The chances are that you probably have at least one introverted student in your classroom if not more. Understanding these students is crucial in helping them also have the opportunity to thrive and shine in your learning environment. This post aims to assist with identifying and understanding what introversion means, and hopefully also remove any misconceptions at the same time. Your students with this personality trait will appreciate it.
Firstly, to clear up this common stereotype, being shy and quiet does not always equal being an introvert. Even though, those two traits are common with introverts, I wouldn't use that solely as a way to identify these students. Another common misconception I often hear include comments such as ‘introverts don’t like people’ – but, this is also not true at all! Introverts generally do like being social too!
So what is the main difference between an introverted student and an extroverted student?
ENERGY and thought processes are the keys to understanding what identifies a student to have the introversion personality trait. It's sometimes hard to spot because each person is different; their level of extroversion vs. introversion may also vary from one person to the next.
INTROVERTED STUDENTS NEED QUIET TIME TO RECHARGE
Introverted students need quiet and alone time to recharge their energy. Being in social settings, enjoyable or not, whether outgoing or a wallflower, it is exhausting for the introverted student. Being around people and socializing drains an introverted person's energy.
QUIET DOESN'T ALWAYS MEAN DISENGAGED
Introverts tend to be quiet at times (not all of the time). In the classroom, this sort of behavior may sometimes appear as though they are disengaged or unmotivated. However, this isn’t true always either, engaged introverted students will remain quiet as they process all of the information that is being presented internally instead.
INDEPENDENT WORK IS WHERE INTROVERTED STUDENTS THRIVE
This doesn't mean that introverted students should never work in a group, in fact it is still important to encourage them to do so whether they like it or not. But, if you want to see the full abilities of your introverted students, they will shine in independent tasks.
INTROVERTED STUDENTS PREFER TO THINK THINGS THROUGH
Similar to the 'quiet period' suggestion above for thought processing, introverted students also require more time when thinking. When asked a question, introverted students may take a bit longer than extroverted students because their thoughts kind of need to walk around for a while before finding an answer. The introverted brain draws on long-term memory and deep thought processing when asked a question, this sometimes can make the individual appear a little slow.
INTROVERTED STUDENTS LOVE STORIES
Something that you may notice about an introverted student is that he/she may daydream every now and again. They may like to develop stories in their heads. You will be able to engage them more with an exciting story in the classroom instead of just spitting out facts. That is one of the reasons why I like to use math mysteries for practice sessions; the story factor to the mundane math component makes it more interesting.
PREFER ONE-ON-ONE CONVERSATIONS & RELATIONSHIPS
Introverted students prefer a one-on-one conversation instead of a group conversation. They also tend to prefer strong one-on-one relationships with fewer people instead of trying to make friends with everyone in the class. It doesn’t mean that they necessarily lack social skills.
In conclusion . . .
It is super important to look at introversion as a different personality type and not an issue that needs fixing. Too many introverts get made felt like they are not in the norm which causes them a great deal of struggle and hurt at school. To help our introverted students thrive, we must understand them and develop strategies to give them the best opportunity to shine at school too.
Read on next week for strategies to help your introverted students succeed in your classroom.
Thanks for reading.
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A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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