The Power of Introverts
Susan Cain, a confidant well spoken presenter, had the Ted talks audience engaged and laughing with her at her shared personal stories of being an introvert. Her shared knowledge and expertise describes how an introvert might assume the responsibility of the outside world and its demands, compelling the introvert to come out of their secure shell even though it might not feel natural to do so. As Susan Cain said about introverts, “A third to a half of the population are introverts — a third to a half” and further “It’s different from being shy.” Sharing her childhood memory of when she felt obliged to be extroverted, she goes on to say that she has had 50 or more stories that are similar. Susan went on to explain “Our most important institutions, our schools and our workplaces, they are designed mostly for extroverts and for extroverts’ need for lots of stimulation.” and “some of our transformative leaders in history have been introverts. I’ll give you some examples. Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi”.
Susan Cain is a well outspoken confidant presenter, however they are not natural traits and it took her a lot of practise to assimilate them. Having to explain in her presentation, how an introvert feels when they are drawn out of their norm, made me recognize the lack of knowledge we have about an introvert’s personality. Society acquire people to interact, and are drawn to people that are socially competent; it is the expectation and considered to be most acceptable. However, it could be disheartening and confusing for an introvert, that feels like they are socially competent person but just not recognized as one. I realized that Introverts too need stimulation, but not necessarily the same way as an extrovert. Therefore, recognizing who the introverts are and learning about how they are stimulated can open up our minds to recognizing what potential an introvert might have. I believe I am an introvert then at times I think I am an extrovert. Therefore, I understand how it feels to be both. For me, being introverted and extroverted, it is scenario or task driven. Let me explain, if I am assigned a task or have an event to attend, I usually recognize my capabilities on how I need to work to complete the task or what I need to attend the event. In some cases I might need more interaction and in some less. Therefore, some tasks and events might be more challenging for me than others, however, I can adapt, because just like Susan Cain I have practiced to do so too.
“Don’t let anyone dull your sparkles” (this is written on a pendant I purchased a couple of weeks ago).
As social interaction is on the rise trending in the media, it is also on the rise in the classroom. Therefore, learners are expected to interact accordingly. But this might not cater for all learners such as the introverted learners. The last thing needed is for a learner not to feel engaged in the learning process. As educators we need to “shine the sparkles versus dull them”. Introverted learners need assurance on how they are learning is acceptable; in order to do so, many forms of delivery methods and assessments need to be developed to accommodate the introverted or extroverted learner. As written by Rob Kelly in the “Private Journal Replaces Discussion Forum in Blended Course”, 2012 – “When she replaced the public discussions with private journals, the quality of students’ posts improved, as did their grades.” – See more at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/asynchronous-learning-and-trends/private-journal-replaces-discussion-forum-in-blended-course/#sthash.igDNdmAf.dpuf
Hence, introverted learners need different methods such as private journaling versus other interactive methods. I feel being more in tune with an introvert, and how they feel is far more important than trying to divert them to become an extrovert. Understanding what the needs are for learners as such, can help them with achieving better outcomes. Like Susan Cain stated, more than a third of the population is introverted, this could mean that one third of your learners are introverted. Therefore, there are significant numbers of learners that are considered to be introverts, how are they recognized as introverts and what instructional methods are used to adapt for the needs for these learners.
For the future I plan to use a variety of methods in my classroom for all types of learners including the introverted learner. I can use methods to delve deeper to discover prior knowledge – an assessment tool such as a self-report or discussion. Other methods I can use are pre questionnaires or a reflective statement.
“Assessment is today’s means of modifying tomorrow’s instruction.” Carol Ann Tomlinson
When determining the introverted learners in my classroom, I plan to use a blended classroom strategy where the learner in classroom learn interactively, but then at home learn on their own – this would cater for introvert and extrovert learners. Another method would to incorporate reflective and journal writing – this would help the learner understand how they learn, they learned, what needs to change and therefore the self-directed learner will adapt. I would apply time where the learner is working on their own and also in groups too. In order to provide all types of strategies, the introverted learner can learn to adapt, so they are well versed on how to deal the real life work experiences, and how to apply what they have learned.
Cain, S. (n.d.). http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.
http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/asynchronous-learning-and-trends/private-journal-replaces-discussion-forum-in-blended-course/#sthash.igDNdmAf.dpuf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com.