Lichfield Cathedral School

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Supporting quiet pupils

The strengths of a quiet child lie in their ability to observe, reflect and listen attentively.  Quiet children often possess deep insight, creativity and empathy.  Their introspective nature allows them to analyse situations thoughtfully and respond with wisdom and sensitivity.  They may excel in tasks that require concentration and independent thinking, such as reading, writing and creative pursuits.  Additionally, quiet children often develop strong bonds with a few close friends, fostering deep and meaningful relationships.  Overall, their quiet demeanour can be a source of strength, enabling them to navigate the world with thoughtfulness, resilience and authenticity.
Whether someone is an introvert or an extrovert is determined in large part by genetics, and tends to remain stable over time.  Introverted children often have a rich interior world and rely on their inner resources (and own values) rather than turning to other people for support and guidance.  Introverted children like imaginative play and they prefer playing alone, doing solitary things like reading or drawing, or playing with just one or two other children.
However, introverted children may struggle in group or social settings, and can appear overly hesitant or cautious.  They prefer to watch games or activities before joining in and, after working in a group activity, they may need to go off on their own for a while to recharge their energy.  Like introverted adults, introverted children are generally good listeners, paying attention and remembering what the other person says.
Quiet children often find it difficult to participate in class discussions, as their introverted personalities restrict them from raising their hand and speaking up.  This is not a reflection of a lack of engagement, but often means as teachers we need to think carefully about how we support these students (and their wellbeing) in the classroom.
How we support quiet students
Embrace technology: pupils may be happier to comment on a Teams discussion board or blog post as opposed to in person.
Build in thinking time: we allow students to write out their ideas before asking for raised hands or a discussion.  If an idea has been fully formed and can be read aloud, it will be easier to communicate than formulating ideas on the spot.
Break classes into smaller discussion groups or even pairs.  An introverted child will find it easier to express their views in front of a trusted, smaller group than a full class.
Where can I learn more?
One Book - Quiet Power: Susan Cain Quiet Power: Growing Up as an Introvert in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Audio Download): Susan Cain, Kathe Mazur, Penguin Audio: Books
One Article - What are introverts like as children? 7 Characteristics 
What Are Introverts Like as Children?: 7 Characteristics | Psychology Today United Kingdom
One Talk - TedTalk - The Power of Introvert  Susan Cain: The power of introverts | TED Talk

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