Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Are Law School Classes Introvert-Hostile?

 In law schools, professors encourage class participation and even raise grades for class participation. This approach rewards the extroverts, but penalizes the introverts. Critical studies are popping up in the K-12 world that call for recognizing that many students work better when they think quietly, rather than immediately raising their hands:

Educators often look for ways to bring quiet children out of their shells, but emerging research suggests schools can improve academic outcomes for introverted students by reducing the pressure to be outgoing and giving all students a little more time to reflect.

"Whoever designed the context of the modern classroom was certainly not thinking of the shy or quiet kids," said Robert J. Coplan, a psychology professor and shyness expert at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. With often-crowded, high-stimulation rooms and a focus on oral performance for class participation, he said, "in many ways, the modern classroom is the quiet kid's worst nightmare."

Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, published by Random House this year, argues that such children often stop learning when they feel emotionally threatened in a class environment in which being an extrovert is considered the norm.

As one who is by nature an introvert (this may surprise some of you), I fully agree. I think many lawyers are introverts who can perform in public when required to do so. Here’s the full article from Education Week. Worth reading.


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