Last month, Mollie posted about the perils that a world organized by extraverts presents for their introvert brethren. The outporing of sympathetic comments revealed that we are well beyond quorum levels for introverts here at Ricochet, which leads to my curiosity as to how they would respond to this piece in the Atlantic by Jessica Lahey, a New Hampshire teacher who is adamant about the fact that it's the extroverts' world and introverts just live in it. To wit:
I am aware that as an extrovert, I naturally teach to and understand the needs of extroverts. Consequently, I have worked very hard to research and implement teaching strategies that work for introverted students. I have a personal interest in the subject as well, as I am married to one introvert and mother to another.
Thankfully, there's more information on introverts out there than ever before. I tapped into my amazing personal learning network of educators and gathered a towering pile of books on my nightstand, topped by Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. In her book, Cain champions the often-overlooked talents and gifts of introverts, and offers parents and educators strategies for communication and evaluation. This year, I drew on this advice and made a number of changes to my classroom in order to improve learning opportunities for my introverted students.
In the end, I have decided to retain my class participation requirement. As a teacher, it is my job to teach grammar, vocabulary, and literature, but I must also teach my students how to succeed in the world we live in -- a world where most people won't stop talking. If anything, I feel even more strongly that my introverted students must learn how to self-advocate by communicating with parents, educators, and the world at large.
Dr. Kendall Hoyt -- introvert, assistant professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School,-- agrees. "You don't get a pass for your personality type. I understand that social anxiety is a real thing - I am an introvert, and my mother used to actually faint if she had to do public speaking - but part of my job as a teacher is to teach people how to articulate and be heard."
Personally, I always hated participation requirements as a student, as they tended to privilege the guy who knew that he could secure a chunk of his grade by raising his hand and badly rehashing what the teacher had just said. It bothered me less that it was punitive towards introverts than that it was an academic subsidy for people who were willing to talk, regardless of whether they had anything worthwhile to say. I think this is probably about the time that my affection for Calvin Coolidge started.
What say you? Is this a reasonable concession to the world introverts will have to live in? Or further proof that education tends to treat introverts as aliens in need of assimilation?
P.S. -- I think most introverts would recognize "self-advocate" as a phrase invented by extroverts so they can hold seminars about it.