Friday, 2 March 2012

Introversion is at the Heart of Creative and Innovative Thought

At the Heart of Truly Creative and Innovative Thought is Introversion. 

 I recently watched Susan Cain on Ted Talks speak on The Power Of Introversion.

This topic caught my eye immediately because I am an introvert. 

I am able to put myself out there and am a teacher but not one who enjoys being the center of attention. 

I plan my lessons and the units of learning in ways that demand more student exploration and sharing with their peers what they are learning and how they are applying that knowledge. I guess in a way I am allowing for both introversion and extroversion to flourish in my classroom. 

 The push in school is for collaborative learning and exploration and individual evaluation. 

However, I always allow for and welcome individual to work on their own if that is what they are most comfortable with because my number one mission is to make everyone feel valuable and accepted for who they are. If true learning which includes challenging prejudices and questioning can occur, there needs to be a safe environment created. 

 I work very hard to encourage everyone to share their own ideas in whatever way they are comfortable because some of the most brilliant work I have seen came from students who spent most of their time in their own heads. People in the 21st Century spend way too much time plugged in. 

As a teacher, I want to encourage and model the power of plugging into our own imaginations and sharing our ideas because every great innovation came from what was perceived as a wild and crazy idea at the start. Through brainstorming and experimentation, those zany ideas have revolutionized our world time and time again. 

Collaborative learning is most productive after students have had time to work with the new idea or concept for a while on their own. Our brains have a process they need to go through when new information is introduced that cannot be followed if there is too much outside stimulation. 

 My greatest fear with the extreme focus on collaboration in schools and the workplace is that those quietly brilliant ideas that the greatest thinkers of human history had put forth will not longer be heard because the noise from the extroverts will silence or merely overpower them. 

I shudder to think of what our world would be like if Socrates, Plato, Galileo, Einstein, Buddha, Edison, Bell, Zuckerberg, Gandhi, Picasso, Van Gogh, and so many others would have been forced to collaborate and were never allowed to be inside their own heads. 

Had introversion been as shunned as it is at present, 
I likely would not be writing on this blog 
because a solitary activity like this would not be acceptable
and likely would not be invented. 

So in defense of introverts everywhere, myself included . . .

I ask everyone to listen to Susan Cain, 
hear what she is saying, 
and implement her calls to action for a positive change to our world. 

If we don't and introverted tendencies continue to be seen as deviant, we will no longer be able to approach the problems our world faces and will face in years to come with the creativity they demand.


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