Planning Another Group Project? 3 Tips for Working with Introverted Students

As teachers, we have the unique opportunity in the classroom to show introverted students how to use their unique traits successfully in group settings, as well as to coach extroverts how to do group, differently.

Traditional group work sets students up to repeat the current business cycle of endless-meetings-that-could-have-been-a-memo. We can encourage them to break that mold. I wrote a blog post on how Introverts Make Great Project Leaders - that training starts ow.

I am pleased to introduce Guest Blogger, Jeremy Rinkel, who will share three tips for working with Introverted students. Jeremy is a High School Teacher with two Masters' Degrees and speaks regularly in the educational circuit. I hope these tips trigger and inspire you to rethink how group work is approached in the classroom - Kass

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” --1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

“Do we have to work in a group?”

“Why do they get the same grade when they didn’t do anything?”

“I did my part! It’s not fair my grade is a C!”

I’ve heard these responses and dozens of others when I nicely “FORCED” students to work with partners on group projects. I used to be that student. As a teacher, I’ve always used the excuse that students need to learn to work well with others. Then, I began to what expense?

When FORCED to work with others, not only do students lose autonomy, but their creativity decreases. Their attitudes and the quality of their projects suffer. Introverted students will sit on the sidelines while more extroverted students will lead, but they feel the need to carry the load of the group. They fear what grade they will receive if the group fails.

Students learning in group setting

Magic happens when students are given autonomy and the ability to be creative. Here are three things to keep in mind working with introverted students:

1. Give introverted students time to think things through before choosing a project or topic. Introverts need time to process and brainstorm ideas before starting. They need a deadline and clear guidelines, but pressure only stifles creativity and the final result.

2. Model strategies and provide examples to get the introverted students’ mind thinking creatively. Introverts love patterns and most love structure. By providing examples of past projects, it gives students a starting point to begin the creative process. It also provides them a “successful” project from the past which encourages them the project can be completed.

3. Provide encouraging and uplifting comments and critique for the introverted student to improve. Do not be negative or come across as negative. Introverts tend to read into things more and overthink things. Introverted students will thrive with praise and positive encouragement. Just don’t overly encourage them and embarrass them within a group setting.

How have you seen introverts contribute to group projects? What approach have you employed to ensure groups know how to work together before the project begins? Share your successes by joining the conversation below.

Jeremy Rinkel

Jeremy is a husband, father, high school English teacher and Yoga Teacher. He has earned a Masters in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Teaching from Greenville University. His goal is to inspire students, teachers and anyone he comes into contact with to be a lifelong learner. Jeremy believes education is the key to solving our world's problems. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys traveling, writing, spending time in coffee shops, and spending time with his family watching old TV shows on Netflix.

#teachers #students #groupwork #IntrovertedStudents

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Kass Fogle is an Introvert with a side dish of social anxiety. She is an award winning Contemporary Christian Author, Speaker and Blogger who lives with her husband and two children in South-Central Illinois.  Her first novel, Ruth's Garden is complete and she is working on a devotional journal dedicated to Introverts. You can usually find Kass at the local coffee house writing, at home baking, hanging out with family or causing trouble with her tight group of girlfriends. 


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