There is an expectation in the Westernized classroom (whether conscious or not) that our children/students need to be charismatic extroverts to excel in learning and in life. It makes one wonder how society might appreciate children with a more quiet, reflective style. For instance, if students don’t put up their hand right away it doesn’t mean that they are not thinking, problem solving, or fully understanding what is actually being asked. They may be just as (or even more!) engaged in the classroom discussion than a student who is an extroverted style. Thus, it is important for teachers, parents, and the general population to understand that there are many ways for quiet children to be present, engaged, and connected beyond participating ‘out loud’. Giving students a number of strategies from which to choose, such as writing, drawing or working in pairs supports all learning styles, particularly those who tend to be more quiet. The key is really understanding and knowing what your students need and then adapting lessons to meet their personal learning needs so that they can be successful and feel confident as a student and as a individual. As well, teachers need to think carefully about why shy children might be quiet. Perhaps it is personality-driven, or because the child feels like they have been shut down for sharing their ideas, or perhaps they are worried about being judged. No matter what the reason, instead of perceiving quietness as a weakness, we must value it as a strength and understand that everyone expresses their emotions, thoughts, and ideas in individualized ways. It is the teacher’s job to help uncover and reveal each child’s strengths so that they can feel confident in themselves and find comfortable ways to share their brilliant ideas with others!
A wonderful book to learn more about introversion is the bestseller by Susan Cain Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Also, check out the article “How Teachers Can Help 'Quiet Kids' Tap Their Superpowers” written by Elissa Nadworny