Children as young as seven years old may hesitate to ask questions in school because they worry classmates will think they are “stupid”





Word formation

Change the word in CAPITALS to fill in the blanks.


Adults are often 1. ……. [EMBARRASS] about asking for aid. It’s an act that can make people feel vulnerable. The moment you ask for directions, after all, you reveal that you are lost. Seeking 2. ……… [ASSIST] can feel like you are broadcasting your 3. ……… [COMPETENT].

New research suggests young children don’t seek help in school, even when they need it, for the same reason. (…)

When children themselves are the ones struggling, it seems quite possible they, too, might avoid seeking out help when others are present, (…). Their 4. ……….. [RELUCTANT] could seriously impede academic progress. To improve in any domain, one must work hard, take on challenging tasks (even if those tasks might lead to struggle or 5. …….. [FAIL]), and ask questions. These efforts can be difficult when someone is 6. ……… [CONCERN] with their 7. ……… [APPEAR] to others. Research suggests that we may underestimate just how 8. ………..  [COMFORT] others feel when they ask for assistance.

Such reputational barriers likely require reputation-based solutions. First, adults should lower the social stakes of seeking help. (…)

Seeking help could even be framed as socially 9. ……… [DESIRE]. Parents could point out how a child’s question kicked off a 10. ……… [VALUE] conversation in which the entire family got to talk and learn together. Adults could praise kids for seeking assistance. These responses send a strong signal that other people value a 11. …….. [WILLING] to ask for aid and that seeking help is part of a path to success.

In order to read the whole article/check your answers, go to: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-kids-are-afraid-to-ask-for-help/


Key: 1.embarrassed; 2. assistance; 3. incompetence; 4. reluctance; 5. failure; 6. concerned; 7. appearance; 8. uncomfortable; 9. desirable; 10. valuable ; 11. willingness




  • vulnerable – weak and without protection, with the result that they are easily hurt physically or emotionally
  • to downplay – try to make people think that it is less important or serious than it really is
  • to impede – to interfere with or slow the progress of
  • to frame – to express something choosing your words carefully; to carefully plan or organize ideas, suggestions, methods, etc., in a particular way


Practice makes perfect

Read and decide if the sentences below are True or False?



1. Ivy League universities provide some networking opportunities which are not unique.

2. The ones applying to Ivy League universities need to present themselves as much better than other applicants.

3. Admissions requirements have become more rigorous.

4. If you are the student who has the highest grades in his or her graduating class in high school, you shouldn’t worry that your application will be rejected.

5. Unless you are a person who’s been passionate about something and/or has taken part in some community work, you don’t stand a chance of being admitted.

6. In spite of the fact the stakes your application will be rejected are high, applying to Ivy League universities is an invaluable lesson.


Key: 1. 1F;  2T; 3F; 4F; 5T; 6T




  • What comes to mind when you think of your school years?
  • What are your best and worst memories of school?
  • Did you have to wear a school uniform?
  • Why do you think so many children don’t like school?
  • What’s the most important thing a school should teach children?
  • Agatha Christie said: “Nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them [so] they seem…unable to produce their own ideas.” Do you agree


Explore more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


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