Teaching and Accommodating for Introverts
Teaching and Accommodating for Introverts
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 by Andilynn Feddeler

About 50% of students are introverts, and even more have introverted tendencies. It’s a common misconception that introverts are afraid to speak in class, but they often would just prefer to keep to themselves. Current curriculum favors extroverts by encouraging or requiring active participation, which can help shy learners open their horizons, but may have little effect on introverts. That’s why it’s important to understand how introverts think and what might lead them to greater success in a school system that seems to favor outspokenness. There are many useful tips for helping introverts feel comfortable in the classroom:

  • Recognize that there is a difference between shyness and introversion. Shy students have anxiety about what others think of them; introverts prefer quieter environments. These are not the only disparities between the two, but they are fundamental in understanding various types of students.

  • Because introverts are deep thinkers, it can be helpful to give them adequate time and resources for processing information. Being put on the spot is unsettling, and can diminish a student’s eagerness to participate.

  • Although it’s nearly impossible to develop a personalized curriculum that recognizes each student’s individual characteristics, taking a little extra time to understand student preferences can go a really long way.

  • Emotional security is a large factor in an introvert’s comfort level. Embarrassing students or letting them believe that because they learn differently, they are inferior, is extremely detrimental to students’ well-being. Accept all students for how they absorb information best and give validation when necessary.

  • Constant stimulation is tiring for introverts, so allowing students time to reflect on their work can give a much-needed break or help develop skills in self-evaluation. Going to school is hard enough, but when group work and required participation are added, it can sometimes become overwhelming.

  • Punishing students for preferring a certain learning method might just make them less enthusiastic about participating. Although cohesion in a classroom is important, so is student happiness. Standardization inherently doesn’t work for everyone.

This topic has been the subject of many well-informed debates about teaching methods and how to best approach introverted students. If you’re interested in learning more about this, take a look at the articles and thinkpieces below.