Five tips for helping introverted students
There’s no doubt about it, group learning can be a good way to encourage teamwork, forward thinking and leadership skills development. But sometimes students may be introverted and do not respond well to this method of teaching.
In this article, we explore some of the ways that teachers, teaching assistants and support staff can help introverted students during their learning, without putting them into situations they may not be comfortable in.
Give introverted students time to think
All students need time to fully think through their answers, without having the added pressure of their peers waiting for their reply. This is especially true for introverted students, and if you want to help them, give them time to script an answer before asking them.
One way to do this would be to plan in “pair sharing” time at the end of the lesson. Ask the students to split into pairs, and set them a task that they will share at the end of the class. If one student is more confident, they will be able to share, but the contribution from both will be recognised.
When introverted students are left to their own devices, they can often produce the best work in the class. They’re putting their powers of concentration to the test, and they’re focusing on the task at hand.
Where possible, show subtle praise for the student and use the way they’re acting as a teaching example for the rest of the class. But remember, they won’t enjoy being the centre of attention, so think about the way your phrase your praise before saying anything.
Make more room for quiet time
When collaborative learning comes into the classroom, introverted students can often feel drained and demoralised from the constant interaction with other students. They may play a role at the start, but it’s taking them out of their comfort zone and may have a negative impact on their learning.
One way to make them feel more comfortable and supported is to make more room for quiet time during the lesson. They have the time to think about a topic before getting involved and discussing it. If you’re incorporating technology into the classroom, then consider asking students, in silence, to create a slide on their chosen subject. Once they’re finished, you can present them to the rest of the class and open up the topic for discussion.
Don’t force participation
Extroverted students are great at getting a conversation started, but sometimes, introverted students need a little more encouragement. However, they don’t want to be the focus of attention, so it’s important to not force participation.
However, it is often necessary for students to work together in groups. There are several ways to help introverted students in this situation, including:
- Explain that every student will get a turn when it comes to group presentations, there won’t be any laughing or negative responses
- Ensure that all students understand that they are responsible for helping others with their learning
- Mix groups with introverted and extroverted students, so every student has the opportunity to contribute, without having to take the lead
- Encourage students to continue writing things down, so they can get their ideas in place without a potentially intimidating discussion
Engage students through different channels
Another way to encourage, support and guide your introverted students is to use different channels for learning and participation. We all understand that different students have individual learning styles, so it’s crucial that multiple options are available.
For example, an introverted student may be more participative if they are able to show their learning through written reports or online presentations, whereas an extroverted student may be more inclined to act out or give a speech about their chosen topic.
For more information and advice on improving your teaching style and improving the education of pupils, take a look at our articles below:
- Prepare ahead of time: activities to fill free time during lessons
- Advice for first time teaching assistants
- Ways to improve your teaching and win over students
In summary, with a little extra care and attention, teachers, nursery practitioners and support staff can help introverted students in their on-going development, without making them feel uncomfortable in their surroundings.
If they are able to develop new ways of learning and understand that they are part of the group, then they will be happier during their learning journey.
Remember, if you’d like to make the jump into education or would like to change direction in your career, we are here to help. We regularly update our job board with available positions that desperately need filling. If you would like more advice on supply teaching and the benefits of this type of work, simply get in touch with us on 01329 560 600 or email us here.