Sunday, February 12, 2012

Introverts and Extroverts in Classrooms

I've been reading the brand new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, and I just keep thinking about the implications for our schools. Our society and our schools are currently designed to reward extroverted behavior, and I've long believed that this is fundamentally unfair to our students who aren't natively wired to behave this way. As the book points out, introverts are very important to our society. We need both the talkers and the thinkers--the social butterflies and the readers--those who like to work in groups or speak in class and those who prefer to work on their own--those who deliver the message the best and those who quietly created that message.

Face to face groups can be intimidating for an introvert, and with so many well rewarded extroverts in classrooms, it can even become just plain difficult to get a word in edgewise. Technology offers us some wonderful tools to accommodate the needs of our students who are introverts. With email, discussion boards, shared documents, Twitter, blogging, chatting, and many other forms of technology for communicating, we can provide our introverted students with new tools to participate more fully in their education and to share their important insights, knowledge, and thoughts with their peers.

I am happy that Susan Cain has opened the conversation. I hope that we will come together as educators and think about whether some of our methods for educating give an unfair advantage to extroverts and whether we might be overlooking the introverts who have so much to share but have often not been given a comfortable outlet to do so.


  1. I want to read it. Do you have a hard copy or is it on your Kindle?