The opposite of “shy” … & how to cure it

One really useful technique for problem solving, especially when you are up against a brick wall, is to ask “What’s the opposite?” and then look at it from that point of view.  Very often it brings up a whole new way to solve your problem.

For example I’ve been trying to figure out an illustration for “summer” and how to make it different from “sunny” or “beach”. I was stuck.

So I thought “What’s the opposite?”  The opposite of “summer” is “winter”. And is it ended up, illustrating “not winter” was much easier, as you’ll see in vol. 11, than illustrating “summer!”

What to do with shy kids?

One problem teachers often have is what to do with”shy” kids.   (It also seems to be that every country thinks that being shy is a speciality problem of only their own country!)

So let’s ask, “What’s the opposite?”

Well, the opposite of “shy” is  “being confident”.  You cant be shy and confident.  If you aren’t confident then you are shy, and if you aren’t shy you’re usually confident!

So to “cure shyness”, lets think  how to “boost confidence”.

And as it happens, that’s really easy.  There’s only one way to do it, and it’s really simple!

Check out this video I  did for my students who are learning Japanese:

And in Genki English this is why we put so much emphasis on the “I can” attitude.

And then work your way through the curriculum, every lesson is designed to get the most shy kids really confident, and of course the best lesson of them all is the Superhero lesson!

What do you think?  Do let us know in the comments!

Be genki,


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

16 Responses to “The opposite of “shy” … & how to cure it”

  1. Tanya Watanabe

    Ooh. I really liked your chatting video. Great for getting to know you. (Good advice too.)

  2. Patti Lecron

    What a boost! Thanks Richard!! This advice applies to more than just language lessons!!

  3. Nena

    I agree with Patti…it applies to life in general…though, taking that first step (when your shy and lacking of self esteem ) isn’t easy.
    I love the blossom trees, BEAUTIFUL!

  4. Jacs

    This is so true for many things, in the beginning when I first started to teach in 2009 I spent hours trying to write the perfect lesson plan, now after doing so many lessons I can write a quick plan and not even need to look at it during class as it is all in my head!
    There have been good classes and bad classes and you can see which games work and which games the kids love and want to play over and over again.
    I have no qualms about singing (Let alone talking!LOL) in front of Mums and kids.
    I think the class the children all love the best is “Doctor! Doctor!” especially when the guy falls over in the video! Teaching this class really boosts your confidence as the kids love it!
    Even a shy teacher and a shy kid can participate in this class! Also the kids may be shy but the shy ones are still taking it all in and eventually they start to say more and more in class.

    Richard I love how the birds sing at the end of your vid!

    Off to teach “I can do it!” now for the first time.

  5. Carla Chazottes

    Hello Richard, you’re just right, if you give confidence to the students, if they feel ok, happy during the English lesson, everyone participates, and if there is still one who doesn’t dare to speak, well than he or she just whisper and little by little, they will talk.

  6. fara mor

    Hi dear
    I doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo appreciate your nice pieces of advice.Constructive,informative and …………..

  7. olga

    Hey Richard, thanks for explaining things so simply! i just love your “takeiteasy” way of doing everything (at least in your videos). Tomorrow my shy kids will feel more confident due to the fact I`ve seen this video and have made some conclusions…
    Special thanks for showing that marvellous blossom! (is that sakura?)
    take care

  8. richard

    That’s great to hear Olga! And yes, that is sakura! 🙂


    Thanks alot Richard for all you do for us…now I enjoy teaching english and kids enjoy learning it!Thanks for your energy and for inspiring us to love what we do as you do!!!Now I travel to Japan…its beatiful!!

  10. Markus Hayter

    Very good advice. It is nice to be reminded of such things, as unfortunately they can be easy to forget. I am living in Japan now and I wasn’t as proficient as I thought I was. Thus, my confidence declined. Next time I take a trip independently, I’m going to go with more confidence. Much obliged.

  11. Elmira

    Hi . Richard
    Thanks a million for such great inspiration methods and your advises
    Since I found your website I’m addicted
    even my student time they to go out of classroom still on their heads is the songs they just learnt
    You’re songs are amazing and very simple to learn
    For Xmas we had party and one of the song it was
    “How many days to Christmas ”
    Outstanding !
    Thanksgiving song too
    Thanks again

  12. Duong Phat

    Hi Richard. I have a kid and he was not listening to my words. In the class, he stands at a distance with me and when I ask kids to sit near me, he refused. At the end of class, he was not good enough to get a sticker so I didn’t give him. He yelled and tried to kick and push the chairs, I say “stop” but he want to do that more, I sit down and ask him “do you want to learn with me” but he keep silent. So today I tell his mom that I let him go. Some kind of mix feeling, Is him a shy boy?

  13. Nellya

    To be so ”takeniteasy” you need to be veeery confident. What’s more, to have an ability for human respect. Thank you, Richard. Stay genky)

  14. Serge

    Yeah, it is sometimes useful to look at things from their opppsite. Thanks a million for what you, Richard, and all the genki teachers do!

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