One of the most rewarding parts of being a teacher is the many kinds of students and personalities you have the honor of coming across in the classroom. They can be so different, but when it comes to teaching, identifying the introverts and the extroverts will be key to developing methods to make sure both types of learners are reached.
Introverts and Extroverts
Many classrooms today depend on group activities, partner work, and stations to promote differentiation. This allows the teacher to monitor, move freely and guide all the students throughout the class. However, this isn’t the ideal environment for the introverted student, who tends to prefer more quiet and independent activities. Fortunately there are ways to manage your class to include all personality types.
Define Class Participation
Often, students learn that class participation means actively speaking and answering questions aloud in class. This is ideal for extroverted students who crave the spotlight and active engagement with others. Introverted students, conversely, feel anxiety about speaking up and engaging with classmates. Instead, give introverted students choices in the way they are required to participate. Create a place where students can submit written questions about the lessons every day. Encourage students to take on other roles in the classroom, like collecting or passing out assignments or managing supplies. Welcome and encourage all forms of class participation.
Vary Instructional Strategies
Instead of always asking students to work in groups or partners, be sure to vary your instructional strategies. Plan equal amounts of group time, partner work, and even independent work so students can experience a variety of learning formats.. Create groups based on your students’ personalities, learning styles, skills and knowledge.. Matching introverted students with each other allows them to work quietly together. Mixing introverts with extroverts can possibly naturally balance the group.
Balance Active and Reflective Assignments
Keeping students engaged is always a challenge. One method to keep students motivated and focused is to change instructional strategies throughout class. If students begin the period with a short individual assignment, then the next section of the lesson should be a more social and sharing activity. For every section of class that’s based on group or partner-work, balance it with a personal reflection assignment directly after it. This will help students of both personality types know that they aren’t going to be stuck working in a method that’s not comfortable for them for very long. Regular changes keeps students from losing focus or becoming bored.
Your class melting pot definitely creates a teaching environment that can be challenging. Once you learn how to manage the differences in how students learn best, you open yourself up to a highly-functional classroom that supports and motivates all learners.