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How extroverted teachers can engage introverted students

How extroverted teachers can engage introverted students

Middle school English teacher Brett Vogelsinger wasn’t always attuned to the needs of introverts. As an extrovert himself, he found it easy to raise his hand and be vocal in school. So when he became a teacher, he believed those were the hallmarks of a good student.

“I would even see a student in an honors class who wasn’t super participatory, and I’d think to myself, ‘What are they doing in an honors class?’ They don’t seem that into English class,” he said. “I don’t really like that I thought that, but I did.”

Teacher Brett Vogelsinger reads a passage from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. (Kara Newhouse/KQED)

Vogelsinger has taught at Central Bucks School District – a large, suburban district outside Philadelphia – for 20 years. In that time, the concepts of introversion and extroversion have become more widely known. As author Susan Cain explained in a viral Ted Talk in 2012, “extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.”

In an education landscape where speaking up often counts towards grades and collaboration is highly valued, today’s…

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