The traditional classroom has been much like The Pit on Wall Street. The atmosphere created by the traditional school system creates a culture much like this. Instead of jumping up and down and/or yelling, students still need to raise their hand to share their idea and no matter how hard a teacher works to create a safe culture, introverts have learned that if they raise their hand and say something strange, silly, or wrong, the class gawks at them. Feeling awkward never becomes fun. By the time high school or college rolls around, introverts have learned to stay quiet in their shell.
The Online Element
Online high school can be a far more accessible environment for the introvert, allowing introverted students to share without screaming, shouting or swimming with sharks. AN EXTRAVERT'S GREATEST OFFENSE IN THE ONLINE ARENA IS PUTTING EVERYTHING IN CAPS. Clearly, this is not as threatening, though it does make the eyes strain a bit (sorry).
Take a look where digital media has led us. Readers of The Huffington Post or New York Times, for instance, can comment on articles in practically real-time and see a response from another reader from another part of the world in a flash. That's not only amazing; it's empowering to the introvert. The introvert can finally be listened to without having to shout. He just has to type.
3 Ways Online High School Empowers the Introvert
1. The Power of the Pen
Students type instead of talk. This allows students who prefer not to shout or just find more comfort in writing than speaking. In fact, my mother was always like this. She used to say how she may not be much in a courtroom, but she could write a powerful letter to make a judge cry.
This goes to the saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword." Just that the new pen may be a smartphone.
2. More Democracy and Equality
Also, an avatar sees no prejudice. One of the beautiful qualities of online discussion is that students can read and respond to everyone without the social stigmas that may culturally prevent some students from feeling comfortable to talk to each other. We don't like to admit that it's true, but as a society, people tend to hold prejudices for whatever reasons that could prevent meaningful authentic discussion. Throw that out the window in the online discussion circle.
3. No Bells to Limit Response Time >
Nov 18, 2013 9:00:00 AM
Forget bells, everyone now shares their opinion. Without the bell system, students can take as much time as they want to craft a response and no longer need to play with the sharks who attack first.
Since extraverts talk first, the introvert has learned that a bell comes soon enough so there's no need to speak up. In the online arena, there's no such thing. Students can respond whenever they like, wherever they like. Twenty-four hours provides a far greater window of opportunity than forty-two minutes.
What holds most introverted students back from taking place in discussions is the fear of speaking loudly in face of criticism. Also, introverts know that it takes time to craft a well though-out response. Just shouting out the first thing that comes to mind - while typically getting the most immediate attention - holds little critical value.
What do you think? We'd love to read your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.