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A Place for Quiet

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Recently, I decided to Google the word introvert. I was curious what type of response there would be and most often the definition was related to “a shy person.” However, this definition, by Dictionary.com was the most thorough, I thought.

“Introvert: A term introduced by the psychologist Carl Jung to describe a person whose motives and actions are directed inward. Introverts tend to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings and minimize their contact with other people.”

Why this sudden interest in those who are introverts?

A book I’m reading called. Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.

As a child I was most definitely an introvert in an extrovert’s world. I was quiet. I stayed in the background. I tried to blend in and never be noticed. As I grew up I was heavily influenced by the world around me, as we all are, and began to step out more and more. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am now an extrovert; however, I am less uncomfortable when in the spotlight.

As a teacher of writers, I encourage a lot of talking in the workshop. To me, it cycles throughout the process and within a day I would like students engaging in talk before, during and after their writing time. But this book has me thinking. It has me wondering if I have forced talking on students who would rather process on their own. I consider myself a pretty reflective person and someone who determines needs based on each student. However, I’m not sure I’ve done all the right things when it comes to allowing students to process internally. I still believe, firmly, that talking through ideas helps us to bring them to the surface, but if not given the time to quietly allow these ideas to percolate how will they bubble to that surface?

My hope is to take the ideas and research from this book and take special care in determining who benefits most from talk and who benefits most from quiet.

Below is a TED Talk by Susan Cain where she explains the need for introverts and why we are losing out on opportunities to learn from these creative and quiet leaders.

 

Betsy Hubbard View All

Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.

7 thoughts on “A Place for Quiet Leave a comment

  1. You’ve raised such an important issue here, Betsy. We have to be respectful of all learning styles in our classrooms (and in our writing workshop). I will be thinking about how we meet kids’ learning needs while nudging them out of their comfort zones.

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  2. This was such an interesting read! I would like to read the book you referenced and learn more about suggestions for helping the introverted kids. It calls to mind Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences and the interpersonal vs. intrapersonal. I think I have a mix of both- enjoy working and learning with others but also like to formulate ideas on my own before sharing. There is a lot to say and explore with this topic!

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  3. I made it three quarters of the way through Cain’s book; it was one I casually picked up and read during lunch or when I needed a break from student papers. I was definitely an introvert in school as well (I shuddered at the thought of being in called on in math, but oddly enough loved reading out loud in English class because I was really good at reading). When I joined the forensics team, something inside me just burst forth and deep down I think I was mostly an extrovert, I just didn’t have teachers who knew how to help me. Now I love talking – a lot – in front of people especially. However, I actually prefer a quiet work environment with no talking. So, I have had to work really hard to find a good balance in my classroom between being dead silent and allowing a teeny bit of chatting to let that “processing information” occur. I want to get better at partner talks to help kids help each other, but I really respect the kids who don’t want to talk or read out loud. I just want them to know that they matter to me and that I notice them even though they are quiet. There’s nothing wrong with being quiet. 🙂

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  4. I am definitely an introvert. It surprises people because I don’t mind speaking in front of groups, but introversion has more to do with processing. I process inwardly. I have to have quiet time every day. But somehow when everything is quiet in my classroom, I worry. I walk around to make sure everyone is on task and usually stop to chat with one or two and the noise level rises again. I worry about those classrooms where everyone sits quietly in their desks. We need balance, a time for quiet and a time for talk. I need that balance and so do my students.

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    • I’m glad you so clearly distinguished between introverted and shy. There is a difference. I too consider my self an introvert, though I have no trouble speaking in front of groups. My trouble arises if I don’t balance my day well enough (or my week). I need time to process on my own, I need work space that allows for me to think through ideas, I prefer small groups to large social events, and I need “alone time” just to be.
      I struggle with the mandates for conversation in our classroom and try to offer students a variety of ways to communicate ideas while providing extra quiet think and work time for those who need it.

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  5. Such an important topic, Betsy. I have used this Ted Talk and had students observed how different kinds of people (extrovert, introvert) lead in my literacy coaching class at a local university. I am so glad you brought this topic to Two Writing Teachers.

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