Walk into virtually any modern-day classroom and chances are you will be greeted by this scenario – as teachers go about their lessons, two types of students tend to emerge. On the one hand, we have extroverts who actively participate in class and are very vocal when answering questions. On the other hand, introverts who might seem unengaged in lessons, but are usually attentive and quiet.
From a young age, children are moulded by the environments they grow up in and take on characteristics from authority figures. Coupled with existing personality predispositions, students end up taking cues and developing traits of extraversion and introversion early in life. It is therefore important that educators and parents take note of these traits and tailor education accordingly, to bring out the best in young ones.
When we discuss introversion versus extroversion, it should be clarified that these are rarely permanent and an individual’s temperament and nature often shifts and changes as one grows older. That said, these traits are a reference to how vocal and outgoing a person might be. What does it mean to be extroverted? Extroverts feel energised when participating in social activities and love to have their voice heard. And what about introverts? What does it mean to be introverted? Introverts prefer solace and find comfort within quiet moments of being alone.
Applying these behaviours to learning and education, an extroverted student might be loud and actively participating in class while an introverted student is likely to keep his or her head down and focus. If interpreted poorly, the former might come across as disruptive, while the latter could seem disinterested. Good educators should know the difference and adjust accordingly.
The concern many educators tend to have with these situations is identifying a middle ground. In schools across Singapore, students outnumber teachers 30 to 1. This makes personalised approaches nigh impossible. The next best solution for teachers then would be to conduct regular check-ins with the classroom to ensure that there are no biases in approach. Placing too much emphasis on in-class responses might neglect introverts, while merely teaching without class engagement might see extroverts acting out for affirmation.
Although the key to this is moderation, this is the tough situation teachers in public schools face. Conversely, well-equipped tuition centers at least have the luxury of time and attention, being able to really pinpoint the ideal ways to engage students. This adds significant value to the progress of each student.
There are multiple types of learning styles that are suited to extroverted and introverted students respectively. Extroverted students encompass the visual, physical and social categories of learners – such individuals easily express themselves and obtain much more value when working in groups. They enjoy learning from others, exchanging opinions, and learning through doing.
Introverted students comprise visual, logical, and solitary categories of learners – they prefer to watch and observe, finding ways to solve puzzles and challenges independently. Placing them in groups with what they perceive as unnecessary interaction only serves to slow them down.
With reference to these styles of learning, teachers should then plan lessons that comprise the full suite of activities catered to each. For extroverted learners, educators can employ visual aids and hands-on practice to solidify lessons taught in class. Not to leave out introverted individuals, logical flow charts and posing challenges to these students generally incite them to improve and make progress.
It is imperative that educators across the board do not make any activities mandatory, or force pupils into activities they are not confident in. Not only will these actions give rise to subpar results, it might also have the inadvertent effect of hurting the child’s self-efficacy.
No two individuals are alike, and extroversion and introversion are just guidelines for idealised education styles. If your child and young ones are facing issues, sign up with FamilyTutor today for tailored one-on-one sessions with our experienced private tutors.
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