Are there students in your class you wish you’d hear more from? Consider these strategies to ensure your quietest kids are getting everything they need. Introverted students, like any student, have unique needs. Understanding how to meet those needs in the classroom is key to hearing more from yourNov 01, 2019
Are there students in your class you wish you’d hear more from? Consider these strategies to ensure your quietest kids are getting everything they need.
Introverted students, like any student, have unique needs. Understanding how to meet those needs in the classroom is key to hearing more from your shyer students.
It’s important to understand the difference between shy students and introverted students, especially if you subscribe to the practice of participation points. While shyer students may be afraid to speak out because they fear being judged by their peers, introverted students may not have that same fear. For those introverted students, participation points are unlikely to motivate them. Instead, try these strategies to improve participation from your introverted students.
Institute Wait Time
Introverted students need time to get their thoughts in order. Why? They’re deep thinkers. Create “wait time” after a prompt to allow introverted students — and all students — to gather their thoughts before providing responses. While “wait time” can feel uncomfortable, it can result in higher quality student responses (no more students blurting out the first thing that comes to mind) and greater participation. Facilitating a culture of “think before you speak” also means extroverted students are less likely to monopolize air time.
Give Them a Chance to Check-In
Individual check-ins with students don’t have to be a heavy lift. Invite students to create individual check-in scales for themselves that make sense for them. As wacky as some might be (e.g., on a scale of lemon to lemonade), these can provide a lot of insight into how students are doing and what they might need to be successful. This also allows students the opportunity to get creative about how they share their feelings and what’s on their mind.
Try a Different Warm-Up Activity
Need an alternative to the traditional warm-up? While you’re taking attendance, encourage your students to create simple, low-fidelity expressions of how they’re doing with just two rules: 1) You have to make something, and 2) you don’t have to share/describe it aloud if you don’t feel like it. This activity rewards and recognizes all students (including your introverted ones) for making something, and it’s an opportunity for students to conduct a self check-in. Consider using Play-doh or pipe cleaners as the medium that your students tinker with for their creations. At the end of class, you can have them use the same material to make a new item and then return it all back to a communal tub for the next group of students.
Introverted students don’t need to be “fixed.” Ask what they are interested in learning or doing (and allow them to marinate on the idea for a while) — you might be surprised by the level of thought, depth of passion, and energy they bring back to you. Work with your introverted students to codesign exercises and activities that provide them what they need.