Smack Dab in the Classroom: Let there be Quiet! by Dia Calhoun

I have long believed that schools today emphasize team work and group learning projects far too much. But I thought this merely a reaction of my own strongly introverted nature. But Susan Cain's book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, at last confirmed that I'm not alone.

Yes!" I shouted over and over as I listened to the audio book in my car. "Yes!" This book is an eye-opener.

Over the last century, our society has come to favor extroversion over introversion. Historically, the opposite was true. Quiet people were considered wiser. Moral virtue was more important than personality. Cain shows how with the rise of business culture in the US in the early 20th century, all this began to reverse.

Schools teach group learning because they think kids need this model to survive in the business world. But in both pod-centered classrooms and "wall-free open offices," constant interruptions to thought, reflection, and creativity are a detriment to good work and thinking, not a benefit.

Studies show that most students learn better individually, not in groups. In groups the extroverts take over. Ideas presented with personality and charisma gain credibility, even if they are weaker than ideas presented quietly.  The same is true of the hallowed business brain-storming sessions.

I know this is a rant post. But please, all teacher and librarians everywhere, drop everything and read QUIET. Authors and quiet people everywhere, read QUIET too. It will help you reclaim the power of the introverted nature that our society has, to its own great loss (read Cain's section on how the banking world's preference for risk-taking extroverted personalities contributed to the Great Recession) so marginalized.


  1. I've always disliked this feature of meetings (in groups the extroverts take over.).

  2. I totally agree...There is a need for EVERYONE to shut down the noise and tune into quiet. Why do we feel we have to fill quiet time with endless activity and or sound? Thanks for the reminder.


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