The Gifted Introvert

In society today there is a great emphasis on being social and having lots of friends, but some people savor being alone and are most productive in this state.

There are many ways to consider learning styles and personality types. One way is to classify a person as either an extrovert or an introvert. The extrovert's main interests are with the outer world of people and things, while the introvert is more involved with the inner world of concepts and ideas. Well-developed introverts can deal competently with the world around them when necessary, but they do their best work inside their heads, in reflection.

According to The Gifted Introvert, extroverts outnumber introverts 3 to 1.

Many teachers (and parents) are extroverts. It is very difficult for an extrovert to understand an introvert. Therefore, an adult may see the introverted student as someone with a problem, not as simply someone with a different personality type. This may lead to attempts to get the young person to be “friendlier,” to work in large groups, to talk more often and more spontaneously, and to be more outgoing and interactive.

There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. It does not need to be cured. It simply needs to be understood and accepted. Of course adults need to be able to tell when the introversion (or extroversion) is dysfunctional, but normally introverted students don't need to be changed to match other students.

Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted lists some of the characteristics of introverts.
  • Are territorial—desire private space and time
  • Are happy to be alone—they can be lonely in a crowd
  • Become drained around large groups of people; dislike attending parties
  • Need time alone to recharge
  • Prefer to work on own rather than do group work
  • Act cautiously in meeting people
  • Are reserved, quiet and deliberate
  • Do not enjoy being the center of attention
  • Do not share private thoughts with just anyone
  • Form a few deep attachments
  • Think carefully before speaking (practice in their heads before they speak)
  • See reflection as very important
  • Concentrate well and deeply
  • Become absorbed in thoughts and ideas
  • Limit their interests but explore deeply
  • Communicate best one-on-one
  • Get agitated and irritated without enough time alone or undisturbed
  • Select activities carefully and thoughtfully

So, don’t try to change kids who are introverts. Don’t think there is something wrong with them.
There are many advantages to being an introvert. Introverts
  • don’t always need to have people around.
  • are quite happy to entertain themselves or to learn on their own.
  • are potentially more productive, because they can get right to the task at hand rather than become distracted by others.

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