I recently reflected on a TedTalk by Susan Cain called The Power of Introverts:
It really opened my eyes to the fact that I might be overextending my introvert students by having too great a focus on collaboration, small group discussions, and high stimulus activities. I thought I’d investigate a bit more about how to harness the power of introverts in my classroom.
The first thing I figured I should do is have my students complete a test of some kind to determine where they fall on the extroversion scale. But once I got that data, what would I do with it? What could I do differently in my classrooms to make the learning environment more positive for introverts?
A few things noted by Tony Baldsaro in his article on edutopia are that intorverts need time and space. While time is really difficult to give in modern institutions, one thing that crossed my mind might be to end the class with a discussion question that student could ponder until the next class, at which time we could discuss the question. This would be in lieu of getting together in small groups to immediately discuss an issue. Regarding space, Tony has a great idea to let students wear headphones. This allows introverts to cancel out noise distractions and can prevent other students from interrupt their thinking.
Another idea Tony had, which is supported by Tanner Higgin’s article, is using a digital space where students can question, comment and discuss course topics during and after class. This provides introverts with the ideal space needed to freely explore and connect with similar learners, and the time to participate at their personal pace and depth. I will certainly be making more of an effort to foster an online learning community for my students.