Magazine article District Administration

Does Common Core Hurt Introverted Students?

Magazine article District Administration

Does Common Core Hurt Introverted Students?

Article excerpt

The standards-driven push for project-based learning and collaboration may inadvertently penalize introverted students who prefer to work quietly on their own, some educators say.

"As the 21st century school moves into an arena where students learn to communicate and work together in addition to working alone, there has to be an accompanying awareness on the part of educators to support students of all personality types," says Jill Berkowicz, coauthor of The STEM Shift and a former curriculum director. "Everyone has to be valued, because otherwise their contribution is missed."

Susan Cain's bestselling 2012 book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can t Stop Talking, criticizes schools and other institutions for primarily accommodating extroverts, who are more likely to participate in class and to enjoy the stimulation of group work. Introverts "feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they're in quieter, more low-key environments," Cain said in her TED Talk on the subject.

An estimated one-third to one-half of the U.S. population identifies as introverted, the book says.

Cain's book and the adoption of new learning standards has brought renewed attention to introverted learners, says Ann Myers, a co-author of The STEM Shift and a former New York district superintendent. Though class participation and group work have long figured into grading, the 20th century classroom more easily allowed introverted students to be invisible during lessons but achieve on tests, Myers says. This is changing with the Common Core's focus on communication and collaboration skills.

Teachers can use standards to build a curriculum specific to their own group of students, Berkowicz says. And lessons should not connect academic success with extroverte traits (such as quickly answering questions aloud) or introvert traits (such as speaking quietly). …

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