Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teachers: Are you trying to turn introverts into extroverts?

 Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain should be read by educators.

In her highly-researched book, Cain points out that our society has come to prize the extrovert ideal - "the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking and certainty to doubt."    

Cain goes on to note that it is a mistake to idealize extroversion (and treat introversion as a personality trait that is an impediment) because many of the great accomplishments in history have been the work of introverts and because 30-50% of the population fits into the introverted category.

"The truth is that many schools are designed for extroverts. Introverts need different kinds of instruction from extroverts, write College of William and Mary education scholars Jill Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig. And too often, 'very little is made available to that learner except constant advice on becoming more social and gregarious.'"

Cain goes on to say that the instructional model used in most schools exists that way because it is most cost-efficient - not because it is the best way to educate students. "The purpose of school should be to prepare kids for the rest of their lives but, too often what kids need to be prepared for is surviving the school day itself."

is a great book for educators, parents, business leaders...actually for anyone who wants to better understand human nature.

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