As human beings, we are divided into two groups: extroverts and introverts. Extroverts are people who are more social, i.e., they love being with others. They draw their energies from outside world and therefore prefer the company of people rather than being alone. Introverts, on the other hand, are group of people who are more comfortable in their own space and avoid gatherings. Introverts are reflective in nature and take time to adjust with new situations. This is why they are poor learners and often struggle with group-based learning.
Introverts are slow learners as they take time to think and respond in classroom activities. Teachers often have to tackle with introverts as they are more passive and hesitant to open up. Their lack of interaction becomes more visible in group discussions that require team work.
Let’s take a look at how educators can make this 'asocial' group of people engage in their classroom activities.
1. Wait for their turn: As a teacher, you need to be more patient and accommodating with an introvert. Introverts are not quick to respond questions. Introverts possess excellent critical thinking skills which is why they never respond in haste. Therefore you should give them the time to process their thoughts. Instead of forcing them to respond, you need to wait until they raise their hand.
2. Use their writing forte: Introverts tend to be good writers. Use this strength in a classroom for group discussions. Ask them to give written analysis of a topic. As they have strong critical thinking skills, you can expect well thought-out answers from them.
3. Do not bring them onto stage: Introverts will be least responsive when they get under the spotlight. They might not speak up a single word if they are in front of a whole class. They want to keep a low profile and you must respect that. Make it more convenient by dealing with them in private. Rather than putting them on center stage, it is better to engage them within their space.
4. Pair them with an appropriate partner: Never pair an introvert with a bunch of extroverts in the hope of getting his participation. Introverts only like their own company or someone with the same temperament. They will be more comfortable with someone who shares the same wavelength with them, like a friend. As they both understand each other, they will get along quickly.
5. Give them a demo in private: Introverts hate group activities out of the fear of failure. As they are shy, they do not want to be singled out. You can make them more comfortable by giving an intro of the topic just before the discussion. A slight introduction of the topic will give them the confidence to participate in a group activity.
6. Utilize their intellectual side: Introverts have bundles of ideas. They have sharp thinking skills which make them an ideal person for brainstorming sessions. So the next time you conduct a group discussion, motivate them to give their ideas for an activity. This will grow their interest in the group discussions and encourage them to participate actively in group-based projects.
7. Give them a meaningful role: Everyone feels obliged when given a responsibility. You can engage an introvert in a discussion by assigning them a task. Ask them to do the calculations for a geometrical equation while others perform the task. Similarly, you can ask them to check the accuracy of a science laboratory activity as a supervisor of the task. These little efforts will make them more interested in the task and they will be more active in the activity when it is carried out the next time.
8. Provide prompt help: Introverts are silent learners. They never put across issues to their teachers. They might have problems with a topic or activity but they will not complain about it unless it is exposed. This might be an underlying factor why an introvert is reluctant to participate in a group discussion or activity. Try discovering any such issues and provide instant feedback and support. Make sure that the guy is comfortable with sharing any problem he might be going through.
(*) Cressida Mary has written several dozen articles on essay & career tips that were published in educational sites. She is considered as a prolific academician in education sector due to his exceptional academic skills. Currently she is associated with essay villa as an academic coach.
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