Posted by David Maddalena | Posted in Anghelika and David Maddalena | Posted on 10-06-2014
Tags: energy, environment, environmental respect, extrovert, introvert, labels
Some children tend to run with a crowd, to be social, and love group projects. Others prefer to play quietly, building a private world, appearing to form deep relationships of the imagination. The first kind of kid gets recharged by turning outward, towards people and things; the second kind refuels by turning inward, to the world of ideas and concepts. Of course, we’re describing introverts and extroverts. It can be very helpful to pay attention to how children interact when in social settings: we want to make sure that kids can engage in different ways, to be stretched (by unfamiliar situations) and to be refreshed (by familiar comforting environments).
According to Susan Cain, as told to a TED audience in her presentation, “The Power of Introverts”, the extrovert enjoys a lot of favor these days, and there are times we put undue pressure on kids who are more introverted, by overemphasizing high energy interaction, presentation skills, collaboration. These are all important, and might have been under-emphasized in a time when we used to point all the desks forward. But desks-pointed-forward is not all bad: this gives introverts time to formulate internal opinions before sharing.
Not everybody likes to be ‘typed’, to be put into categories, and not every parent likes to have their children categorized. We can sympathize. Dave is precisely the ‘type’ of person who doesn’t like to be typed. And, school systems are often forced to group kids into categories, solving some problems (kids learning at different rates) while creating others (unproductive–and potentially damaging–labels, like ‘normal’, ‘slow’, or ‘special’).
But categories and types can help us define things for the sake of good educational design. For example, in the classroom, a quick glance around should reveal environments that cater to both introverts and extroverts. And knowing how your kid rolls can make parenting easier too. Kids know what they need to recharge: they naturally gravitate to the kind of activity that refreshes them. If we make sure they can get what they need when they need it, then they will be able to face challenges with less stress and be more likely to succeed when tested.