Understanding Introversion and Extroversion in the Classroom

Workshop and instructional materials prepared by:

Robert Ryder, Department of Germanic Studies
Michael Popowits, Department of Accounting

In this workshop, we discussed how the spectrum of introversion to extroversion may be playing out in classrooms. We examined how both teachers and students may have a tendency to align themselves with more contemplative or active behaviors, and how the social prejudices affiliated with these preferences affect the classroom dynamic. To explore the various facets of introversion/extroversion and shyness, workshop participants took the Introversion Quiz to examine their own sensibilities as teachers. Participants discussed how to use these concepts to enhance learning, and we examined examples of classroom strategies used by the workshop leaders who taught subjects as diverse as foreign languages, accounting and computers, and professional development.

Workshop material

PowerPoint slides, click here


TED Talk–Susan Cain: The power of introverts


Cain, Susan. “Help Shy Kinds – Don’t Punish Them.” Feb. 12, 2013. The Atlantic.


May, Kate Torgovik. “How to teach a young introvert.” Sept. 2, 2014.


“Quiet. Susan Cain on Introverted Students.” May 3, 2013. Spin Education.


TEDx Talk–Confessions of a passionate introvert: Brian Little.


Isaacs, T. (2009). Introverted Students in the Classroom: How to Bring Out their Best. Faculty Focus.


Lahey, Jessica. “Class Participation: Let’s Talk About It.” Quiet Revolution. Website.


Schultz, Katherine. “Why introverts shouldn’t be forced to talk in class.” Feb. 12, 2013. The Wahington Post.


Rycoft-Smith, Lucy. “Dreading meetings? Craving quiet? You may be an introvert teacher.” Oct. 27, 2015. The Guardian.


“Managing the College Classroom: Perspectives from an Introvert and an Extrovert” by Stephen W. Braden & Deborah N. Smith


Hiler, W., & Paul, R. (2006). The Miniature Guide to Practical ways for Promoting Active & Cooperative Learning. Foundation for Critical Thinking.