The new school year is fast approaching and it’s time to solidify your classroom goals. May I suggest that you make this: The Year of the Introvert. Last school year, I dedicated my teaching practice to helping introverts share their gifts in the classroom. As a classic introvert, I realized how much my introversion led to teachers and fellow students misunderstanding my academic abilities. It pained me to think that I could repeat history for my own students.
Here are a couple of things I learned from my introverts.
Introverts love to speak in class.
Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily make you a shy person. Generally though, introverts respond better to predictable, routine oriented participation. I tried to structure the lesson so it always started with a warm-up review. That way, students already knew the answers to the questions and when I was going to asking them.
Introverts don’t hate you or your class
If a student is introverted, they often not overly expressive. They can come off as, rude, cold, loners. I found that checking in with students one-on-one was a more accurate way of accessing how they were doing.
Introverts know the answers
Introverts like to have time to process and develop a complete answer. They don’t traditionally do well with delivering on the spot. I tried to ask a question and give the entire class time to develop a response. Sometimes this involved writing thoughts or simply waiting ten more seconds than usual.
It’s ok to cater to introverts
Many teachers try to “cure” introverts. The fact is that there are many productive non-extrovert oriented approaches to learning. One of my favorites was to use a backchannel (like TodaysMeet) to have a silent discussion of a topic.
Don’t box in an introvert
Kids change more than adults. They slide between being introvert and extroverts at alarming speed. Don’t be surprised when your prized introvert suddenly turns into an extrovert. Create lessons that speak to both introverts and extroverts.