Communicating:

How Introverts and Extroverts Differ

Context and Questions

One of the biggest aspects of education that has fallen by the wayside is communication skills. For many school districts this has fallen on the shoulders of English Language Arts. Along with everything else English teachers do, they must now also teach communication.


Effective participation has always been an interesting question to think about for me. I was always someone who expected my students to have no problem sharing in class. For some students, getting in front of class to present is incredibly stressful. Interestingly enough, the #1 fear of Americans is public speaking. This idea led me to think about how to get introverts to effectively participate as well as how I could structure my classroom to get students to communicate in class.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts

This novel by Susan Cain addresses many issues. One of these issues is why are students successful. Why is it that introverts do better in schools and extroverts are more successful after graduation?


The book makes the claim that introverts live an incredibly extroverted world. It asserts that the world should value introverts for what they really are, rather than forcing them to become extroverted. It does go on to say that there are situations where it is more beneficial to act in a more extroverted way even though it may not be a part of that person's personality. In other words, sometimes people will put on a show in order to become more marketable.

Strategies

I implemented these three strategies for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to get a good gauge of the personalities of my classroom. I already had a rough idea that most of the students in my class were extroverted, but it would still be nice to be able to see just how many were extroverted as well as how extroverted they were.

Another important reason was that I wanted my classroom to be a safe place to make mistakes. I will make mistakes as a teacher and so will my students. Mistakes are not something that should be frowned on. Rather, they are an important learning experience.

Dustin Flake

TE 804
Inquiry Project 2013
flakedus@msu.edu
dustinflake.weebly.com


Assessment

With such a subjective study (communication skills) I felt like I needed to address how i was able to examine progression by the students.


1) Socratic Seminars: The class sits in a circle and answers questions about the novel we are studying. They are required to speak twice in order to receive credit for the day. At the beginning of the year, my introverts feared this activity with a passion. However, as the year progressed I had the students write their questions on a piece of paper the day before. This gave students extra support to think of things they could say during the discussion since they had the day to prepare


2) Chalk Talk: Yes, verbal communication is important but getting in front of class can be just as frightening for students. I had all the students get up and write a quote on the board to address something we were studying in class. They would write on the board and return to their seat. I asked the students to explain why they wrote something specific on the board. This gave them extra time to think of answers and not be put on the spot.

Findings

My class is designed for extroverts to succeed. Many of the activities we do are designed for students to get up, move around, and express themselves. However, at the end of the first semester, only two of my students received an "A". Both of these students were introverted, as well as the only introverts in my class. However


Things this shows me:

1) Introverts care what people think:

After speaking one on one with both introverts, they showed improvement in class participation

2) Communication is still incredibly important, however it is rarely graded in schools. However, with the new emphasis on speaking and listening in the Common Core, all subject areas should start incorporating more communication and group activity