Most often, when we talk about trends in education, there is a big shift towards student centered learning. By this, we mean group projects, classroom discussions, and even seating arrangements that resemble little pods of students. Naturally, this shift has had positive reactions from students and teachers alike. The only group we fail to ask input from are the introverted students. This blog will explore introverts and what kind of education best serves them.

What is an introvert?

An introvert is someone who is extremely introspective, has a deliberate need for solitude, and is a more effective written communicator than conversational. Introverts also spend a fair amount of time reflecting on the world around them to sort out all the stimulation we face every day.

Solitude is extremely important to introverts. When introverted people are out in the world interacting with other, they become drained from overstimulation. Part of this is due to the consistent reflection and introspection that comes naturally to them. It can be exhaustive to work through every interaction, sound, and environment change. The retreat to solitude allows them to process the day and recharge. This last part is extremely important when it comes to a classroom setting.

Recent shifts

Recent trends in education have turned towards a much more extrovert focused system. You have heard buzzwords like, flipped classrooms, student centered learning, and project based learning, which all focus on group interaction and discussion. For an introvert, this can be extremely exhausting! Especially if every classroom moves towards this type of learning. For introverts, a six hour period of interaction and stimulation can be hard to process. We need to begin doing things to help out students escape this, even for a little while, to recharge and engage in the next lesson.

Here’s a few things we can work on:

Quiet spaces

Make a space or time within your classroom that is for quite, individualized learning. This could be a reading nook or just a dedicated area that enforces a strong “individual, quite learning only” policy. You may find introverted students heading here after a particularly noisy lesson or after a group project. They are going to recharge, process the day, and will be ready to tackle the next group activity in no time.

Think first, then answer

Create a classroom policy that is “think first, answer later.” This gives all students a time to reflect and come up with their own answers before someone else has the opportunity to shout out the first thought in their head. This not only helps introverts process, it also teaches the rest of the classroom how to apply deep learning techniques to even the simplest of tasks.