We all are well familiar with the two famous personality type- Introverts and Extroverts. Extroverts are often praised for being socially active whereas introverts are considered to have personality problem. The personality of an introvert is considered as an unimpressive personality. This kind of discrimination is widely practiced at home and in school as well. Teachers discriminate between extrovert and introvert students and think that only extroverts deserve praise and they are the students of worth. Introverts are often disliked and commented by the teachers. It is the case with the parents too. When parents see any extroverted child, they force their introverted child to become like that child no matter they themselves are introvert or extrovert.
As a teacher, we find in our class that some children are active in taking class participation, making extempore, giving speech, taking part in debate competition or holding school assembly. On the other side, we have some children who completely avoid such situations and never come up for class participation or group activities. Such children are often labeled as shy, scared, or dumb children that make them feel that they really do not possess good personality. They feel broken and develop strong fear of attending school activities that mostly require social skill and participation. The fault is not of child but of teachers who do not have any idea of positive attributes of introvert personality type. Therefore, they fail to take best out of these children. Teachers fail to motivate introverted children. Today, introversion has been recognized as a legal personality type. Introverted children can do their best like extroverts. Both introverts and extroverts can excel in the activities of their interests. But, unfortunately, teachers ignore and rate introverted children as good for nothing and keep on encouraging extroverts.
If you are an introverted teacher or parent, it would be going easy for you to understand your introverted child because you would have the same experience as your child. And, if you are an extroverted parent or teacher, you need to learn more about the introvert personality type, its positive attributes and finally to know that introversion is a legitimate personality type and not any problem of behaviour.
Teachers and parents can be highly mistaken by thinking that there is something wrong with the child for being introverted, especially, when they themselves are extroverts. Many teachers and principals also, do not understand an introvert child in school.
The present article will deal with the Introvert personality type, how to understand and support an introvert child and what activities should be planned for introverted children so that they can win in school.
Introvert’s Personality Traits
Introverts have a strong sense of self that can make them feel highly self-conscious around other people – making walking into a crowded room a little nerve-wracking. Introverts have a hard time being goofy in front of the camera and telling jokes to more than a couple of people at a time, but they can be extremely intelligent.
Introverts process their emotions, thoughts, and observations internally. They can be social people, but reveal less about themselves than extroverts do. Introverts are more private, and less public. Introverts need time to think before responding to a situation, and develop their ideas by reflecting privately. Introverts’ personality traits can be passionate, but not usually aggressive.
Some introverts are not stereotypically shy and can strike up conversations with anyone. These introverts enjoy talking and listening to people, and going to parties and events. However, most introverts would rather be at home. Introverts can find small talk easy but tiring – and sometimes boring. They would rather have meaningful conversations about the depths of human souls and minds. An introvert’s personality traits are not necessarily tentative or hesitant, but introverts do prefer to think before they act.
Introverts tend to get their energy from within, so being with people is draining. After a day filled with people or activities, introverts tend to feel exhausted and empty. To recharge their batteries introverts need to be alone reading, daydreaming, painting, or gardening – any solo activity fills them up again. This does not mean introverts have to live alone in a cave in the hills or on Walden Pond; they just need quiet time to come back to themselves. The energy source for introverts is from within.
Understanding an Introverted Child
It is important for teachers and parents to understand their introvert child in order to create opportunities for him/her to achieve success. Teachers have to understand the characteristics of introverted personality and should provide learning opportunities according to that. Today, a lot of teachers have understood that children have their own different learning styles. Theory of Multiple Intelligence that is very much popular in schools now a days, strongly argues that every child learns differently. Introversion is also a personality type where a child is having a different style of learning and shows different interests. If a child cannot do well in one thing, he/she should not be discriminated. Instead, efforts should be made to polish his or her best capabilities. They should be provided opportunities to exhibit their talent and intellect.
Let us look at some of the important characteristics of an introvert child especially during the school year.
Introverts give energy when they are interacting with others. This means that all outgoing extroverts take energy from them when they are together in groups. Therefore, an introverted child can become drained during a normal school day that requires a great deal of social interactions. Introverted children are territorial. They require peace, quiet and time alone in order to recharge their batteries.
Introverted children learn by thinking things over, doing creative works like making crafts etc, reading and writing. Class participation is utterly meaningless and irritating for them. They avoid the situation that requires group work or crowd.
Introverted child can win equally
Researches have shown that there are more cases of introverts being more intellectual than extroverts. The reason may be that introverts spend a good time on reading, thinking and analyzing things.
It is important to understand that how damaging it can be to expect an introvert child to turn into an extrovert. This puts an impossible burden on an introvert child and does much to destroy their sense of self-worth. Parents and teachers do a big mistake when they try to convert an introverted child into an extrovert and force him to do certain uninteresting things. When a child fails to accomplish that, parents and teachers often show their frustration in form of discouraging comments. These expectations crush the child. Teachers and parents should learn the best positive attributes of introverts and then encourage the child to do well differently.
Introverts can focus and concentrate. They are able to tune out distraction. They listen beautifully and remember well. They have a richer inner world. Some famous introverts can be used to tell an introvert child that success has nothing to do with introversion or extroversion but to hard work, learning, dedication, preparation and personal achievement. Famous introverts such as Queen Elizabeth II, Michael Jordan, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mother Teresa and Steven Spielberg (identified as introverts by Keirsey) prove that introverts have contributed a lot to the world we live in.
Never expect an introverted child to do something h/she does not want to do. Carl Jung, a great analyst, said “The way for introverts to win is to become more consciously introverted rather than to try and be something they are not.” Introverts have different talents and interests. Every spiritual teaching in the world agrees… find yourself and be yourself.
Activities for Introverted Children
The more a teacher understands about introversion as a legitimate personality type the more he/she can help an introvert student to develop a positive self-image. Teacher can discover how to “win” in a world set up by “others” with very different tastes and values.
Here are some activities, hobbies and pursuits at which introverted children excel and which they will enjoy. These activities are natural to introverts and are all worthwhile.
• Collecting (stamps, butterflies, coins)
• Writing (journals, poetry, letters)
• Pets and training pets
• Playing a musical instrument
• Pen pals (especially if they are learning a foreign language)
• Working on props for school plays or other activities strictly behind the scenes
• Internet projects
• Internet games of educational value
• Sports that do not require a team or partner, such as long distance running, swimming or rollerblading
• Decorating their room
• Listening to music
• Independent travel
• Practice designing fashions or developing interests in art, architecture or history
• Maintaining the family photo album
• Volunteer work such as working with animals or reading to the deaf
• Supporting a child from a foreign country with donations, letters, photos, etc.
· Writing book/articles/novel
The best way for a teacher to make an introverted child a winner is to make him or her a winner in their own eyes. Teachers should learn to identify and value the introverted qualities of concentration, dedication, focus, self-discipline, depth, integrity, and self-knowledge. Metaphysically, we all know that there is no accident in this world. We all came to earth for a reason and we fulfil the reason in our own way.
There is also good news that the higher up you go in education and intelligence, the greater the percentage of introverts. Introverts, because of their intellectual and thinking habit, achieve higher level of education that leads to doctorate or post doctorate. Many thinkers, writers, scientists, analysts and philosophers are mostly introverts.
Teachers and parents should quit waiting for them to turn into “social butterflies”. Just imagine what the world would have gained if Steven Spielberg had gone outside to play with other children.
Encourage an introverted child, value their talent and intellect, let them do things according to their preference and you will certainly see the difference!