Use Asset-Based Feedback to Help Introverts Thrive

When you think of an introverted student you probably think of the quiet, reserved, and shy kid that prefers to listen during the duration of class instead of talk out. This is the stereotypical anti-social introvert. It is important to remember that not all introverts fit the stereotypical mold. There are many different types of introverts, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Just because someone is quiet or reserved does not mean that they are an introvert. And just because someone is an introvert does not mean that they are shy or anti-social. It is inevitable, as teachers, that we will find introverted students in our class and we will need to accommodate their needs.

Group work offers valuable opportunities for collaboration and collective learning, but it can pose challenges for introverted individuals who may feel overshadowed or uncomfortable in highly interactive settings. By implementing asset-based feedback, a constructive and empowering approach to providing feedback, we can create a supportive environment that encourages introverts to actively participate and contribute their unique strengths to group work. 

Asset-based feedback starts with recognizing and appreciating introverts' unique strengths and qualities. Highlight their skills in active listening, thoughtful reflection, deep analysis, and creative problem-solving. Instead of telling introverted students that they will have fun in a group and not to worry, thus invalidating their feelings, ask introverted students to join in group work by highlighting the strengths they bring to the group. By focusing on their strengths, introverts receive positive reinforcement, boosting their confidence and sense of value within the group.

When providing feedback to introverts, be specific and action-oriented. Instead of general critiques, offer concrete examples of their contributions, highlighting how their ideas, research, or thoughtful questions have enhanced the group's outcomes. For example, instead of using a deficit feedback approach and telling a student that they should have provided their insight on how to do the problem because they knew what to do, compliment what they did do correctly and then offer a suggestion on what to do next time. This targeted feedback helps introverts understand the impact of their efforts, reinforcing their sense of purpose and contribution. Providing specific suggestions for further development or growth also demonstrates a commitment to their individual progress and success.

Asset-based feedback empowers introverts by encouraging self-reflection and self-assessment. Prompt them to reflect on their personal achievements, areas of expertise, and unique qualities that they bring to the group. Encourage introspection by asking questions that promote self-awareness, such as "What strategies have you found effective in contributing to group discussions?" or "How can you leverage your strengths to enhance the collaborative process?" By prompting introverts to recognize their own assets, they gain confidence and a clearer understanding of how they can make meaningful contributions.

Some introverted students may not understand the importance of working in groups because they may think they work better alone. Highlight the importance of collaboration and teamwork when providing feedback to introverts. Emphasize their ability to foster inclusivity, actively listen, and provide valuable contributions when they feel comfortable. By focusing on their ability to work harmoniously with others, introverts realize that their preferred working style does not diminish their value as team members. Reinforce the idea that collaboration encompasses a range of strengths and personalities, and their thoughtful contributions play an integral role in achieving collective goals.

Creating a supportive and inclusive environment is key to helping introverts feel comfortable participating in group work. Establish an open dialogue, active listening, and respect for diverse perspectives. Foster an atmosphere where everyone's contributions are valued and heard. Encourage introverts to share their ideas in ways that align with their communication preferences, such as written reflections or smaller group discussions. By ensuring a safe and inclusive space, introverts are more likely to engage and share their insights, fostering a dynamic and collaborative group environment.

Asset-based feedback is a powerful tool for empowering introverts in group work. By recognizing and appreciating their strengths, providing specific and actionable feedback, encouraging self-reflection, emphasizing collaboration, and fostering a supportive environment, we create an inclusive atmosphere that allows introverts to thrive, contribute their unique talents, and feel valued as integral members of the group.

Main post image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

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