Studies show that 40% of students are introverts.
Introverted students often appear reflective or reserved. They may be slow to act. They tend to stick to a small group of friends and typically prefer to do activities alone because they feel drained after interacting with a lot of people. Introverted students often learn better in ways that don’t involve a lot of peer-to-peer interaction.
It’s no surprise then that introverts can have a harder time feeling included in classroom activities. Here are three simple ways teachers can help their introverted students feel more comfortable in the classroom.
Give students a personality test
Personality tests can help students learn more about themselves. For instance, these tests can give insight into why students feel or act in a certain way. And they’re a great way for teachers to learn how their students differ and what their learning styles are.
Knowing this can help teachers strategize lesson plans to better accommodate different personalities in the classroom.
16 Personalities is a free personality test that dives deep into introversion and extroversion, along with other traits like diplomacy, empathy, and ingenuity.
Another fun (and free) test is the Four Animals Personality Type Test. Students answer ten questions and their personality type is compared to four animals. Then, the test explains why their personalities are most like that animal. This could be a fun way to introduce the concept of personalities and differences to young children.
However, it is important to avoid typecasting students as much as possible. While a personality test may say a certain student is an introvert or extrovert, it is common for students to oscillate between the two personality types.
Aim to get a feel for your students' natural personality type, but don’t assume that will be their personality all of the time.
Create private or small group workspace
Most introverted students prefer to work alone.
So, consider giving students the option to work on certain assignments by themselves or in groups. This gives introverts and extroverts alike the option to work in a way that’s most comfortable to them.
However, on projects that require group work, consider putting introverted students in smaller groups or assigning them only one partner. This can help your introverted students develop the social and cognitive skills needed to succeed in the real world while also giving them a chance to develop stronger friendships.
Another way to help introverts feel more comfortable in the classroom is to incorporate a quiet workspace. Introverts tend to feel drained (or even anxious) when they’re around big groups of people or are required to interact with people they don’t know. This can prevent them from learning or working effectively.
Or, consider going one step further and furnishing a relaxation space. Relaxation spaces are designed to offer students privacy and a reprieve from anxious or stressful situations.
Most relaxation spaces are outfitted with soft, cozy furnishings, soothing colors and calming devices like fidget spinners, stress balls and coloring books to aid in de-escalation.
Welcome individual conferences
Individual conferences are a great way for teachers to check in on their introverted students and develop a plan for their success.
This one-on-one time can help develop a stronger bond between you and your students – and can have a lasting impact on your students’ confidence. These check-ins can be virtual or in-person, but consistency is key to ensure they’re effective.
For example, most introverts don’t raise their hands in class because they’re too shy to speak or afraid to give the wrong answer. But regular check-ins that assess how they’re feeling or how they can be better supported in class can help build up their confidence and empower them to speak up.
All students have different personality types that can affect their learning styles and social skills daily. Giving introverted students the space to express their personality and providing classroom activities that make them feel comfortable can help aid their development – and their learning.
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