Introverts are often a mystery to those who do not know much about them. Introverted people tend to be shy and sometimes soft-spoken. They also draw their energy from within rather than from the outside world. Although this trait is seen most often in adults, it can also be apparent in children. Many of these children dread being around new people and new situations. This is why schools can be challenging for introverted students. This is especially the case if it is a large school environment that is always bustling with activity and people. However, here are five things that schools can do to help introverted students and make their time in school more enjoyable.
1. Hire School Counselors
School counselors can play a crucial role in helping students navigate the often fraught process of maturing and growing up. School counselors are trained to help kids with all sorts of problems, from academic performance to mental health issues or emotional trauma.
Introverted children may have special needs that only a school counselor can identify. These counselors are mostly psychiatrists who know how to deal with special students and meet their needs. With the rise in mental issues amongst young children, the demand for school counselors has increased, and people are becoming more interested in learning how to become a school counselor? Thus, a highly qualified counselor may not be difficult to find.
2. Make Quiet Time a Practice in Your Classroom
This may sound silly, but it works! Tell your students there will be a designated time each day where they can participate in quiet activities. Then post this again on the board for everyone to see. Let them know that during this time, they can read, write in their journals, do extra work, have food, or do anything else they would like to do without talking to anyone else. This way, they will not feel unduly left out and will be able to think of themselves as being just as capable as their peers.
3. Make a Digital Classroom
Establishing a digital forum for students to engage with other students can help introverts develop more confidence, leading to greater participation in classroom exercises. Post some weekly discussions on the digital forum and ask students to share their ideas. Make the environment appreciative and keep cheering up students every week on their progress. Ask them to compare their last comments with the current ones and see how much progress they have made to increase their confidence.
4. Arrange Private Space Activities
By providing a friendly environment that allows expressing ideas without fear of judgment or embarrassment, you can help introverted students succeed in your class. This way, they will feel more encouraged to participate in classroom activities.
To create a private space, start by getting permission from your administration to use a room for this purpose. Each morning, ask students to get into pairs (introverts work best with other introverts). Each pair should sit facing each other. The students should pick a topic they want to discuss, such as an upcoming test or something of their interests. They may sit and talk to each other for 5 minutes. After this, ask students to switch partners and repeat the process. This way, introverted students may open up and not feel shy when communicating with their classmates.
5. Respect Introverts’ Boundaries
Teachers need to understand that introverts are not necessarily shy or anti-social. Instead, they have a more inward focus than extroverts, who have a more outward focus. Teachers should be careful not to force extroverted personality styles onto introverted students if they want them to feel comfortable taking leadership roles.
Introverts are great listeners and communicators. They think carefully before speaking and are ideal for brainstorming sessions because they can come up with creative solutions. However, this process takes time, so patience is key when trying to help such a student.
6. Give Them Leadership Opportunites
Many extroverts want to be leaders. They enjoy being in the spotlight and motivating their team. Introverts like taking the lead too, but they are less likely to talk about it. This is because introverts function differently than their extroverted counterparts. While an extrovert’s energy comes from outside sources, introverts need time alone to replenish their energy.
Teachers can help their introverted students take on leadership roles by having them create a list of tasks for their teammates at the beginning of each project. When students first start working on projects in the classroom, they are often inclined to take forceful action. Give them a chance to lead at a time that is convenient for them. For example, introverts may be uncomfortable with several people watching or listening as they speak. Let them select any space like a garden or library that works for them, perhaps one that is not too crowded so that they can display their skills and raise their concerns. Ask how you can help. Be sure you understand what your introverted students need from you so they feel supported. By taking an introvert’s perspective into account, you can help introverted students become successful leaders.
7. Do not Grade on Participation
Some students may suffer from low self-esteem due to being quiet and sitting in the back of the room all day during a class. You may have come across students who would rather fail in an assignment than stand up in front of their peers and give a presentation. This discomfort could be due to social anxiety, which is common among introverts. Teachers may assume that students who do not participate in class discussions or answer questions aloud are confused about the material or have nothing intelligent to add to the discussion. However, these students may be more comfortable listening than speaking up in class. Teachers need to change how they grade students. Instead of grading students based on participation, teachers should grade students based on the quality of their work when given an assignment, as well as how well they do on tests.
Being an introvert in a society that values extroverts can be difficult. However, schools can ensure that every student succeeds by creating a friendly environment for introverted students. A positive school environment can make all the difference when it comes to fostering the self-esteem of shy or introverted students.