Help Your Introverted Student Connect At School and In An Online Learning Environment
We all remember how nerve-racking it was to try and make friends in high school. You would sit next to someone you thought looked friendly and strike up a conversation, hoping your efforts would be reciprocated. With online learning, this task gets a little tougher, especially for introverts. Because they don’t have to physically interact with their peers, it’s easy for introverted students to shy away from engaging socially outside of the online classroom. However, socialization is an important aspect of education, whether a student is physically on campus or in the comfort of their home classroom. Here are four ways you can encourage your introverted student to engage socially with their online high school peers:
Tap Into Their Interests
Introverts are obviously more naturally reserved, so encourage them to engage in activities that not only align with their interest but foster collaboration. By encouraging your student to pursue an activity that is related to one of their interests, you’re gently pushing them toward social interaction while allowing them to feel a sense of familiarity. Do they love reading? Maybe you can suggest joining or starting a book club with fellow students who also love to read. Do they like to write? Maybe they can team up with their peers to start a monthly student newsletter. At ASU Prep Digital, we offer eight clubs that tap into several different interests our students have, so there’s a little something for everyone.
Understand Their Limitations
Generally, introverts tend to feel drained after spending a lot of time around other people and in busy social situations.Do they interact better in a smaller group of people? Do they do better with 1-on-1 interactions? How much alone time do they need to recharge their social batteries? Working with their limitations will not only help them enjoy being social, but also want to be social. Forcing them to interact with fellow virtual school students will make it feel like a chore and they’ll be less likely to have meaningful interactions.
Remind Them That Friendships Are a Two-Way Street
Introverts are content with keeping to themselves, which doesn’t always translate well in friendships. Building a friendship requires talking regularly, reaching out to make plans and, yes—actually following through on those plans. While introverts are actually great friends once you get to know them and develop a foundation, they have a hard time putting in the effort that building a friendship takes. If your child or introverted student expresses concerns about engaging socially with their peers, be sure to remind them that friendships truly are a two-way street and that in order to make those meaningful connections they desire, they’ll have to put some effort in and invest time into getting to know people.
Team Up With Their Teacher
The adult that spends a significant amount of time interacting with your child, aside from you, is their online high school teacher. If you’re having a hard time getting through to your introverted student, or just want some reinforcement, reaching out to your child’s teacher is a great idea. They want to see their students succeed in all aspects of their educational journey—and socialization is a huge component. While you can encourage social interaction outside of the virtual classroom environment, their teacher can encourage social interaction during live class sessions by actively engaging with them and gently pushing them to speak up more. They can even help facilitate group projects and make sure they’re pairing introverts with other students they’ll click with. At ASU Prep Digital, we also pair every student with a Learning Success Coach who is dedicated to helping them with support and goal setting. Including them in the conversation will ensure that your child is given opportunities to socialize from all of the adults in their life whom they interact with and admire.