It’s true that not everyone in your Bible study group is going to be outgoing and gregarious. In fact, you’ll probably have some adults who are content to listen to everyone else’s discussion while remaining absolutely (or mostly) silent. How can you go about drawing them into the conversation in your group?
- Use “Pair & Share” – If you want to know more about this, see my post from last Monday where I discuss this in a longer post. Essentially you place people in groups of 2 so they can respond to a question or assignment, then report back to the group. It’s very helpful for getting shy people to talk.
- Ask opinion questions – “Tell me how this makes you feel” and “What do you think about…” questions give a shy person a reason to answer – because the answer cannot be wrong. The answer is based on their thoughts, feelings, and/or experiences. There is no incorrect answer, and that helps shy people take a risk and answer out loud.
- Place people in “buzz groups” – These smaller groups of 3-4 group members allow a shy person to speak up, but not necessarily in front of the entire group that could be dozens or more in number.
- Jot down answers. If you want to get a shy person to talk, ask the group to write responses to questions on a sheet of paper. Once the person has written their thoughts, they are more likely to share them and contribute to the discussion. Think of the writing assignment as the “prep” the shy person needs to feel confident to speak up.
Ken – These methods are extremely important for the engagement of all group members. I would add another which is to allow adequate time for them to form an answer and build up the courage to speak. For many leaders, it is very uncomfortable to allow several seconds of silence before jumping in with their own answer or moving on to the next question. However, this time can be important for some members who are shy or don’t speak out the first thing that comes to mind. Thanks for writing on this topic.