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5 ways to engage introverts in classroom discussion


Ever wondered why some students participate actively in classroom discussions while others contribute only rarely? Ever wrestled with the dilemma of how to elicit responses from quiet students? Educational experts have pointed to a number of factors that determine how students engage in a classroom. These include the size and arrangement of classroom, amount of preparation done by a student, level of confidence in a student, the way the responses are received by the teachers, differences arising from caste, gender and culture and the major factor being the temperament of a student. As a teacher, your duty is to nurture the potential and capabilities of both introverts and extroverts alike. Here are five ways in which you can enhance the participation from introverts in your classroom with little efforts-

1. Understand the difference- Before charting out a plan to increase participation from introverts in a classroom discussion, it is crucial to understand that introverts derive their energies from being alone while extroverts gain energy by being with others. Their orientation influences their energy sources not their capability to learn and grow. As an instructor, you need to know these preferences and understand the kind of learning strategies that bring about the desired results.

2. Increase your wait time- More often than not, introverts prefer to have some time to think before they speak so that they can have a window to sort out their thoughts and clarify their thinking. To facilitate this, increase your wait time or give students a chance to brainstorm questions before taking them up for classroom discussion. This will ensure that all students, even those who need more deliberating time, have an equal opportunity to access the discussion.

3. Speak encouragingly- When an introvert sets aside her reluctance and answer in a classroom setting, it is important that the teacher expresses approval and encouragement to the responses received. An introvert should not feel less than her peers because of the way she interacts. Therefore, it is important to remind students that there are no better and worse learning styles and that there is a place for everyone in your class.

4. Form pairs rather than groups- To encourage participation from introverts, conduct classroom discussion in pairs rather than large groups. This will prevent introverts from hiding during the discussion and will help shed their assumption that they can get away without saying anything at all in the presence of talkative students who often lead the discussions.

5. Use social media to keep away the spotlight- Introverts have the innate desire to be away from the center of attraction. Being called upon randomly to answer questions or for presentations can, therefore, limit their ability to express themselves. Use of social media and digital tools for discussions can give the introverts the requisite time and space to participate at their own pace.

Making classroom an inclusive space that offers equal learning opportunities to both introverts and extroverts can be an arduous task but providing avenues for equitable growth of both the temperaments can yield phenomenal outcomes while pushing up the learning curve of students tremendously.

By Deeksha Shivhare
Sr. Executive DigiCom - Content
Redefine Marcom Pvt. Ltd.