Introverts: What Schools Do Not Understand


David Huang, Writer

During class, you see a student who does not raise his/her hand a lot, does not often interact with others, and likes to work alone. Those are just some of the many general behaviors characteristic of an introvert. However, this reticent behavior is sometimes frowned upon in America, especially in schools, where group work and “breaking someone out of their comfort zone” is the norm.

Introverts may be ignored, even ridiculed, by their own fellow students. Teachers often give up on them, saying “He/She does not participate enough in class,” according to an article published in The Atlantic. Lots of class activities, such as group projects, create highly stimulating environments and often neglect what this group of students needs.

Often times, this makes school extremely stressful for an introvert, who has difficulty handling the huge amounts of stimulation. Introverted students generally perform better working independently in quiet surroundings, and generally like to think before acting or saying something. Nevertheless, there are ways that teachers can adjust their classroom environments to allow both extroverts and introverts to thrive and feel comfortable.

According to Katie Hurley, writer for the Huffington Post, giving time for introverts to answer a question will allow them to feel like joining into the class conversation. This will make them feel just as valued as other students in class and gives them a voice of opinion.

Secondly, although group work is sometimes unavoidable in class, teachers should assign each person in the group a role. This way, introverts will not be taken advantage of in the group or be given a role they do not want to do. “The more uncertainty you take away (which often comes in large-group activities where there is no clear leader or defined role/objective, or a lack of supervision from a teacher), especially at a younger age, the less stressful it is for us (introverts) to be out of our comfort zone,” says Lisa Petrilli, author of the eBook “The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership.”

Thirdly, offering extracurricular activities that appeal to introverts can also help create great outlets and allow them to participate in the school outside of the classroom. Introverts get drained of their energy when in highly stimulating environments that involve lots of people, so finding an activity in which they can unwind and decrease stress is just as important as allowing them to succeed academically. “Schools once thought introverted students simply didn’t want to take part in any extracurricular activities, but that’s not the case. They simply want what fits their personalities, strengths, and interests,” said Mckenna Myers, writer for the website We Have Kids.

Although these are only some of the numerous ways to help introverts, all 3 examples illustrate how this group of kids can be helped. They are not always shy or quiet. It is just because their personalities, ideologies, and perceptions are different from extroverts.