March 07, 2016

The perception has been around as long as the hills. The hand that goes up quickest is attached to the brightest student, right? Not so fast.

There’s a new movement afoot to consider the hand not raised. Could it be attached to a student who possesses the answer, but chooses not to share it? Many times, it is. What’s behind this curious phenomenon?

In a word, introversion. Now, there’s a book exploring the quiet power of introverts – and shedding new light on their unique learning style. Susan Cain’s The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking spent weeks on the New York Times best-sellers list. (Extroverts would relish this type of attention.) You can read her NPR interview here.

Many of Cain’s findings have intriguing and actionable implications for educators, including:

  • Introversion isn’t the same as shyness. Introverts possess nervous systems that react more to stimuli around them. That means they feel more focused when there’s less commotion afoot.
  • Asking a class to think for one minute before answering a question helps introverts participate. It also helps the rest of the class engage with the material on a deeper level.
  • Social media can help. Teachers find that introverts are more likely to participate when they have the option of expressing themselves through their screens.

Building on the momentum of her book’s success, Cain created The Quiet Revolution. It’s widely recognized as an excellent resource for anyone interested in the care and feeding of introverts – covering a variety of topics such as creativity, learning, and leadership.

Intrigued by the nuances of teaching unique and diverse populations? A career in education could be your true life’s path. Talk to an admissions counselor today. Or start your application to be one step closer to the head of the classroom.