While one in three children have introverted personalities, teachers currently receive no training on personality diversity, creating an “added layer of exclusion” for young Black introverts.
However, Black Introvert Week UK (BIW UK) believes small changes in how classes are taught could make a big difference and is writing an open letter to the Department for Education (DfE) to urge reform.
Education experts at a recent BIW UK panel event in London, warned modern styles of teaching could be adding to the barriers facing thousands of young Black children in school.
They warned that while the emphasis on group discussion and encouraging pupils to speak up in class was stimulating for pupils with extrovert personalities, it was draining for introverts who need time for quiet reflection in order to recharge and refresh.
Rhia Gibbs, founder and CEO of Black Teachers Connect, said Black students faced the “stereotype” of being “loud and boisterous”.
“If the child is very quiet the assumption is we need to push them out of this quietness, we need to get them involved,” she said.
“There is an avoidance to discuss personality, especially in that initial teacher training. I think it is because there is a big focus on behaviour and behaviour management.”
But panellists stressed a better learning environment for introverted pupils only required small changes to how classes were taught.
Adrian Bethune is the founder of Teachhappy, which was set up to promote well-being for primary school teachers and children.
He said: “You have to be creative about how you get your introverted pupils to share their thoughts and ideas on a wider basis.”
Ideas include putting the work of introverted pupils up on a screen, rather than asking them to present to class or read out loud, and breaking pupils up into pairs to share ideas, rather than large group discussions.
Annisha Taylor, BBC Head of Diversity and Inclusion, told the BIW UK event, “You cannot change everything but you can tailor some things in certain situations when you have more awareness.”
Richard Etienne, founder of BIW UK, said: “A learning environment that is stimulating for pupils with extrovert personalities is draining for introverts. It is a challenge for all introvert pupils but Black pupils face more barriers to learning so this represents an added layer of exclusion for them.
“Teaching styles should be adapted to provide a better balance in the classroom. We will be writing to the DfE to urge a re-think and will be drawing up our own toolkit for any teachers who are keen to learn more about the introvert personalities in their classroom.”