Promoting introvert’s voice without forcing it.

Posted on Posted in General
Finding balance between essential skills and respect for different styles using inquiry.

It’s estimated that over 50% of students have introverted characteristics. And they have many well documented gifts and capabilities. But their introversion can put them at odds with modern learning.

There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts 

The culture of classrooms tends to value extroverts. Thinking out loud is too often considered participation. And many activities are organized as group activities with limited quiet time. The result is a classroom environment that is unnecessarily stressful and draining for introverts.

Participation is often conflated with thinking out loud, that's something at which extroverts excel but with which introverts struggle.

Tanner Higgin, Director at Commonsense.org
Student voice and choice with introverts.

Participating in dialogue, presentation of thoughts and self expression are all 21st century skills. So it is essential that we develop them, including with introverted students. But finding a balance between essential skill development and the needs of introverts is a challenge. Technology is proving to help, including Recap. Importantly, it gives introverted students time to formulate their responses in advance of speaking, a key recommendation by experts.

But as we’ve found from our users, the most basic application of Recap where student responses are prompted with teacher formulated questions still has real problems. It gives limited choice to students and often forces their voices. Students feel like responses are a performance, not a genuine expression based on new understanding. And this minimizes the impact of their voice.

Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts
What do the experts say?
Leading educators and researchers have come up with guidelines and practices to better support introverts in the classroom. Some common ones include:
There is one recommendation that rises to the top of the heap for us. That is to focus on student’s passion, interests and what makes them curious. Most of the other guidelines focus on ways to avoid conflicting with introverts learning style. But focusing on students passion is where you can help introvert’s gifts truly shine.

Making sure that the child is speaking about a subject that they're truly passionate about and excited to speak about is important.

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts
Hmm..this sounds a lot like Inquiry.
Most articles on the subject stop short of making the connection to inquiry. But to anyone familiar with this valuable teaching method, the connection should be obvious. Inquiry is a method proven to build student motivation through connecting with their interests and passions. This is why Recap’s newest tools were added. They are designed to focus and rethink classroom dialogue using questions. It elevates what teachers can do beyond simple prompted responses to provide you new ways to discover student passions and build dialogue around them. And they represent a new option to promote student voice and choice in a way that supports all learning types, not just extroverts.

How Recap Builds Passion through Inquiry

Helps build interest: Starting the dialogue by gathering more questions instead of immediately prompting responses helps introverted students discover questions that interest them more and builds their curiosity in a subject.

More choices: Tools for the whole class to explore and provide input on the questions that get selected for response presents new opportunity for student voice and choice to be expressed and respected.

Communication options: Written questions and comments on questions in addition to responding on video provide more choices for introverted students to participate in the dialogue before or instead of video responses.

1-1 Conversations: Tools for private questions, comments and responses with teachers help you truly get to know students and understand their needs and interests.

Connect resources: Teachers can create Journeys for individual students to give them added learning storylines to build interest and resources that help build upon their passions.

No assessments: We have purposely kept assessment tools out of Recap to avoid the confusion between grading, and the kinds of participation and authentic learning we want to foster.

When it comes to promoting students voice and choice, we believe using inquiry is the ideal way to do this. Especially when introverts are involved. And we encourage you to try using Recap to help do that.

Already using Recap with introverts and want to share your experience? We’d love to hear them. Please email us at emily@letsrecap.com

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