Feb 8, 2013

And Extrovert Kids Need to Learn to Listen at School

Jessica Lahey has an article that explains why she feels Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up at School.

I've been thinking through those issues on and off for years, especially as I design my own lessons and work with other teachers. I look for articles and books related to the topic, like Susan Cain's Quiet. Below is a link to a Thinking Space about that book and introverts as well as a page that looks at the affordances and constraints of group work and individual work. Finally there is a link to a related rubric. A part of the rubric gets at listening.

I find it interesting that the "communication" Lahey mentions seems to only go one way with introverts needing to learn to speak up. Shouldn't we at the same time be working with teaching extroverts to listen?

Thinking Space - Quiet

Affordances & Constraints - Group/Individual Work

Teamwork Rubric

What is the balance we need to strike between letting kids work in their comfort zone and educating them in areas that may be less comfortable (both groups)?


21innovate said...

It's true that often teachers struggle with embracing student differences & strengths while still trying to gently push them to new heights. Encouraging quiet kids to speak up and 'loud' kids to listen certainly is a good example of this. It strikes me that so much of this behavior, one way or the other, stems from student lives outside of school (siblings, family, culture, etc). Should we help kids become "someone else" at school...?

Digital tools give us all, including students, opportunities to "speak out" in a variety of ways to a wide (or small) audience. Perhaps a less often cited way of using these same tools would be to encourage the loud kids to "listen" by reading what others have to say and leaving feedback. A quad-blogging project could be an example of this.

Of course there also needs to be that balance between face-to-face communication (including listening) and so that's where I struggle with HOW MUCH to push a student to get outside their comfort zone while still embracing their strengths.

BalancEdTech said...

Thanks, I'm adding your "Should we help kids become someone else at school ...?" to my questions on the Quiet page. I wonder if role playing changes things for introverts or extroverts?

Does introversion and extroversion play out differently online than in a regular classroom? At the grade levels I work at, I sometimes wonder how well I can answer that due to their still developing writing skills. More often than not, my kids are using such tools in pairs, I wonder how that colors things?

Joy Kirr said...

No snow day for me, but I can weigh in on this one... The first thing that comes to mind is my own experience. I am a chatterbox when I'm with friends and family. Uncle Ben used to call me "Gabby." However, in school, I tried to blend into the walls and not be heard. It worked for me. I was able to observe more and hear directions.

Then I think of my students. Yes, I think the extroverts could learn to listen better, and it would be a great life skill to have. But you can't change a tiger's stripes. I will focus on behavior that is a detriment to the class as a whole. If there is an issue with one student monopolizing a discussion or being so chatty others can't learn, then I will address it. If I believe a student will learn better by participating, I will address it. I think, however, that personalities will be what they are, and they will flourish when students are in their element, just as ours seem to do.

I do like the idea of digital tools giving students a new voice, or at least opportunities for our introverts to "say" as much as anyone else. Keep sharing these ideas to get us thinking!

BalancEdTech said...

If a tiger can't change their stripes, is it fair to grade the tiger on their stripyness or lack thereof? If they can't change their stripes, how much should we ask them to camouflage themselves? Should we teach those skills explicitly?

Mr. Fahnoe said...

I agree with the idea that there is a balance and we work to embrace all different types of personalities. I would offer a slightly different view as it pertains to future potential success however. The ability to converse effectively, exude confident, and work with others are key elements in career success and advancement. These should be elements of a lesson and opportunities for all learners to engage in. Even extroverts aren't always clear in their approach or persuasive in their dialogue. Sometimes they are just outgoing and loud. Part of engaging introverts is tapping into their interests and passions. Part is providing a safe environment for expression and connection. And a significant part is the expectation of participation with meaningful feedback and guidance so they don't feel left hanging after they engage.

BalancEdTech said...

Here's another blogger's take, Speaking up in the classroom.

"There were some classes that I would speak up in – but it wasn’t due to a participation point. It was because I felt comfortable. I had a relationship with that teacher. That I didn’t feel judged or on the stage. I was still nervous to speak but would do so without being prompted. And it should be no surprise that those were the classes I learned the most from."

Seems to be echoing Chris' comment on a safe environment. Do we also want to push the envelope on what is a "safe" environment over time for these students?

BalancEdTech said...

And a third blogger's take, Striking a Chord.

"I applaud the idea of self-advocacy, but that is an entirely different animal than class participation. To me, self-advocacy is being able to speak up in a small group or one-on-one situation when it is critical to be heard; it is not the ability to speak in front of crowds."

How are shyness and introversion different yet related? How do they relate to self-advocay?

BalancEdTech said...

Looks like The Atlantic article struck a dis chord, here's another comment on the piece, Speak Up, Already!.

I think this article along with the TED video I embedded on the Thinking Space - Quiet page would result in an excellent "conversation" at a staff meeting. How would you run that so that the introverted staff members would be comfortable and their ideas would be expressed?