Good Read: Should Teachers Ask Introverted Kids to Speak Up at School?

| February 7, 2013 | 5 Comments
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“As a teacher, it is my job to teach grammar, vocabulary, and literature, but I must also teach my students how to succeed in the world we live in — a world where most people won’t stop talking. If anything, I feel even more strongly that my introverted students must learn how to self-advocate by communicating with parents, educators, and the world at large.”

Read the rest of Jessica Lahey’s insightful discussion on why she continues to count class participation into her grading, even for her introverted students.


Adapted from Sylverarts and PILart/ Shutterstock Next week marks the beginning of parent-teacher conferences. I can count on a few issues to come up: how I calculate grades, the degree to which I am willing to chase students for late work, and individual parents’ expectations about the flow of information between school and home.

Read more at: www.theatlantic.com

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  • I Disagree

    As an adult, I can attest that even as a child, I simply chose not to engage in classroom discussion. When I was called upon to explain what the teacher was asking about it interrupted my thought & learning process. I had already surpassed the question & was in deeper thought about the subject at hand. When called upon, I had to rewind causing me to loose my original train of thought. This was followed by a pause which gave the illusion that I wasn’t paying attention. Some of the other students would snicker as the teacher expected my answer to be as rehearsed as the ones waving their hands in the air to be called upon. I have no problem standing up for myself nor any deficits in being an advocate. I do however become extremely bored in dealings with persons who just talk and talk and talk. A person doesn’t need to speak aloud all the time to communicate and that seems to be something “extroverts” have yet to learn. Once an introvert type learns to read they can pretty much teach themselves but that wouldn’t make a teachers passing grade now would it?

  • Denise

    I disagree as well. I have had many a quiet student demonstrate solid
    learning via product, observation, one to one conversation. My daughter
    is one of those quiet students not wishing to speak up in class yet . . .
    she can often be found dancing, singing, acting on stage. She is who
    she is. I appreciate the instructors who realize that.
    Would you let a student’s written output challenges influence assessment of their learning?

  • KMB

    I could not disagree more. I always did exceptionally well in school. In junior high, I was forced to make speeches in English class. As a very introverted person, this was a nightmare. The stress made me physically ill, and disenfranchised me from my education. I had the same response when I was forced to go up on a stage in front of the entire school to accept academic awards. Why could I not have just been left alone? I have strengths as an introvert, which non-introverts may not have; I have capitalized on these strengths as an adult in a professional environment. Despite attempts to overcome an aversion to public speaking, the horror of public speaking has not diminished… So, forcing does not work, even when it the person choosing to force himself/herself. I have chosen a life and career path that does not force me to engage in these types of situations, and have done better for it, because I capitalized on my personal strengths.., Supporting the development of personal strengths is how teachers should support introverts, rather than forcing them into situations which horrify them.

    • KMB

      And please do not assume introverts cannot advocate for themselves.

      And please read Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”.