Flexible Socialization Is Important For for Online Education
Socialization Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All; It’s A Spectrum
In our increasingly digital age, meaningful socialization is even more important for continued individual development and mental and emotional well-being. It is also critical for the overall wellness of our larger societies. For students and families engaging in online education options, socialization becomes a key area for planning and ongoing balance.
There are many benefits to being socially connected, which affect the mind (as briefly mentioned above) and body. People are social by nature, and so we tend to function best within a community, whether that community is digital or physical, or both. Some of the additional benefits of socialization for individuals can include decreased incidence of depression, higher quality of life scores, fewer feelings of loneliness, sharper memory and cognitive skills, and even the strong possibility for an increase in longevity.
Socialization isn’t a one-size-fits-all life area, however. Each individual will have different types and amounts of social needs. It can help to think of socialization as a spectrum, where on one end you have the farthest reaches of introverts, on the other end you have the farthest reaches of extroverts, and then along the middle are varying degrees for ambiverts.
So, let’s look at the categories as broad-based examples to learn more about the flexibility of social needs within the educational setting.
Introverts tend to prefer a lot of time to themselves, when it comes to socialization
In general, introverts need a lot of personal space to feel balanced, healthy, and energized. When it comes to a student attending online classes, this can translate into preferring to engage with the class recording at times rather than the actual live class. Solo projects and assignments are often preferable to introverts, as well. And, when choosing groups for socialization and subject-matter exploration, introverts will usually tend toward smaller groups (often less than a dozen people) for depth of interactions. Because introverts don’t naturally feel energy levels rise while in the presence of others, creating spaces and time frames where they can be alone is typically crucial for optimal functioning.
Ambiverts prefer varying amounts of alone time and social time, when it comes to socialization
As the term implies, ambiverts fall along varying degrees between introverts and extroverts on the socialization spectrum. Alone time is critical for ambiverts, but so is time spent being social. It can be effective to consider the needs of the ambiverts to be a lot like a seesaw—you don’t want either side of their socialization spectrum to become too heavily weighted. Being social and being alone contribute to ambiverts’ well-being in different ways. Online students who are ambiverts often need ensure that they aren’t pulled too far toward extroversion, which can happen quickly because they often enjoy moderate socialization. A mix of group and solo class projects and assignments and one or two meaningful extracurricular groups, are usually an excellent place to start for balance with ambiverts.
Extroverts gain energy from regular social interactions when it comes to socialization
In our global societies, extroverts tend to function best because they are usually associated with positive traits, like an outgoing attitude and popularity. This can be true for students in both online and brick-and-mortar schools. Extroverts naturally recharge through social interactions. And, while they might appreciate and even need some alone time, that amount of time is comparably minimal, as what gives them energy is interacting with other people. For online students, this will translate into lots of live class participation, a preference for group projects and assignments, and plenty of opportunities to join in on extracurricular activities, as well as councils and social clubs.
Online school can benefit introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts due to the flexibility often available to students who attend. Be sure to read 15 Incredible Experiences You Won’t Find In A Traditional Classroom to learn more!
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