part that goes beyond excellent lesson planning.
Pressley, M. & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New
York, NY: Guilford Press.