Susan Cain in the video, “The Power of Introverts” (2013) suggests that the Western culture is increasingly suppressing introverts and celebrating extraverts. She further discusses how current cultural and societal norms idealize and value the extravert over the quieter, more contemplative introverts. Cain emphasizes that she is not putting down extraverts; but stressing that introverts have so much to offer society. She discusses how introverts make better leaders as they are great listeners and are more open to the input of others. Cain describes introverts as individuals that are highly valuable in financial investing professions as their cautious personalities prevent them from taking unnecessary risks. She further delves in the need to reduce “group” work or activities to allow introverts and everyone the space to develop and foster creative and independent intellectual thought. Cain provides several examples of influential people that made history after providing themselves the space they needed to work/think independently or in solitude. She concludes the video by reiterating the following three points: 1) reducing group work in the workplace and school so individuals have the opportunity to foster autonomy and deep thought, 2) to allow ourselves to spend alone time with our own minds in solitude and 3) stressing introverts to be themselves, show the world who they are and what they have to offer.
While watching the video, I was repeatedly saying, “Oh my gosh-this my brother, my best friend and boyfriend!!” I asked myself, “Why are the most significant people in my life introverts?”. When Cain started to talk about the characteristics of introverts and why our society needs them -all I thought about was how and why I was drawn to those particular characteristics. I just kept on visualizing the faces of my loved ones. They indeed possess great listening skills and are cautious individuals. I recalled the many occasions where I needed someone to really listen and give me a more rationalized and cautious approach to situations that really upset me. As Cain continued, I felt a sense of sadness…for these individuals are highly valuable in our lives and society and how we need to give them the opportunity to be themselves and not to try to suppress their strengths.
Cain really demonstrated how our society has idealized the extrovert and marginalized introverts; in addition, to pressuring them to develop/adopt extroverted personas. I believe Cain’s presentation was very captivating and gently critiqued how our society pushes the “Extrovert Ideal”, suppressing valuable temperaments, intellect and creativity. She touches on how educational facilities are catering to/pushing extraverted learning styles on introverted personalities. Instead of fostering learning in all types of learners educators are hindering the growth and learning of introverted personalities. Cain made it very clear to extraverts and all persons that we need to become aware of this unfair and biased “Extravert Ideal” and give introverts the opportunity to flourish and contribute to society how they know best.
As a learning facilitator I will ensure that I do my best in ensuring there is a balance of independent as well as, collaborative learning and activities in my learning environment. I believe by doing this I will be respecting both, introverted and extraverted personality types. As, Cindy Long discusses in her article, “Author of ‘Quiet’ Talks About How to Engage Introverts in the Classroom” as educators, “Instead of trying to change introverts, we should cultivate their natural gifts. Introverts have great ideas inside their heads and it benefits everyone else when they express them.”(2013) Long discusses how educators can help introverts express their ideas and play to the their strengths. She suggests instructional strategies such as, “Think, Pair, Share” where instructors asks the class questions and asks the students to pair up with another student to share their ideas (2013). The instructor then asks the students which of them would like to share their answers. This technique helps introverts “break the ice” as they share their thoughts with another student and may feel more comfortable sharing their answer with the rest of the class. Even if the introvert does not share their answer with the rest of the class he/she has still participated in the class discussion (Long, 2013). I will ensure that I have the students in my classroom answer/respond to the questions I present to them in this fashion. Additional strategies are also mentioned in and online article called, “Tips for Teaching introverted Students” by an unknown author (2013). The website from which this article is posted is titled the Association of American Educators. It suggests the following: making sure the lesson being presented is deep and meaningful, giving these learners enough time to formulate their thoughts, promoting independent study/assignments and finally giving introverts alternative means of participation (online discussions forums). (Unknown, 2013) I will do my best to implement the above suggestions in my classroom and my pass the suggestions and ideas along to my colleges and superiors. I do not want introverts to feel shameful of who they are, deem themselves as outcasts and suppress their strengths.
Long, C. (2013). Author of ‘Quite’ Talks About How to Engage Introverts in the Classroom. [website]. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2013/03/21/author-of-quiet-talks-about-engaging-introverts-in-the-classroom/
Unknown (2013) Tips for Teaching introverted Students. [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.aaeteachers.org/index.php/blog/974-tips-for-teaching-introverted-students
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts. [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html