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Updated by Camille Turner on Jul 29, 2015
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Bring Introverts Out

A list of well-thought out tips to bring introverts out of their shells, based on a book study by Susan Cain


Teach introverts to showcase their skills

Introverts need to be taught to display their strengths. One strength is self awareness. Introverts do a lot of self analysis. Being able to "sell" their skills and abilities is vitally important in the interview process. Explicit teaching would be needed and would empower the individual to advance. Patricia Causey-Ortiz


Focus on the information over the personality

First, the negative stigma placed on introverts by society needs to be removed.
Second, there needs to be a way for an introvert to showcase their skills in a way that is comfortable for them.
In the book, it talks about how companies see applicants who are extroverts and give a great presentation but do not have a well thought out plan. The introverts have provided all the answers but not in the most exciting way.
*Sometimes we need to look beyond the alluring personality of the extrovert. *
S. Parker


Showcase strengths through safe environment

As teachers we need to give introverts opportunities to showcase their strengths. It would also be beneficial to teach introverts certain skills to help them appear to be extroverts. I think they also need to be in an environment where they can practice their new skills.
-Casey Grigsby


Develop the best--over the easiest

I think we need to do more to make people aware of how they function best and then encourage them to find their own way of working. The awareness is key, though--kids do not always know how they work best, but they do know how to work easiest--if that makes sense!


Teach the turtle to use his strong stride

We don't want the turtle to never come out of its shell again. But like the men who build the 70-floor Rockefeller skyscraper in the 1930's who sat unprotected on the beams hundreds of feet in the air eating their lunch, with exposure and practice, we can become a bit desensitized and more confident. So giving the students practice in small, safe steps can help them be successful in interviews, future classes, jobs and relationships. But showing them how to use the characteristics they already have would give them the power to be who they are and compete in a world where the dog with the loudest bark gets the most food. Julie Grigsby


Teach the social dynamic

Could all learners (introverts as well as extroverts) benefit from some teaching on self-awareness? What about self-esteem knowledge and assistance with building their self-esteem? Everyone has something to contribute but communicate in different ways - one not better or more valued than the other. Why don't we teach all of our students about introverts and extroverts and allow them time to see the beauty in each person?
Michele Richards


Intentionally incorporate self-esteem training

It would be wonderful if we had in our curriculum how to teach self-esteem to our kids. It would prevent them from a lot of issues. Nothing wrong with being an extrovert/introvert. If they had this self awareness about their personality and loved it , I think they could blossom even more their unique traits.
Diana Gomez Valencia


Group vs. Solitary choice

I feel like students should really have the choice to do what will be the most effective for them. Allow them the opportunity to work in groups or alone.
Susie Moten


Diversify your numbers

I think that it is important to mix up class time and have parts be for group work, sometimes working with a partner and also time for the students to work individually. I think that it is important for students to learn to work in all of these different types of situations because it is the same situations that they could be faced with in a work environment.
Casey Grigsby


Opposites detract

I try to keep my overly outgoing students away from my ones who are not a quick to speak up. This way the overly outgoing will not be upset by the lack of participation from the quieter student. The quieter students I like to put in groups where there is still a student who speaks up but who it would be less intimidating for the quieter student to give input.
-Casey Grigsby


Solitary Prep time

One thing I thought about while reading this section was that when students need to do group work, perhaps it would be better at times to have them work on the assignment individually at first, with no communication. Then, have them come together and share their ideas, after which groups can compile their thoughts and add any new ideas the group comes up with together.
Jenelle Kumbier


Students choose their numbers

One thing I do in my classroom that really seems to help my more introverted students is to often give them a choice when doing an assignment. I call it PIG: students can choose to work in Pairs, Individually, or in Groups. Students really like these choices and often will change their choice depending on their mood or needs.
--Jenelle Kumbier


More pairing

Think-Pair-Share and Turn and Talk are great techniques that can be used with both.
-Melody Stokesberry


Reduce recess stress

Reforming recess. Set up an area for students who want to go read or hang out quietly.
Melody Stokesberry


Think time

I think it's imperative to give "think time." I have started doing this in my class. I will ask a higher-level question and not allow anyone to answer right away or raise their hand. They must think through their original answer and make it the best they can (targeted at extroverts) or take time to formulate their thoughts/ideas/beliefs in a way that expresses themselves accurately (targeted at introverts). These seem to have lowered the anxiety of some of my students in class, has given more students the opportunities to share, and has produced more thought-out responses!
Michele Richards


Allow some solitude

In the classroom it is ok to let a student work by themselves on a project. Every students does not learn in the same way so when we assign group work we need differentiate to meet their needs. The same is true when designing a seating chart - not every child wants to sit in a group.
Melody Stokesberry


Unite introverts in groups

Although not all students want to work in groups, (and I completely get that, I still don't like it) learning group work skills and coping skills could benefit the introverts. I like to group my introverts with other introverts, someone always seems to take the quiet lead. They enjoy not having someone pushing them to share, share, share. When they realize their surroundings are safe, and with gentle persuasion to communicate with each other, they will find ways to complete the group work, and it will look very different from the extrovert group next to them. Julie Grigsby


Highlight the value of good observation

Years ago I was traveling with the CEO of the company I worked for. He was an unassuming, kind introvert. Lines for our business were long after 9/11 and customers were complaining. He chose not to take the executive route we were accustomed to. We stood in the long line and took notes on customer posture, comments and suggestions. We never interacted with any of them. However, a huge company procedure was changed by this stealth mode act. Another time he sat quietly in the front of our security vehicle eaves dropping as employees discussed the unfairness of foster care and adoption process. It was stated that when adoptive parents get new borns, no leave is granted. A few months later this policy was amended. Valuable changes were made in both cases without a word being spoken in a gregarious, show biz style. Patricia Causey-Ortiz


Introvert's Perspective: Wendy Bowman

I tend to be an observer and don't jump into a conversation. I'm cordial but not one of those people who asks the people at my table a million questions. It actually kind of annoys me when I have to sit with someone like that because I feel obligated to ask questions that I probably am not really interested in hearing the answers too. If I am with a group of people I know, I'm less reserved and more apt to talk a little more. No matter who I am grouped with, I will work with but the way I work with the people may change. If I'm with a more extroverted group, I will be assertive when I need to be if the topic is one I'm passionate about. If the group is more introverted, like me, if the group needs a leader, I can be one.

Introvert small grouping is favored.


Use deliberate practice

I agree with Susan Cain about "Group Think" Students need time to process what they are learning on their own before collaborating in groups. She talks about the importance of "Deliberate Practice". I feel my students need that time during the day. I plan on having more individual work time during the week for my students


Detract disgrace from mistakes

In my second grade classroom, I try to create safe havens. We talk a lot about our classroom being a "mistake-making place" and I will often make mistakes on purpose (which stretches me as well...) so that students can see we all do it and learn from it.
Ms. Kumbier


Self to Group shift

I plan to do more individual work that morphs into group work so that students get to think on their own first before collaborating in groups.
Ms. Kumbier


Don't set up risky questions

I try to create a risk free environment where students feel like they can shine no matter what they bring to the discussion. Mrs. Heuss


Be flexible

I try to be really flexible with my students in order to honor their personality types.
Mrs. Macewich


Adjust the pond to suit the fish

In my class, I understand the big fish in a small pond mindset. So I allow the introverts to take charge of when they will shine while encouraging them all the along that path. Those big fish get eaten by bigger fish in the ocean. With that fear looming, I gently create an environment of trust and mutual respect that usually will get the quietest soul sharing.
Ms. Causey-Ortiz