Motivating Introverted Students to Excel in the Classroom

Motivating Introverted Students to Excel in the Classroom
The Editorial Team October 17, 2012

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In busy and overcrowded classrooms, quiet students can be overlooked and fall through the cracks. If teachers are not careful, extroverted students will take over the class discussions and the group projects. There are several techniques a teacher can use to help introverted students excel in the classroom and gain confidence.

Introverted learners vs. extroverted learners

Extroverted students verbally answer every question, participate in group discussions and thrive at oral reports. They often get in trouble because they talk when they should be listening. On the other hand, introverted students enjoy solo or small group projects. They often write clear essays and rarely volunteer to answer questions in class. If left unattended, introverted students can disappear behind an unsociable exterior.

In most classrooms, students are divided evenly between the two temperaments. Wise educators schedule one-on-one meetings with each student at the beginning of the year to determine individual temperaments. With this knowledge, teachers can help every learner succeed.

Create an active learning environment

Students thrive in an active learning environment where they can participate. It’s important for teachers to give students the chance to participate whether or not they are comfortable talking in front of their classmates.

To encourage quieter students to feel more confident talking in front peers, teachers should enforce a no teasing rule. Additionally, students should be allowed to talk without interruption. If an introverted student feels threatened, he or she will not volunteer to speak up again.

Although the quiet student in the back of the room appears to be unmotivated, he or she may simply be an introvert who is quietly processing the lecture. To make the learning environment non-threatening, include a mixture of large and small group projects as well as individual work time.

Utilizing group settings

Group projects foster teamwork and cooperation. In groups, though, educators must monitor the team members’ temperaments. A group full of extroverts can talk up a storm but may not complete the project with much depth. A group of introverts may write an insightful paper that no one wants to share in front of the class.

Dr. Tami Isaacs suggests educators mix learning temperaments in each group. Introverted group members will:

  • quietly lead
  • convey their thoughts in a clear and logical manner
  • explain the material to the group
  • keep everyone on track
  • bring depth to the discussion

Including introverts and extroverts in group project allows every student to succeed. It also helps introverts to realize that they are important team members.

Effective motivating techniques

While extroverts thrive on public recognition and praise, introverts prefer private praise and recognition.

Educators can motivate introverted learners by making an effort to leave positive remarks on submitted essays or asking students to stay after class for a private word. These techniques motivate students to continue pursing excellence.

Private motivators also convey an educator’s appreciation for all students. Educators who make a noticeable effort to value all students help to cultivate the qualities that enable every student to find success in and out of the classroom.

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