Browsing: Education

The American obsession with class participation, from a non-American perspective

The American obsession with class participation, from a non-American perspective:


The Atlantic: ‘Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up at School’ | My Response

Last week, @TheAtlantic magazine ran a piece called “Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up at School,” by Jessica Lahey.  They have graciously agreed to run my response, which includes five suggestions for how shy kids can be encouraged to speak up for themselves in the classroom. ➤ Help Shy Kids – Don’t Punish Them […]


When Is Collaboration Constructive and Happy-Making — Even for Those Who Mostly Prefer to Fly Solo?

Wow. The last post on group work drew a huge number of thoughtful and passionate comments, most of them critical of the process. But within the criticism, some of you mentioned situations where you do enjoy collaborating, and feel it’s constructive. I thought it would be useful to pinpoint the scenarios when group work works […]


What Do You Think of Group Work?

The photo above — which shows students working on one of the “group projects” that have become so ubiquitous  in American education — makes me feel very lucky that I am not in school today. Having to work in so large and close a huddle would make life not worth learning. And it takes a […]


“We’ve Always Known That One-on-One is the Best Way to Learn”

“…but we’ve never been able to figure out how to do it.” Until now. So says Salman Khan, the lovable math nerd behind the much celebrated Khan Academy, in which students teach themselves math and other subjects via online videos, then work with their teachers individually on the bits they’re struggling with.  Khan Academy has […]


Does Feminism Make Room for Shy or Introverted Girls?

Here’s an excerpt from a wonderful piece in Feministing by intellectual powerhouse Courtney Martin, questioning whether contemporary feminism makes room for shy or introverted girls. Courtney articulates something I’ve worried about for years – in our efforts to instill confidence in young women, are we promoting an ideal of sassy outspokenness that’s just as confining […]


Why Reading Makes You Self-Confident

One of the luckiest things that ever happened to me was being born into a family that elevated reading to a religious activity. The weekly trip to the library was a form of Sabbath observance in our house. Then there was the yearly pilgrimage to London, which we visited with an empty suitcase reserved for […]


How Do Teachers Feel About Their Quiet Students?

Did you catch the recent news story about Natalie Munro, the high school English teacher from Pennsylvania who blogged her true feelings about her students? Apparently failing to comprehend the public nature of the Internet, she mused about the nasty things she wished she could write on her students’ report cards. It was an abuse of […]


Watch this Teacher Engage Shy Students Via Twitter

I’m quickly becoming a fan of social media in the classroom, especially for shy or introverted kids. Here’s a CNN video of a high school teacher using Twitter to reach his students, especially the shy ones. There is of course a danger that shy kids will become too reliant on these technologies to do the […]


How Creative Are You, Compared to When You Were a Child?

How creative are you now, compared to when you were a child? A) More creative B) About as creative C) Less creative For most people, the answer is (sadly) C. Children are famously more creative than grown-ups, more engaged in the world of imagination and in making connections where none existed before. But what if […]


Students Speak Up In Class, Silently, Using the Tools of Social Media

That’s the headline of a fascinating article in the New York Times. The article reports that “social media, once kept outside the school door, can entice students who rarely raise a hand to express themselves via a medium they find as natural as breathing. ‘When we have class discussions, I don’t really feel the need […]


Question of the Week: Should Teachers Base Grades on Classroom Participation?

Lately, I’ve been flooded with e-mails from readers asking me questions they’d like to see answered on this blog. So I’m hereby introducing a new feature, the Question of the Week, in which I’ll post the questions I see most frequently, and ask you to answer and discuss them via your comments. There’s such a […]


Is Social Media a Game-Changer for Introverted Kids?

My post, “What Teachers Really Think of Quiet Kids,” and its follow-up, “A Different Kind of Cool Kid,” generated passionate reactions here and on Twitter. Many of you responded with heartbreaking stories of introverted children suffering at school. But there were inspiring stories too, of thriving kids who found themselves and their way. I also […]

Quiet: The Book

- Wall Street Journal

Best Nonfiction Book of 2012

QUIET has been voted the best nonfiction book of 2012


1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers.

2. Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our “heed-takers” more than ever.

3. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

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