Let’s Not Forget About the Introverts In the Classroom

“We may have the rowdy loud kids but what about the quite shy kids in the corner?


When I was younger, I was really shy. Hard to believe right? Yes, so I was the kid who was always in the corner either reading or playing by myself while the other kids were in groups chatting away and the teacher hushed like as if on repeat. You can that I was an introvert but, then that would just be labelling. I was indeed on the other hand very self-cautious and that I had a very hard time making friends or starting a conversation with the other kids. When it came to let say standing in front of the class and just presenting things on the spot, I was just a nervous wreck and I couldn’t just face the class and do what I had to do in order to get my grades.
My introvert personality started to take a huge toll on my school and social life and it was something that my teachers and parents were worried about. Due to my overbearing fear, I couldn’t really ask for help without fearing what were their personal thoughts on me and I had trouble asking my own parents for homework help. Of course all of that changed when parent-teacher conference commenced.


Photo by Tom Woodward/Flickr
Photo by Tom Woodward/Flickr


They suggested that they “get me out there” meaning that my parents should just take me out more and “make” me outgoing and to just build my self-confidence. And to my surprise (which took 2 years in the making) I overcome my shyness and I started to transition from introvert to extrovert. At first I was really apprehensive, but I soon got the memo that it was for my own good. I started to mimic what other people were doing and I was soon starting to blend with the crowd. I started to join sports teams and my class performance was skyrocketing to its climax. And a few years later, I was now owning presentations which now turned into public speaking and then I became an activist.


Why is it hard for introvert children to learn?
In many school systems today, we tend to teach as if being an extrovert is the norm. This isn’t really the case. I would say that in our day and age, its beneficial that all of our children are capable or working with others therefore, we tend to teach them that collaborating with each other is a positive aspect while keeping things to yourself is the complete opposite. You know what they say, you have to deal with people everyday.
Taking it in my perspective, I had trouble with lit circles (taking turns reading in a circle with other children) and that because, I was so scared of other kids judging me I would just mumble. Now looking back at that experience, I could say that if I was somehow raised in an environment where I wasn’t clouded by scary judgements, it would’ve been easier for me to interact with other children.
Photo by lecercle/Flickr
Photo by lecercle/Flickr



Is it ok to be an introvert?
Most definitely! What I mean is that everyone is unique and that it should be cherished. We are a “mosaic” of people therefore, having different types of people, including introverts, are beneficial, it’s just that we see people who are outgoing very successful because, they don’t have that setback of judgement and that they could speak out their thoughts and ideas.
Therefore, it’s crucial that school systems nowadays put some effort to include these introverts instead of relying on gimmicks and trends that try to create extroverts. For instance recess. When I was young, I was not allowed to go to the school library to read but, I was allowed to go outside and play. This act prevents kids from isolating themselves and promote the whole idea that being outgoing is mainstream and should be seen as the norm. Just looking back, I found myself not playing with the other kids instead, I was just paying by myself on the swings. Conclusion, let the kid explore and do what he or she wants.


photo by Greg Williams/Flickr
photo by Greg Williams/Flickr


The reform in many classrooms are just made for extroverts, leaving the introverts in the corners. I’m not saying that I completely agree with what many classrooms do to engage students in class activities, but I would like a change. I would suggest that instead of everyday group work, there should be an independent time of the day where children are allowed to only interact with themselves and just learn by their own curious minds. This can most definitely allow the extroverts the taste and feel of an introvert at the same time promoting independence of one’s self. Secondly, It would great if teachers modified their classroom teaching styles to include everyone in the spectrum. This may include, presentations that will boost self-confidence in public speaking, and at the same time including non-interactive tactics such as reading responses from out of a box anonymously to worksheets or homework questions. Lastly, I would just say that being creative and making kids have options that will help them build their potential regardless of what type of social person they are is one of the great ways to make the school year worth while.
Check out this TED Talk by Susan Cain: The power of introverts

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The creator of Rants of an AP Student. A boy. A blog. And a laptop. I'm your everyday hipster who loves blogging, and promoting social awareness to the world. I'm an activist, an honours student, a blogger, and your everyday all love and free kind of guy.

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