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Six Strategies to Help Introverts Thrive at School and Feel Understood

introvert180In every classroom, teachers try to engage students who have a variety of temperaments: extroverts, introverts and ambiverts. They work with children who crave sensory stimulation and with those who are highly sensitive to noise and visual distraction.

While one temperament is not better than any other, introverted students are often “overlooked, undervalued and overstimulated in our schools,” said Heidi Kasevich, a 20-year teaching veteran and director of education for Quiet Revolution, an outgrowth of Susan Cain’s best-selling book on the power of introverts.

Now, as a leader of the Quiet Schools Network, Kasevich has worked with Cain to develop accessible techniques to help introverted students “hit the ground running, with a sense of well-being instead of the feeling that ‘there’s something wrong with me.’ ”

We all fall somewhere on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, said Kasevich. In schools — which are highly stimulating environments — introverts are often “expected to fit into the extrovert ideal, and this leads to the danger zone of self-negation, turning inward or withdrawing.”

To better understand the needs of students, teachers can spend some time at the beginning of the year getting to know students’ preferred work and communication styles.

Thoughtful teachers can help children see their preferences as adding value to the classroom environment and as opportunities for growth.  For example, a disposition toward caution can be nurtured into prudence — or, as Kasevich defines it, “risk-taking that is rooted in practical wisdom, that takes the time to consider the ‘what-if’s.’ ” Similarly, a proclivity toward listening and reflection supports intellectual humility. And a preference for small-group conversation can bolster perspective-taking skills.

Six Classroom Strategies that Help Introverts Thrive

  • Make space for quiet reflection
  • Consider the physical environment
  • Provide previews
  • Watch your language
  • Scaffold meaningful stretching
  • Structure temperamentally inclusive group work

Excerpted from “Six Strategies to Help Introverts Thrive at School and Feel Understood.” Read the  full article on KQED’s MindShift online to learn more about the six classroom strategies.

Source: KQED MindShift | Six Strategies to Help Introverts Thrive at School and Feel Understood,  https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/51811/six-strategies-to-help-introverts-thrive-at-school-and-feel-understood | Copyright © 2018 KQED Inc.

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