Introverts and extroverts, and the ‘extrovert ideal’

You’ll find a mixture of introverts and extroverts in any classroom. In fact, one of the most important aspects of personality is where someone falls on the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  But what exactly does this mean and how should this inform how the modern higher ed class is taught?

New York Times bestseller and so-called Chief Revolutionary of The Quiet Revolution, Susan Cain, has become world-renowned for discussing this spectrum, specifically highlighting the strengths of introverts and the importance of quiet leaders in all types of environments—and she’s the focus of a free Top Hat webinar on introverts and extroverts in the classroom.

In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Cain highlights that in today’s classroom we make room for a narrow range of personality styles. Our school systems tend to correlate active participation and speaking up in lecture with being more competent and driven.

This value system is the “extrovert ideal,” in which individuals that work well in teams, socialize in groups, and prefer action to contemplation are the ideal student. Many educators even base marks on active class discussions and make group projects mandatory.

It’s time to ask ourselves: Are the best methods being used in lectures to bring out the most thoughtful, creative ideas, or is the class environment set up to impede the deep learning of a proportion of students?

Embracing the extrovert ideal is a grave mistake, says Cain. Many of the world’s best ideas are fostered by introverts, who fuel their learning with observation and engaging in deliberate practice alone. She goes on to discuss how college students who tend to study alone, learn more over time than those who work in groups.

So how can educators foster an open, engaged environment in which everyone can learn, regularly contribute and benefit from class content?

In an effort to bring light to this highly debated topic, Cain is joining Top Hat on Thursday, May 10 in a webinar in which she will discuss how you can best engage and motivate introverts inside and outside the classroom.  

In this webinar you will:

  • Discover how to empower both introverts and extroverts inside and outside of the classroom
  • Develop strategies to involve all types of learners and personalities within your classroom, whether online or in class
  • Learn how forced student collaboration can sometimes stand in the way of innovation.

Fill out the form below to register and receive a link over e-mail to attend the webinar. It’s free.

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Evelyn Morris

Evelyn Morris

Evelyn Morris is Content Marketing Specialist for Top Hat. She has a B. Ed from Queen's University, Ontario, and a Graduate Diploma in Business from the Smith School of Business.