Photo CC- Joe Wolf
I chose to watch the TED Talk The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. This blog post resonated with me because I have always identified as an introvert. In the video, Susan talked about how she felt guilty for not being more outgoing. I understand where she is coming from. My whole life, in and out of school, I have been told I need to be more outgoing. I need to be more cooperative in groups. I need to participate more in class discussions. I need to talk more. The problem was, I didn’t feel the need to. I learn better by sitting back and observing. I still got good grades and was able to answer questions when asked. So why push at me so hard to be an extrovert when I so desperately wanted to stay in my little bubble where I was comfortable? Why make me learn in a different way because it makes the teacher uncomfortable or worried that I’m not learning like everyone else? It is because we live in a society where everyone is expected to be happy and bubbly and social.
Susan pointed out that we now live in a culture of personality. Our culture now values people who are outgoing and have bubbly personalities. Instead allowing people to follow their natural tendencies, teachers force students into a mold where they need to all display extroverted behavior or they are considered a problem case. In many situations, grades might suffer because a student is introverted and it is construed as failure to participate. As I talked about in my blog post about Class Dojo, it is not fair to punish students who are more reserved simply because their learning style is different.
While it is important that students are comfortable working in groups and participating in discussions, it is also important for students to learn how to work by themselves. In my opinion, this is where introverts have an advantage over extroverted students. Introverts are much more independent because they prefer to work alone. For the most part, introverts will try to figure out things for themselves before bothering anyone else for help. Extroverts, on the other hand, are at a disadvantage because they would rather ask for help right off the bat rather than try to figure things out for themselves. It is almost like they need to have their hand held because they do not know how to work by themselves.
Since I’m going into art education, it will be easier for me to let students express themselves how they need to. I think it is important that students feel comfortable while learning. It is when someone is comfortable that they really get into their groove and get stuff done. When I was in high school I was really lucky. My teacher for one of my literature classes was really big on getting into groups and either reading together or discussing the book before completing our chapter assignments. However, she understood that some of us work better on our own, so she always gave us the option. I really appreciated that she gave that option and I wish more teachers would be as understanding as she was.