Low Expectations May Lead to Success, or Endanger Your Students
Written by MindShift psychologist Natasha Ostergaard
Let’s be honest: Introverted kids can feel neglected. In our 21st century society, when we’re talking about what we value and recognize, we’re talking about achievement first and foremost. We’re talking about “bright and shiny,” those who achieve in ways that make others look good and highlight them. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, of course, but how do you help your students thrive in a classroom where that’s a guiding principle?
“They should experience the same expectations that others may see in us,” says Lori Rogatman, author of A+ Hoops, No Claws. “They can be extra surprised and happy if they see that their work doesn’t just meet others’ standards, but they’re exceeding them as well.”
Introverts shouldn’t feel alone at school – and that’s okay – but it’s important to consider the variables at play for them at the moment, says Andrew Welsh, professor and psychotherapist at the Maine College of Art and Rhode Island School of Design.
You don’t have to assign tasks to your student because he or she can’t possibly do them, says Welsh, but you may want to think carefully about when and where they can make the extra effort, since that’s where they feel most comfortable doing their work.
While extroverts are feeling pressure to do more during their schoolwork, most introverts may be comfortable with assignments like taking notes while other students participate and look at the board or counting on their classmates for assistance, he says.
And while knowing the “right” time to get your student in or out of class won’t ensure success, getting them early in the day, avoiding overscheduling them and making sure that their focus is prioritized will be vital to their ability to understand the lesson and to complete the assignment, says Rogatman.
Over time, extroverts may achieve more work, and this is only half the picture.
“There’s a real impact to having high expectations of your student that’s not just about academic excellence,” says Welsh. “Introverts may be better prepared for this particular kind of learning because they’re not necessarily experiencing the kind of competition and scrutiny we’re used to in school.”
Ask yourself, “Do you appreciate their extra effort?” if you don’t understand why your student struggles with their work, Rogatman says. “Does your student feel valued?” If the answer is no, and you are having trouble with the problem, ask yourself, “Are they deserving of additional expectations?”
“They should feel valued at school, no matter if they excel or if they fail,” says Welsh. “This is an important note. How do you feel about the high standard of expectation that you’re setting, especially if it’s skewed in the ‘bright and shiny’ perspective?”