Introverts, especially introverted children have strengths too

23 May

Children who are introverted can face challenges in school and may even be labeled as less intelligent. The Myers & Briggs Foundation defines

Extraversion (E)
I like getting my energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. I’m excited when I’m around people and I like to energize other people. I like moving into action and making things happen. I generally feel at home in the world. I often understand a problem better when I can talk out loud about it and hear what others have to say.

The following statements generally apply to me:

  • I am seen as “outgoing” or as a “people person.”
  • I feel comfortable in groups and like working in them.
  • I have a wide range of friends and know lots of people.
  • I sometimes jump too quickly into an activity and don’t allow enough time to think it over.
  • Before I start a project, I sometimes forget to stop and get clear on what I want to do and why.

Introversion (I)
I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world. I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with. I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act. Ideas are almost solid things for me. Sometimes I like the idea of something better than the real thing.

The following statements generally apply to me:

  • I am seen as “reflective” or “reserved.”
  • I feel comfortable being alone and like things I can do on my own.
  • I prefer to know just a few people well.
  • I sometimes spend too much time reflecting and don’t move into action quickly enough.
  • I sometimes forget to check with the outside world to see if my ideas really fit the experience.

http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/extraversion-or-introversion.asp

Studies indicate that schools seek to bring students “out of their shells” and that this might not be the appropriate approach for many introverted students.

Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, Studies Illustrate Plight of Introverted Students:

Educators often look for ways to bring quiet children out of their shells, but emerging research suggests schools can improve academic outcomes for introverted students by reducing the pressure to be outgoing and giving all students a little more time to reflect.

“Whoever designed the context of the modern classroom was certainly not thinking of the shy or quiet kids,” said Robert J. Coplan, a psychology professor and shyness expert at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. With often-crowded, high-stimulation rooms and a focus on oral performance for class participation, he said, “in many ways, the modern classroom is the quiet kid’s worst nightmare.”

Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, published by Random House this year, argues that such children often stop learning when they feel emotionally threatened in a class environment in which being an extrovert is considered the norm.

“There is too often a tendency to see it as inferior or even pathological,” Ms. Cain said, “so teachers feel they have to turn the introvert into an extrovert.”

Quiet as Stupid?

Take a typical class review session, in which a teacher asks rapid-fire questions and calls on students in turn.

“So if a teacher asks a question and the person doesn’t answer right away,” Mr. Coplan said, “the most common thing is the teacher doesn’t have time to sit and wait, but has to go on to someone else—and in the back of their head might think that child is not as intelligent or didn’t do his homework.”

That slowness to speak can dramatically affect a student’s success in classrooms where vocal participation and group activities are critical.

A 2011 study found teachers from across K-12 rated hypothetical quiet children as having the lowest academic abilities and the least intelligence, compared with hypothetical children who were talkative or typical in behavior.

Interestingly, teachers who were identified as and who rated themselves as shy agreed that quiet students would do less well academically, but did not rate them as less intelligent.

As many as half of Americans are introverts, according to the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, located in Gainesville, Fla.

There’s a distinction between shyness—generally associated with fear or anxiety around social contact—and introversion, which is related to a person’s comfort with various levels of stimulation.

A shy student, once he or she overcomes the fear, may turn out to be an extrovert, invigorated by being the center of attention.

By contrast, an introverted child may be perfectly comfortable speaking in class or socializing with a few friends, but “recharges her batteries” by being alone and is most energized when working or learning in an environment with less stimulation, social or otherwise, according to Mr. Coplan and Ms. Cain.

Tenth graders Kintaro Campbell, foreground, and Jamel Martin, make use of a hallway nook at City Neighbors Hamilton Charter School in Baltimore. The school tries to provide an introvert-friendly environment.

Matt Roth for Education Week

Mr. Coplan and his colleagues found differencesRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader between shy and introverted students as early as age 4: In play observations, shy children tended to hover anxiously just outside a group of unfamiliar children, while introverted children played quite happily on their own and did not attempt to approach other children.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/23/32introvert_ep.h31.html?tkn=TSNFSjYi5Wrg6ciARZyM5VJc%2BbPitjNrl3Q7&cmp=clp-edweek

Citation:

Is silence golden? Elementary school teachers’ strategies and beliefs regarding hypothetical shy/quiet and exuberant/talkative children.

By Coplan, Robert J.; Hughes, Kathleen; Bosacki, Sandra; Rose-Krasnor, Linda

Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 103(4), Nov 2011, 939-951.

Abstract

The primary goal of the present study was to examine elementary teachers’ strategies, attitudes, and beliefs regarding hypothetical shy (i.e., quiet), exuberant (i.e., overly talkative), and average (i.e., typical) children. We explored whether these strategies and beliefs varied as a function of the gender of the hypothetical child as well as teachers’ own shyness. Participants were 275 elementary school teachers (241 women, 34 men) ranging in age from 23 to 64 years (M = 40.97, SD = 10.02). Teachers were presented with vignettes depicting hypothetical children displaying shy/quiet, exuberant/talkative, or average/typical behaviors in the classroom and responded to follow-up questions assessing their strategies and beliefs. Teachers also completed a self-report measure of shyness. Among the results, teachers were more likely to respond to exuberant/talkative children with high-powered and social learning strategies and to employ peer-focused and indirect strategies for shy/quiet children. Teachers also believed that shy/quiet children were less intelligent and would do more poorly academically than would exuberant/talkative children. However, some of these findings were moderated by teachers’ own level of shyness. Results are discussed in terms of their educational implications for the social and academic functioning of shy and exuberant children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Polly Leider had an excellent CBS News report about introverted children.

In, ‘Hidden Gifts Of Introverted Child‘ Leider reports:

A new book, “The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child,” offers insight into the special talents of introverts and offers parents some valuable advice. Author Marti Olsen Laney joined The Early Show on Monday to discuss the book with co-anchor Rene Syler.

Laney outlined some of the characteristics shared by most introverts.

  • They enter new situations slowly
  • They speak softly and sometimes hunt for words
  • They need time alone to re-charge
  • They have one or two good friendsOlsen also emphasizes that introverted children should not be confused with shy children.

    “Shyness is really when your threat system is easily triggered so that you feel afraid or threatened by people or situations,” she explained. “So either extroverts or introverts could be shy and, actually, more extroverts are shy.”

    What separates introverts from extraverts is their reaction to social situations. While extraverts thrive on social interaction, introverts are exactly the opposite. “Everything they do in the outside world takes energy, drains energy,” Olsen said. “For extroverted kids, everything they do in the outside world gives them energy. That makes a big difference for people.”

    Olsen offered tips for how parents can help their introverted children thrive and make the most of their hidden talents.

    Don’t try to turn your introverted child into an extrovert
    “They are hard-wired, their brain and nervous system, so that they have a certain temperament and it affects a lot more areas than just socializing,” she said. That includes “sleeping, eating, how they do homework, how they learn, how they behave in school.”

    Speak like an introvert
    “Most parents will be extroverted, since there are many more extroverts than introverts,” Olsen pointed out. “It’s important for them to learn to slow down, pace, have silences, don’t finish their sentences don’t fill in words and listen a lot more. And don’t expect them to talk after school, because they are pooped.”

    Be prepared for the party
    “A party is very over-stimulating for them. Even if it’s a good friend, you can expect them to need to ease into the party, stand and observe,” said Olsen. “Any kind of social event, they’ll need to stand on the sidelines and observe so they can kind of get their energy calmed down, and it’s really good to have them rested and be sure they have protein beforehand.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500186_162-1374984.html

See, Ten Tips for Parenting Your Introverted Child http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/quiet-the-power-introverts/201106/ten-tips-parenting-your-introverted-child

It would be a very bland world if everyone was exactly the same.

The limited circle is pure.”

Franz Kafka

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.

Aldous Huxley

The best thinking has been done in solitude.

Thomas Alva Edison

Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.

Albert Einstein

Related:

Why Introverts Can Make The Best Leaders http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/30/introverts-good-leaders-leadership-managing-personality.html

Shhhh! The Quiet Joys of the Introvert               http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/26/shhhh-the-quiet-joys-of-the-introvert/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

One Response to “Introverts, especially introverted children have strengths too”

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  1. Social media may offer introverts a chance to expand their social networks « drwilda - August 19, 2012

    […] Studies indicate that schools seek to bring students “out of their shells” and that this might not be the appropriate approach for many introverted students. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/introverts-especially-introverted-children-have-strengths-to… […]

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