Silence is an answer, too. The first concern on Episode 305 of Hello Counselor, which aired January 2nd, 2016, involves YeRin, a fourth-grader who has never spoken a word in school. After she transferred from a small preschool to a large one, she felt too shy to talk and the other kids began to tease her about being mute. Now she is known as the girl who doesn’t speak, even though she desperately wants to communicate with her teachers and friends. Although she can speak with her family at home, she finds herself clamming up in school settings.
The hosts and guests Ahn Seonyoung, Kim Jeonghoon and Hwang Chiyeul really do a good thing in helping YeRin find her voice this episode. Because she is known as the girl who doesn’t speak, it would be a huge deal if she ever did say a word after years of staying silent. It’s so hard to change the status quo, and that alone would stress anyone out. Someone also can’t suddenly stop being shy - it’s a slow and trying process. So the hosts encourage her to take small steps, from first speaking with her teacher over the phone to talking with her school friends in person. It was heartwarming to see all the support from her friends, teachers and family. By helping YeRin break through the initial barrier of speaking to people for the first time, the hosts already helped her win half the battle. Now it’s up to her to continue to take the next steps. With her determination to change, it won’t even be that surprising if she became a social butterfly given enough time and space.
This case also raises issues about the way education systems and society in general put so much importance on being outspoken. From participation points in class to presentations, being able to speak out constantly and loudly is necessary for success. This barely leaves any room for students who learn or communicate in different ways. If teachers and fellow students treat these individuals with understanding and patience like the hosts treated YeRin, school would be a much more welcoming and less stressful place for so many people.