If a child can’t learn the way we teach,
maybe we should teach the way they learn.
~ Ignacio Estrada ~
Have you ever wished that your shy student would break out of his or her shell? You know they have some great thoughts, but they don’t share them with anyone. What about the shy teacher who might have more to offer to colleagues? Are there ways to enhance communication and collaboration? (Breaking the Mold)
#ECOO13 is coming up soon, and I am thrilled to have the chance to talk about the benefits that technology provides for introverted students and educators. My friend, Jenni Scott-Marciski, will be presenting with me (thank goodness!), and we hope to share some resources, stories, and ways to help introverts “break the mold”.
So, what does it mean to be introverted? Linda Kreger Silverman provides the following definition:
Introverts are oriented inward toward the subjective world of thoughts and concepts; they get their energy from inside themselves; and they are inclined toward reflection. Extraverts are oriented outward, become energized through interaction with people and things, and are directed toward action. Whereas introverts feel drained by too much interaction with people, extraverts are energized by interaction—the more, the merrier. *Excerpted from Silverman, L. K. (2013). Giftedness 101. New York, NY: Springer.
Before moving on, I should clarify that shyness is not the same as being introverted. Tony Baldasaro wrote an article for Edutopia, explaining it this way:
The key is how your student re-energizes. If she does so by being with others, she’s an extrovert. If she does so by being alone, she’s introverted. It’s important to realize, however, that introverts are not always shy, and extroverts can be shy.
Susan Cain inspired much of the work that Jenni and I have prepared. Her book, Quiet, contains a wealth of information, insight and resources to help understand those who may not be as vocal as others.
How do we enable our students to share their thoughts with others? How do we help them to take advantage of their strengths without making them cringe at the thought of interacting with others?
Since introverts like having time to process information before they share it, writing can be a helpful tool. To help them widen their horizons, try blogging with your students . Blogging provides an opportunity for students to build their confidence as they get used to sharing their ideas with other people.
I can’t explain exactly what it is about blogging that allows me to think a bit differently, and possibly to think a bit more. I could liken it to the way an artist nurtures an idea: from a simple thought that is slowly and carefully processed, it brews in my mind while I am busy doing other things, and I can see my idea from a variety of perspectives.
Some other helpful tools:
VoiceThread — A program/app that allows you to capture images on your screen & comment (text or voice) on content. Helpful for presentations and collaborative work!
Screenr — If you want to capture activity on your screen while discussing what you see, try experimenting with Screenr. Very user-friendly!
- Tricia Fuglestad recommends Socrative, “a way to poll, quiz or respond in class via iPads” (or any device with a web browser)
- Theresa McGee recommends Padlet, which can be used on computers & iPads, and provides an interactive wall on which students can collaborate.
Students who seem timid and shy may just need a little help to share their voice. You might be surprised by all they have to say!
I was thankful for Jonathon Colman’s enlightening (and funny) presentation on introversion. Enjoy his thoughts in the video below:
Are you an Introvert? via Business News Daily