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Topic: Introverts in higher education
ER Nurse
Posts: 1
Introverts in higher education
on: Jan 26, 2012, 4:14pm


I am a practicing ER nurse with a masters in nursing education. Group-work projects received heavy emphasis in my masters program and many of my classmates hated it! I am an introvert who is extroverted in academic settings (school is fun!), but I find academic group-work tedious and non-productive. Yet, I am expected to teach future educators how to use the technique. In fact, many of the currently "hot" teaching techniques are designed for extroverts. Teachers in higher education are constantly urged to make classes "more engaging," which translates as more fun for extroverts and leaves introverts frustrated and marginalized.

When teaching pre-licensure students, I try to balance the mandatory group-work with course assignments that require reflection and creativity by assigning personal journal work and portfolios. It is remarkable how introverts excel at these assignments and create some stunning work while extroverts barely get by.

Does anyone else have success stories of balancing introvert/extrovert course assignments in classes that are clinically based?

Posts: 4
Re: Introverts in higher education
on: Feb 4, 2012, 8:06am

Well, from an academic ER doc's perspective, I hate group sessions too. I am also an introvert who has avoided giving lectures and participating in small groups, because I would suck at it-not because I don't know the material, but because I'm horrible in group-interaction situations.

The whole medical education system favors orators and extroverts. There is no niche for intelligent introverts to make their mark, other than writing, I suppose.

I would advise teaching one-on-one whenever possible and maximizing bedside instruction. Perhaps having students read their journal entries to the group would eliminate the tension to some degree, and help students to better articulate their thoughts?

Introverted Doc

Posts: 13
Re: Introverts in higher education
on: Feb 22, 2012, 11:54am

ER Nurse,

I am a physician (GI) and like you, I am an extrovert in academic settings. I enjoy teaching, especially the quiet time preparing.

I also returned to school and I am enrolled in a masters program for Healthcare Information Management. I also dislike group projects and much rather work on my own. As a pseudo-extrovert in college, the group dynamics are ok but I would just rather be left alone and do my own work.

To ER Doc- see my posting under your forum entry.

Posts: 1
Re: Introverts in higher education
on: Mar 11, 2012, 11:38pm

I teach computer science and I am an introvert myself - I find this emphasis on "engaging" also is a disadvantage to introverted educators … when I was a student it was our job to learn the material even when it was not presented as "entertainment".

Associate professor of Computer Science at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. I am a self-identified introvert at what is primarily as teaching (versus research) institution.

Posts: 6
Re: Introverts in higher education
on: May 7, 2012, 8:04am

I also am an introvert and hated group assignments. Now we're being encouraged to use "Learner Centered Instruction" in all of our classes. I generally have allowed students the option to complete group assignments individually if they wish and given them multiple options to earn class points. But I fear that freedom is soon going to be disappearing.

Instructor at Baker College of Muskegon, MI.

Red Dog
Posts: 32
Re: Introverts in higher education
on: May 7, 2012, 1:57pm

Quote from assiterk on Mar 11, 2012, 11:38pm

when I was a student it was our job to learn the material even when it was not presented as "entertainment".

That must have been quite a while ago. Now that traditional mindset is considered old fashioned. The notion of learning needing to be entertainment based is a notion of progressive education.

Does anyone know where the concept originated?

Once it became a fad or a trend, it soon spread from the academic world to the world of business.

It is a fool who says "this is old, therefore it is bad."

It is an even greater fool who says "this is new, therefore it must be better."

Posts: 6
Re: Introverts in higher education
on: May 9, 2012, 7:57am

I think the education having to be entertaining approach began about the same time educators decided we needed to protect students fragile self-esteem so we couldn't give failing grades or hold students back. That trend never became as pronounced in higher education as it was in K-12, but that's what our students expect when they arrive at college. Many have come to me and can't understand how they could possible be failing when they attended every class. The fact that they didn't complete any assignments is to them irrelevant.

Instructor at Baker College of Muskegon, MI.

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