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So I put tremendous pressure on myself to speak up. ” he demanded irritably, scolding me in front of the whole class.I quickly wrapped up my statement, burning with embarrassment and fighting back tears.
Yes, introverts can be those things, too, just like extroverts can be as well. It’s easy to overlook quiet students or assume that they’re bored or have nothing to say.
But there are other signs of engagement that go beyond class participation. Do they look like they are thinking hard and have something to say?
And these days, speaking in class is often a significant portion of a student’s grade.
In that way, participation grades unfairly “punish” introverts.
“It’s so nice to finally hear your voice,” my English professor says as I walk into her office.
She’s trying to be encouraging, but inside, I cringe, because her statement confirms something terrible I already know about myself — I’m too quiet. As a child, I loved spending whole days alone, preferring reading and daydreaming over my peers’ noisy games.
The exchange of ideas and dialogue was rewarding, and it made me realize that I had a lot to contribute, even if I wasn’t the biggest talker or the fastest debater.
Professor Simon was unique among my professors, because she was the only one who didn’t regard my lack of participation as a flaw or a sign that I was uninterested or had nothing to say.
Allowing the student to express their thoughts in writing can be a highly effective solution; base their participation grade on their writing rather than their in-class comments.
Introverts have a lot to contribute and may be capable of deeper insight than many of the extroverts who dominate the class discussion.