“Well-designed small group learning experiences draw on the skills of all group members rather than creating situations where the most extroverted and gregarious students control the learning.” (Monahan, 2013, para. 6) Prior to taking the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma program particularly, the Instructional Strategies course ( PIDP 3250) I admit I had not put enough time and and/or much thought into how to prepare curriculum for learners who are introverts. I consider myself to be an extrovert therefore, naturally not bothered by large groups of people. I thrive on being in front a class and enjoy working with others in a group. Reflecting back on some past learners experiences however I now see how introverts may have a preference for small group and individual work options vs. group work. Instead of presenting material to the larger group learners who are introverts usually prefer to attain their grade by working alone and receiving feedback one to one with the instructor.
“Unlike extroverts, who typically are energized by social interaction, introverts can find connecting with large groups of unfamiliar people exhausting.” (Monahan, 2013, para 2). The above point makes sense to me now. I plan to be more observant of the types of learners who make up my classes. It would not be fair of me to heavily weigh overall class grades on large group presentations or individual’s participation in group based activities as this is not always the best way to bring genuine thoughts or ideas from learners who fit the criteria for being introverted. I have decided that in the future I will be observant and mindful of this and try to incorporate a variety of ways I might better support and foster learners who are introverts. As Susan Cain highlights in The Power of Introverts, one on three people in the world are considered introverts (Cain, 2012). With this knowledge, I will make sure there are a variety of types of assignments that include either individual work and/or personal reflections on the course material (i.e. journal writing and short essays etc.) and when possible offer online options such as a course BLOG, group WIKI and/or ongoing Forum discussion sites.
“The very first class is an excellent time to establish participation norms and to create a classroom climate that supports introverts in their learning.” (Monahan, 2013, para 4). I might also plan an activity early on in the course (i.e. during the first week of classes once learners are settled in) where learners are partnered up to complete assignments. Learners considered more introverted will hopefully feel more at ease throughout the rest of the course. Thus, providing an opportunity to learn in pairs and small groups there is still there is an expectation for teamwork among classmates“…for the introverted student who, left to his own devices, might sit through an entire semester completely on his own.” (Monahan, 2013, para 4).
Cain, S. (2012). The Power of Introverts [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts
Monahan, N. (2013). Keeping Introverts in Mind in Your Active Learning Classroom. Retrieved on November 22, 2015 at http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/keeping-introverts-in-mind-in-your-active-learning-classroom/