“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Gandhi
At a professional development session I (Pooja) attended this week, I joined a conversation about the power of introverts. The conversation was framed around Susan Cain’s book entitled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. We live in a society where extroverts are the ideal; we value personality over character. This presentation, given by some of my quieter colleagues, was powerful because it forced me to reflect on ways I engage and include introverts in the classroom. The presenters explained that introversion and extraversion is not a black or white matter; rather we all fall somewhere along the continuum depending on the situation we find ourselves in. I also learned that introversion is not to be confused with shyness- a mistake many people (including myself) make when speaking about introverts.
I mostly identify as an extrovert. Knowing this is important because it can influence how I design my course to be more inclusive for all my students. As a more extroverted person, I walked out of the session with practices to consider revising in my classroom. Here are a few of the things I’ve been thinking about:
- Mindful of airtime- I often become uncomfortable in silence, and so I will fill in silent moments with talking or engaging only the most vocal members of the class in discussion. Silence can be a powerful thing; these are the moments where reflection occurs.
- Independent Work vs. Group Work- I try and put my students into pairs and/or groups every chance I get. I now am beginning to realize this is not the optimal working condition for all. I need to find a balance of group work and independent work.
Learn more about the power of the introverts here: