By Teachers, For Teachers
One of the many challenges that teachers face is using classroom management to handle disruptions. The majority of the time, these disruptions come from extroverted children who love or want to get attention. The problem with trying to use classroom management for these types of students is that the introverted students tend to become invisible. Teachers spend so much of their day dealing with the students who are participating, or are trying to manage the students who are disruptive, that the introverted students get ignored. Shy students have a lot to offer, and should be given an equal amount of attention in the classroom. Here are a few reasons why your introverted students may not be thriving, and some classroom management tips you can use to help them.
Many introverted students feel uncomfortable speaking in front of others, so they tend to feel out of place when in a group setting. You must remember that being shy is normal. In fact, according to research, up to 50 percent of Americans are said to be considered “Shy.” When you normalize “Being shy” in the classroom, your students will less likely feel like an outcast. You can help your students see how normal being an introvert is by having them research famous leaders and celebrities that are shy. This will not only help your shy students feel better about themselves, but it will help your extroverted students understand your shy students’ feelings.
When you’re a shy person, you are less likely to talk within a group setting. This can make it hard to feel included when you’re working in a group or even just in classroom. One of the best ways to help introverted students feel more like part of the class is to assign them a classroom job that allows them to interact with their classmates. Something as little as passing out papers to their peers can really help a shy child overcome her shyness. This brief interaction can help to give these students the confidence they need for even more interactions with their peers.
Oftentimes teachers try and help their shy students by creating opportunities for them to always be interacting with their peers. While this is a great idea, it can also hurt them as well. There has to be a balance between giving these students time with their peers, and giving them some space for themselves. If you are looking to help them thrive in an extroverted classroom, then they will need a few moments alone to help them recharge. All you have to do is designate a space in the classroom for them to go to if they need a minute or two by themselves.
Most of the time, introverted students have very little or no self-esteem. They best way that you can help these students thrive is to compliment their accomplishments whenever you have the opportunity. Every student wants to feel special regardless if they are shy or not. To help boost their self-esteem, try and compliment them in front of the whole class. You can say something like, “I really like the way you ended your essay,” or “I love your handwriting.” These small words can go a long way to make a shy child feel good about himself.
As you know, many shy students prefer to work alone or with one person whom they feel comfortable with. The key to getting these students to open up and to feel safe in your classroom is to create activities that will make them interact with their classmates other than the ones of their choosing. The easiest way to do this is to ease them into group work with students who they may not feel comfortable being with. For example, you can pair the shy student with one person who they feel comfortable talking to, and another student who they may not know very well. This way they will have their “Safeguard” (their one friend) with them in the group. As time goes on (usually a few weeks) and as they get more comfortable, you can slowly add more people to their group.
Sometimes introverted children just need the opportunity to realize that they are not that much different than their peers. The more they are exposed to working with other students in the class, the more they will get to know them and feel comfortable working with them. Try and pay close attention to the “Invisible” students in your classroom. Take the time to work with these students and you will see that they too can thrive in your classroom.
How do you help your quiet students thrive? Do you have any classroom management tips or tricks that can help? Please share your ideas in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com