Having trouble getting introverted students to join the classroom conversation?

Classrooms are often a mixture of extroverted and introverted students. It's easy to get extroverts to participate, but how do we get introverts to join in? I looked to social media to find the answer. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

How do we get introverted students to participate in the conversation? To start, we need to understand exactly what an introvert is. An introvert is simply someone who feels the most stimulated in quieter places and with fewer people. Extroverts are the opposite. They feel the most stimulated by many people and loud places. Many people make the mistake of believing that shyness and introversion are one and the same, which isn't true. Some introverts are shy, others aren't. The same is true of extroverts. Shyness is more about fear of being judged by others than stimulation.

If introverts are happiest and the most creative in quieter spaces, it's easy to figure out why they don't participate as much in classroom conversation as extroverts do. It's not impossible though. The Teaching Channel posted an interesting article on how schools can incorporate introverted students better. You can read that article here.The article suggested a few ways you can get introverts to participate in the classroom more. First, they suggested students meet in small groups before having a large classroom discussion. Instead of having a classroom-wide discussion right away, pair students off and have them discuss the topic in groups of two or three. After this first step, you begin the classroom-wide conversation. This way, introverted students have a chance to discuss with a smaller group first, which is something they are more comfortable with. The article also encouraged the use of social media and other tech tools that allow students to converse online rather than in a classroom. Students unwilling to say something out loud in a classroom are far more willing to post those same thoughts online.

introverted students

Have you ever struggled with getting introverted students to participate? How did you overcome this in the past? What are ways you've heard fellow teachers use to encourage introverts?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to editor@simplek12.com.