Allow introverted students to thrive

Several decades ago there was a young girl who did not seem as all her peers: she was not as active as the environment expected her to be, she did not spend leisure playing outside with her friends, she was not talkative, instead this cute girl enjoyed quiet and calm atmosphere. Growing up to the age of 7, she was said it was time to open the doors of school. The girl was imbued with excitement and wanted to study hard. However, her pious beliefs about schooling were not lived up because she felt pressure both from her first teacher and new classmates.

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Photo credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi1bDAPxoWY

One of the obstacles in an educational society, which I want to amplify in today’s blog, is the marginalization of introverts’ learning style. From my personal experience (since I define myself as an introvert), I have realized that in most of cases introverts are misunderstood by their peers and educators. For this reason, I decided to depict the nature of introverted students and to give some useful tips for teachers.

 

Firstly, the most common occasion when introverts’ learning style is almost fully ignored is group works. Usually introverts do not contribute much in such tasks as group works and discussions, and it is not for the reason they do not want to share opinion with others or they have nothing to bring to the table. It happens because introverted students tend to listen carefully for others’ opinion, think and analyze it for themselves, and only after that decide whether they should offer their thought or not. However, extrovert learners and instructors are likely to suppose this sort of students is too slow, passive, or inane since it seems like they do not care about the task at all meanwhile introverts try their best to understand the topic and produce great idea which deserves to be underpinned. So, in order to encourage introverts to become active in group works, making them leave their comfort zone, it is better to set special role (as note taker, time manager, monitor, etc) for each member of the group.

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Photo credits: http://www.spinedu.com/quiet-susan-cain-introverted-students/#.WJwKffkgXIU

Secondly, introverts’ learning style requires time to think. It is normal for extraverts to think aloud during their speech as they are more likely have the ability to think in a very quick pace, while introverts need to be given a chance to organize and cull what to say. For instance, when an instructor asks me a spontaneous question I start panic even if I am familiar with all assigned readings, and there appears the felling I cannot respond quickly. Thus, it ends up with messing up everything when actually I know the right answer. That’s why I believe teachers should let introverted students to take a minute to formulate their speech instead of pushing on them by requiring immediate answer.

Experienced what is being a student like, I came to an inference that introverted students should be allowed to be themselves simply because it is their nature, and there is nothing wrong with them. Let’s appreciate the diversity of students’ temperaments in a classroom and assist both introverts and extraverts to gain knowledge in equal rights.

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4 thoughts on “Allow introverted students to thrive

  1. Dear Gulnar,

    I am so pleased that you raised this issue, thank you for the blog post! It is connected with the presentation of Andrey and Sharapat. I imagined myself while reading your post, from both sides. I was an introverted student at school, it was difficult for me to speak up my opinion to the class. As the time was moving forward, I began to change my attitudes toward this. I started to push myself to speak, and it really helped. I became more confident after many tries. Now I am on the side of ambiverts, I have the times when I do not want to participate in discussions, and vice versa. From the side of a student, I would appreciate if a teacher and my mates understand it and do not push me to speak. Otherwise, I would have a mess in my mind. Have you tried sometimes to leave the introverted side? What were your emotions at that moment?

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    1. Dear Ayana, thank you for paying attention to the post and sharing your personal experience. Regarding the question whether I tried to leave the side of introverted students, I would say I used to, and sometimes it worked excellent, but in other cases it failed. In my opinion, it all depends on my feeling in a particular situation or environment. For example, when I have something which I think really matters at that moment, I do not usually simmer down untill I say my idea. Usually, such things happen when I am in a good mood and extremely interested in the topic. So, at such moments I am very happy because I feel I can managed with introversion.

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  2. Thank you Gulnar for you post! Teachers should learn more I learn more about human nature. They should be able to see the difference in students’ temperaments. Some are introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts. They should be able to to create a classroom environment that fosters learning for everyone! It requires a certain techniques, methods. One of it was already mentioned by you is when a teacher assignes roles in a goup (note-taker, reporter, timekeeper).
    Even though you consider yourself as an introvert don’t think that you would not be heard by a teacher. My advice is to inform your teacher on your thoughts and preferences… I am sure that you will be heard and a teacher will find a certain trajectory for you…

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  3. This is a great extension of the class discussion we had on introvert issues (5/5). As a teacher, I can see how those active verbalizers, those students who share their ideas often and loudly, make my job easier because I can check their understanding. Unfortunately, the first assumption teachers might make about the quiet students in class is that they don’t know or don’t have any ideas. Of course introvert students need to work to “come out of their shell”, but I agree that part of our job is perhaps to educate teachers to treat students individually. Your post is a clear step in that direction.

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