Introverts in the Classroom: Helping Quiet Kids Succeed

“Each person seems to be energized more by either the external world or the internal world.” –
– Carl Jung.

Leveling the Field for Reserved Students

Extroverts tend to be outgoing, conversational, and enjoy social interactions. Introverts, on the other hand, are more typically quiet, reserved, and introspective, and they need time alone to recharge. How a student behaves in class colors an educator’s perception of what kind of student they are. This is a mindset that progressive educators are actively working to combat. Most traditional classrooms are set up in a way which favors extroverted students, from emphasis on group projects and collaboration, to the way students are called on (or ‘out’) to share answers. What can we as educators, parents, and advocates do to ensure that introverted students also have an opportunity to thrive?

Participation Grades and Introverts

Often, 20-40% of a student’s classroom grade is attributed to class participation. There is no true objective way in which to measure classroom participation and the long-held belief that hand-raising is a measurable tool for student engagement is increasingly thought of as archaic. Teacher-pleasing behaviors, such as sitting still, raising your hand at the appropriate times, and maintaining eye contact with the speaker can be signs that a student is listening intently. Introverted students may be listening just as intently, without the inclination to volunteer to answer questions or drive discussions or debate. We need to shift the way we perceive other indicators of student engagement. Using body language, written responses, and informal conversation in a small (or one-on- one) setting can provide opportunities for introverts to show what they know.

How to Support Both Introverts and Extroverts in the
Educational Setting

Ideas come so quickly to some students that they end up being the ones whose hands shoot up into the air and who are recognized for participation. Often, the introverts are slower to offer to contribute, then feel as though they have nothing new to contribute to the discussion and keep their hands down.

Here are some options to encourage participation from introverted students:

Think Time: Educators often find that mandatory “think time” provides all students with the time to think through a question and how to share their answers with the group. This is a great strategy for students who need a bit more time to process before they find the confidence to offer up their contribution.

Think-Pair- Share: This method of group work who is a powerful method of drawing introverted children into the wider discussion. Think-pair- share is when students are paired with one another and given an opportunity to work through a problem or a question through talking with a peer. Once their time together comes to an end, the pairs are encouraged to share their solution(s) with the larger group. This provides students with many opportunities to develop an answer, to talk through it with a peer, and to build confidence before speaking to a broader group.

Recess Options: Recess can be difficult for introverted students. While extroverts thrive on noise and activity, the introverted child fills their tank with quiet and introspective time. Doing something as simple as giving students an option as to how they wish their “down time” can make a significant difference in how they get through the rest of their day

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

At Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, we are committed to ensuring that every student we work with has access to the most
comprehensive tools and strategies to ensure that they are well-positioned to be successful in the classroom, regardless of whether they are extroverts or introverts. To learn more about the full range of services we offer, visit our blog, visit our website and follow us on Facebook. You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at