Three or four of the students in one of my third grade classes are apparently "mute," according to their classmates. Whenever I call on one of these little mimes, their classmates always shout "Teacher Vicky, So-and-so doesn't talk, even in Chinese!" Statistically, I find it unlikely that one third grade class at a small school has more than one child who physically cannot speak. The more probable explanation is that Taiwanese children are, on the whole, painfully shy and fearful of making mistakes; thus, they avoid speaking if at all possible, especially in English.
Today, however, one of my little mutes decided to say "I like cake!" during class today, making my heart take a little leap. This was, of course, tempered by the fact that another child cried for the entire class period after being asked to say the same thing.