Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How rare! 20 minutes of quiet.

In common are themes of classroom community and culture and how online tools seem to provide an equitable opportunity for introverts to strut, but we’re thwarted by the status quo rubrics of academic life (i.e., classroom participation). More importantly, Introverts ruled in our section by 2:1. It seems that we agree that culture governs our classroom communities, especially the larger culture that exalts extroverts. Extroversion is, I’ll bet, not always something we strive for because of what the larger culture demands or who is considered successful and what not. In any case, we confirmed, based on our classroom experiences, that extroversion dominates and sets the tone in our classes. As Rob wrote, we know the names of the loudest and most talkative. (Is this confirmation bias? What if loud and talkative is a deflection or charade?) I would like to question how cultural this is truly. Another point of agreement seems to be that online tools to provide students the opportunity to shine (again, confirmation… ? Have we been primed?) Irwin says it’s liberating for the students who need the quiet space to participate and engage the class. I agree; there’s potential here. But again, shyness can ruin this because there is still room for social judgment. Where (how?) do we provide balance? Yeah. So I find myself torn, but requiring balance. I think students should practice having their own thoughts, but I also think they should practice discussing and collaborating with others. Web 2.0 might allow folks to share ideas and for one or two to blossom, but this means that other ideas have to fall to the way side. This might not happen, but how often do people take the best ideas from each other and part them together? The larger cultural influence is competition; this is what’s in conflict with collaboration as well as quiet. We’re trying to come up with the best idea all the time. Putting the skeptic to bed, I think everything has potential given the right about of guidance and a tangible and foresee set of outcomes that students can work towards. If a student cannot work towards these goals in class due to shyness or introversion, then Web 2.0 will open an opportunity to contribute or at least ask a question allows them to stay abreast of what’s going on.

3 comments:

  1. Darryl, I really like how you break down things here... and the ultimate questions that you ask. However, I don't have, and I don't think there any, easy answers. Finding a balance may be our best bet at this point, before we find the proper equilibrium point for each individual class.

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  2. There are easy answers, but I never look for them. I find that it is best to let the students tell us where they are most comfortable and be mindful of those students whose quiet stands out. When I find a student who doesn't speak very much in class speaking, I try to repeat it for everyone to hear and that student's idea(s) as much attention as I can.

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  3. I agree with Daryl's post on how to balance shyness and quietness. It is difficult also to distinguish but I find usually that a quiet student will always do a online post but a shy one will take longer to start. In that direction of thought, I like this idea of having sometimes options for students to answer questions or ask questions in anonymous way, this way a shy student can jump in with less struggle. Thanks for the comprehensive summary of opinions.

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