The power of introverted students
Posted July 18, 2016
Attention has been brought to recent cultural disparities regarding introverts — and teachers may not fully understand the capabilities of introverted students.
According to PsychCentral, up to half of students may be introverted.
Although introverted students may not raise their hands as often or seem as outgoing as extroverted students, they do not need constant stimulation in an educational setting.
According to the Atlantic, there are recent instructional trends like collaborative learning and project-based learning that call for extroverted behavior. "These can be appealing qualities in the classroom, of course, but overemphasizing them can undermine the learning of students who are inward-thinking and easily drained by constant interaction with others," the article argued.
The bestseller by Susan Cain, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking," has gained national attention and inspired teachers to develop curriculums that encourage interaction with introverted students.
Cain's book argues that society undervalues introverts and brings attention to famous introverts who have made large contributions to the community. "'Quiet' has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves," said Amazon's description of the book.
"Introverts often are really amazing, talented, gifted, loving children, and they feel like there's something wrong with them," Cain told NPR. "And our mission is to make it so that the next generation of kids does not grow up feeling that way."
A separate article from NPR noted that 60 educators recently gathered in New York City at the Quiet Summer Institute — a professional workshop based on Cain's book. "This training workshop uses this book — and Cain's latest book written for middle-schoolers — to help teachers notice, and serve, those quiet kids," according the publisher.
The teachers are striving to help introverted kids recognize their "superpowers" and feel comfortable expressing themselves in a classroom setting.
PsychCentral explained introverted students have many "superpowers," with the ability to develop strong friendships, create ideas by thinking deeply about topics, possess a gift for solving problems and are extremely observant.
Erica Corbin, the director of community life of diversity at a private school in Manhattan, mentioned at the workshop that teachers must think deeper about why introverted students are quiet, according to NPR.
"Personality might be some of it," Corbin said, "and we might have kids who are quiet because they have been shut down. We might have kids that are quiet because they anticipate being shut down whether they have been or not."
She mentioned that teachers understanding how to reach out to introverted students is essential. "Because if they don't start to look past the students with their hands up, 'we're all gonna miss out on a lot of brilliant ideas,'" according to NPR.