Introverts as well as extroverts can succeed

At a staff meeting on Monday there was a presentation regarding introverts and how we teach those amongst us who would be termed as such. What may come as a surprise to many people is that I would consider myself in this bracket and it is something I have wrestled with from a young age. In a world that seems to value extroversion and an outgoing personality above other things it can be a difficult balance to strike.

Confidence is different to extroversion. I considered this carefully when I thought after the meeting about how we approach this at the Prep School. We endeavour to help those children who find communication difficult without enforcing that they express themselves in a pre-defined way. We also give them opportunities to face any fears they have at standing up in front of others from the earliest age. I sometimes feel almost envious of the self-confidence they are able to develop. I had find this inner belief as an adult and it is a much harder to gain it at an older age.

Quite simply we allow the girls to be themselves. It is acceptable to be quiet, to think deeply and consider responses. Giving the children the space and the time to contribute to discussions is key to developing their self-esteem. Encouragement without pressure to make these contributions is something that I often see when I observe my colleagues’ lessons.

There is a hash tag that we sometimes use in our social media communications that says about the school #wheregirlsdobetter. I truly believe this and one of the reasons is that we allow the girls to thrive whilst keeping them challenged. They do not have to be outgoing and an extrovert to succeed. Our girls are individuals and should be treated as such.

Paul Marshallsay, Headmaster, Portsmouth High School Prep School

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