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Dave Van Patten for NPR


Introverts often are really amazing, talented, gifted, loving children, and they feel like there's something wrong with them. It's a person who feels at their best and at their most alive when they're in quieter, more mellow environments. An introverted kid would rather draw quietly or would rather play their favorite sport with one or two other kids. A more extroverted child would rather be part of a big gang and a big noisy birthday party, and not only not be fazed by it but seem to really relish all that stimulation.

There are expectations on our kids to be a charismatic extrovert. Even if it's unconsciously, teachers tend to give more attention to the louder students, calling on the kids who raise their hands first. So what can be done to help teachers notice, and serve, those quiet kids in the class?

Susan Cain explains in her book Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts

What are the right ways to think about class participation? And are we over-evaluating as an educational culture? We overvalue the person who raises their hand all the time. Why is that important? Do we overvalue in quantity, as opposed to quality, of participation? Are there ways to think about class participation differently? Like we [at Quiet Revolution] have been encouraging schools to think in terms of classroom engagement rather than participation. Take a more holistic way of looking at how a child is engaging with this material or with their classmates.

But focusing on introverts also means reining in the extroverts.

One idea is the think/pair/share technique where the teacher asks the students a question; asks them to think about the answer. They pair up with another student to talk about their reflections. And then, once they're paired, once they've articulated it with that partner, then you ask each pair to share their thoughts with the room as a whole. And this does a lot of great things for introverted kids. No. 1, it gives them the time to process. No. 2, it allows them to get the experience of articulating their thoughts out loud. But in front of only one other student, they don't have to do it in front of the whole class. And then, often, once they have had that warmup period with one other student, they're then much more likely to want to share with the whole class.

Public speech trauma: should teachers push introverts along, out of their comfort zone? Better not, says Susan Cain, there's too big a risk of it backfiring and the experience going poorly and the fear being further codified in their brain. You're much better off meeting a fear in small steps. The answer is not: 'OK, you never have to do... ' The Answer is: "OK. You're afraid of public speaking. Why don't you prepare your speech and work on it first with your best friend?" Give the speech to your friend. And then, when you've done that, maybe you can give it to another, smaller group. From there, you work up in stages, to finally giving the all out speech. You look for ways to make the experience less anxiety producing. Making sure that the child is speaking about a subject that they're truly passionate about and excited to speak about is important.

Concluding with a quote from a reader comment:
Sure, introverts are not the people who kick the door open with their foot, but down the road, many managers/leaders/scientists are introverts since it takes time, patience and perseverance to achieve success.

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/02/18/465999756/how-parents-and-teachers-can-nurture-the-quiet-power-of-introverts
http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/07/06/483272807/how-teachers-can-help-quiet-kids-tap-their-superpowers

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Learning analytics, educational data mining, formative assessment - all recent buzz words in educational research. In principle, the idea is to find theoretical frameworks, models, procedures, and smart tools to collect, aggregate, analyze, reason on and visualize large scale educational data. LEA’s BOX is a research and development project funded by the European Commission. The project aims at (a) making educational assessment and appraisal more goal-oriented, proactive, and beneficial for students, and (b) at enabling formative support of teachers and other educational stakeholders on a solid basis of a wide range of information about learners. That means, LEA’s BOX is a learning analytics toolbox that is intended to enable educators to perform competence-centered, multi-source learning analytics. More info at http://www.leas-box.eu!

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