The Extrovert Ideal: How Teachers Favor Personalities

Tenley Kruse, Voice Editor

Walking into a classroom, you’ll probably find desks arranged in pods and children conversing. The uprise of group work promotes collaboration between students; however, collaboration and learning became synonymous in some teachers’ viewpoints. While the method is sporadically efficient, perpetual group work hinders the learning of some students- especially introverts.

“It depends on the student, because if you’re outgoing and get along with others you’re able to collaborate and make more sense of it,” said Leigh Jones, a freshman. “But some people just think better by themselves.”

Many teachers’ perceptions of the ideal student characterizes an extrovert. Their voluntary speaking and gregarious personality assumes an attentive and engaged mindset. What teachers don’t see is that introverts can be just as focused- if not more so- and their independence is often their greatest asset.

“I think collaboration is a more important skill than independence. I think when you’re working in a group, you can come up with a lot more ideas than you can by yourself,” said Chelle Hambleton, a math teacher. “When you can get diversity you can really lead to innovation.”

Collaboration is an imperative skill, but when comprehending an assignment, it isn’t always effective. Often one student dominates or distributes roles and students only absorb fragments of the concept. Quieter voices with intriguing ideas are seldom heard.

“I think that students probably learn better through speaking because if you can explain something to somebody else that really engages some higher-level thinking, and that’s how you know you really know it well,” said Hambleton.

Extroverts may benefit from discussing their ideas, but introverts don’t think as well out loud- they require time to process information internally. Ultimately, the medium their cognizance is transmitted through is irrelevant.

“For the most part, teachers favor extroverts,” said Jones, “because they talk and participate in class, and introverts just… don’t. When they do talk, they do end up having really good points. Because they’re quiet, you don’t know what’s going on in their head until they say it, and it could be something super in depth because they’ve been thinking.”

The intention is not to abolish consultations between students, but to preserve balance. The priority is learning, and students should use a method that best suits them. It would be unfair to force extroverts to work alone invariably, so introverts deserve a little quid pro quo.