Every parents evening that I ever did have throughout Secondary school, I was always told to speak up more. To ask more questions and have more of an input. They rarely congratulated the extensive efforts I had gone to to produce the best projects. So, was it wrong of me to shy away from regularly putting my hand up?
Society has normalised being an extrovert - a person primarily concerned with the social and physical environment. They’ve almost ostracized introverts. Those more concerned about their own thoughts and feelings. The education system is still wholeheartedly fixed on the idea that one system of teaching fits all. While it may be easier to gage a student’s understanding by their input, it does not mean that being an extrovert makes you a better student. On the contrary, a larger proportion of CEO’s of the largest companies in the world are introverts rather than extroverts.
I won’t bore you with the comparisons between extroverts and introverts, I’m hoping you can already tell that my stance on introvertedness is that it’s a powerful tool which needs to be overlooked less. It should be mentioned though that introverts are generally more prudent and learn from listening. They make the effort to balance risk and strategy, they listen to learn rather than to respond. With that in mind, they go onto develop ideas and mindsets perhaps more creative than that of the extrovert.
So, if you’re a parent or guardian, don’t pester your quiet child to speak up more. Rather, make the effort to understand them. They most likely have some fascinating ideas whirring in their brains. Give them time to develop and explore avenues they enjoy. If they like getting lost in books, allow them to do so. If they enjoy sitting alone exploring new types of origami (as I did), then let them do so.
Take them out to do and explore new things. You can still have your days out and adventures to adventure parks and historical sites. But the key is to always communicate. Pressuring your child to have to talk in class isn’t healthy. I did get a little more talkative towards the end of my time in secondary school, but perhaps it was just the right time for me to come out of my hiding a little more. Having said that, despite the limited times I put my hand up in class, my GCSE’s came out pretty well and I hope it somehow proved that students don’t have to be talkative in lessons. Outside of lesson, I was a chatterbox. During the lesson, less so. And that’s okay. It’s normal and I have no regrets.
If you’re an introverted student, don’t feel guilty about the learning techniques which work best for you. Allow yourself to learn in the way you feel comfortable. Use the resources and teachers available to you as you need but never underestimate your own worth simply because it’s not in your nature to put your hand up in every lesson.
And if you’re extroverted, be mindful of the people around you. They’re most likely filled with crazy ideas that are worth exploring!