Developments in technology made education more accessible for students with different backgrounds, health conditions and learning abilities.
The flip side of the coin is that more flagrant problems overshadow issues that seem to be far less important, but tend to have a long-term impact on students’ lives.
It is quite obvious that our current learning environment is primarily oriented towards extroverts. Students are encouraged to speak up, demonstrate leadership qualities, and get involved in teamwork as much as possible.
While school is a sandbox for developing social skills necessary for everyone, it should also provide opportunities that meet the interests and needs of kids with different types of mindsets, as only this way all of them can unleash their potential.
Although this introversion-related topic became popular and is widely discussed, educators that make school a more comfortable place for introverts are still few in number. What seems to be a good solution here is a student-centered learning approach. It gives students more options for developing their strengths, and covers the discussed issue by default.
There are several tools for applying such approach, and one of them is blogging. Using blogs in school education fits in with the concept of empowering kids and is a brilliant find particularly for introverted kids. Besides helping to facilitate traditional classroom teaching, make students more responsible, improve their writing skills, this activity has a potential to change the school experience of introverted kids.
1. A medium for self-expression
At school, all activities are very dependent on time, which does not play into the hands of kids who need more of it to express themselves. For introverts, it is necessary to process information for longer to be able to structure it and share with the others. So usually, they do not have a possibility to raise their hand before a teacher asks a new question, break into a conversation when working in groups, or find the right moment for that being more sensitive than their more extroverted classmates are.
It turns out that a classroom is not a perfect place for such kids to show that they also have something to offer. Blogging enables them to dedicate as much time for formulating their thoughts as needed. Moreover, it gives them a possibility to show their writing to their peers, because usually only teachers know how smart they are. Recognition from teachers and parents is just not enough for building their self-confidence. Besides, receiving feedback from classmates motivates students to keep on opening up to others.
2. Blogging makes introverts more willing to socialize
Introverts usually formulate their thoughts better on paper. It is absolutely normal, but the problem is that the traditional classroom does not show there are several formats of information exchange besides verbal communication. Writing is perceived mainly as a tool for demonstrating how students comprehend lessons in the form of tests or essays. However, it is also just another way of talking to each other. And introverted students can be encouraged to take the initiative on a school blogging platform. They do not feel themselves unwelcomed where they have a task to write. This way a blog can be a training zone, where kids can get used to being an active member of a community and become more comfortable with interacting with peers in person.
Thus, Linda Harasin mentions that “weblogs … have been more effective for at least some of our students because it has increased participation: our quieter students who typically don’t participate in face-to-face discussions are participating in weblog discussions.”
What is more important is that blogging make it possible to explore kids’ personalities and discuss what usually remains untold. For instance, kids can take tests to get a feel for where they land on the introvert-extrovert spectrum and write a detailed psychology essay to explain what it likes to be in their shoes. This way kids get an opportunity to understand each other better, foster their self-awareness and avoid misunderstanding that often happen in school and may cause bullying.
3. It motivates them to be more creative
Introverts often have a creative bone they do not show. When there is no audience to demonstrate their talents to, such kids may be demotivated to pursue them. Thanks to blogging kids get their readers “by default”, without active self-promotion. This enables them to direct all their energy into the process of creation.
Of course, introverts’ talents are not limited to writing and blogging is not only about it. And educational blogging services offer a number of possibilities for self-expression like adding pictures, audio files, videos, maps, and photo galleries.
Feedback from peers can be the catalyst for further development. Worth mentioning though that all students that use blogs have to be aware of internet ethics.
4. Feeling as a part of a community
Contrary to popular belief, introverts often feel the need to be a part of a community and translate their thoughts into the external world. However, most social situations are overstimulating for them. Besides, such students need time to get acclimated to new settings and people, and by the time they manage it, social connections seem to be already built among the rest.
Blogging enables introverts to reintroduce themselves to their peers and find the common ground with them. This gives introverted kids the feeling of being accepted into a group and makes them more confident. Although it does not mean they will start speaking up in large discussions, but they may develop a special introvert charisma.
5. It facilitates their learning acquisition
Due to innate reflectiveness, introverts tend to delve deeper into information they get. While in class they may not have enough time for a specific topic before jumping to another one, blogging provides students with this “time pocket” for reflecting on a course material.
Russell Beale also mentions in Blogs, reflective practice and student-centered learning that the use of blogs proved to be “… an effective tool for supporting students in reflective practice, for connecting their classroom experiences to the outside world, and for allowing them to receive greater feedback from their colleagues on their practical design exercise than they might otherwise have done.” This is particularly true for introverts who usually notice some aspects that others do not, and need a platform to let their peers and teachers know about it.
If encouraged to hone attention to details, introverted students will be even more motivated to study.
Extrovert-centered setting is one of many issues embedded in the school system that cannot be eliminated momentarily. However, blogging seems to be a very effective and affordable way to engage introverts into school life and give them more opportunities for showing their personality to the outer world. In other words, it gives the quiet a louder voice.
Educational blogs can help create a virtual classroom with more or less equalized possibilities. In a long-term perspective, this tool may ensure for introverted students a completely different, less traumatic school experience. Without changing their mindset, and acquiring traits that run counter to their inner wiring, introverted students get a possibility to show their strengths, develop their talents, socialize and take part in group discussions using other formats for communicating their ideas.