Education trends such as “collaborative learning” and group projects ignore the needs of introverts, writes Michael Godsey, a California English teacher, in The Atlantic. One third to one half of students are introverts, he estimates. They do best working independently and quietly.
Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking was a hit, yet “classroom environments that embrace extroverted behavior — through dynamic and social learning activities — are being promoted now more than ever,” writes Godsey.
The University of Chicago library plans to turn a reading room into a “vibrant labratory of interactive learning.”
“Students must overcome isolation in order to learn to write,” according to Dartmouth’s Institute for Writing and Rhetoric.
Recently, he visited a large public high school where all but four of 26 teachers had arranged students in groups or with partners.
I told two teachers on separate occasions that I’d feel incredibly exhausted at the end of every day if I were a student at that school. . . . One recalled learning best when arranged in rows, while the other concurred, “I know, right? How exhausting it must be to have another student in your business all day long.”
Three of the four classes where students were seated individually in rows were AP or honors courses, Godsey observes.
. . . I’m reminded of Sartre’s famous line, “Hell is other people,” when I see that Georgia College’s webpage dedicated to collaborative learning, which includes the topic sentence: “Together is how we do everything here at Georgia College. Learn. Work. Play. Live. Together.” Everything, that is, except quiet introspection, free of cost and distraction.
Diana Senechal, who teaches philosophy at a New York City high school, wrote about the need for solitary reflection in Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture.
Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up in School, argued Jessica Lahey in 2013. Two thoughtful responses persuaded her to modify her views. She recommends Katherine Schultz’s Why Introverts Shouldn’t Be Forced to Talk in Class, and Susan Cain’s Help Shy Kids, Don’t Punish Them.