I had never really considered my power as an introvert before I viewed Susan Cain’s TED Talk “The Power of Introverts”. I had always known that I had potential, but I had not thought about how my introversion affects and influences it. Cain is absolutely right, we as a society have never valued introversion as it is; instead of embracing it we have tried to change it. We value group interaction so much that we forget to let introverts have the space they need to be who they are as thinkers in order to let creativity flow and be leaders. Her quote, “When it comes to leadership and creativity we need introverts doing what they do best,” truly hits the nail on the head. Introverts can’t be the best they can be unless they are in the right ‘zones’, specifically seclusion, to do what they do. The same goes for extroverts, except for the ‘zone’ where they do their best thinking looks different than the introvert’s. People think and look at the world in different ways, and as a society we have to start accepting these different views. There has to be a balance in our world, no view should be more important than the other.
This article also proposed very important ideas for teachers to consider. This balanced view; or accepting the differences between extroverts and introverts, is so important. She mentioned that each of us has our own ‘suitcase’; they all look very different and it is a necessity to understand what is in your suitcase and why they are there. We as teachers have to help kids understand their ‘suitcases’. It is what makes them different and unique. These differences are going to very be apparent in our classrooms, and thus we must also allow our introverts to learn in ways that work for them, and do the same with our extroverts.
Another important argument was Cain’s call to action to stop constant group work in our classrooms. She is right, there is so much focus on group work in schools; I remember how much I hated all the work in groups we had to do. I typically preferred to work solo. There should be a balance of group and solo work, not too much of either. Furthermore, when we do assign group assignments in the classroom, we should use Susan’s idea of first allowing students going separate ways to be alone for a little while, or ‘go to the wilderness’ as she would say, to come up with their ideas to bring back to the group. Finally, we should give students some autonomy in how they do group work. If students are comfortable and feel as though they got a say in how they learning, it is going to become a much more positive and fruitful experience with them.
Now, if you excuse me, I am going to go into the wilderness.
Featured Image Photo CC-By: Steve Dunleavy. Link to Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode