Before you think that I'm going to talk today about the debris people leave in the oceans...
I was reading a blog today and it mentioned this article that appeared in The Atlantic a few days ago and then this response from Susan Cain that appeared today.
The first is an interesting article written by a teacher about the difficulties of teaching introverted and shy students. Most teachers factor participation into their grading and so it becomes something of a quandary when trying to figure out how to help introverted students participate more. She said (and Susan Cain agreed) that introverted students need to participate in class just like extroverted ones do. But the challenge is how to effect that. Susan Cain in her article provided a few good suggestions, like waiting a little longer after asking a question to give time for introverted students to ruminate or trying a method called "think, pair, share"--where you ask students to answer some question on their own first, then to pair up and share with one other person and then to share as a larger group or a whole class. This is supposed to make sharing a little less daunting.
Susan Cain also mentioned an idea that one education professor at Montclair State University came up with, and that was to divide participation grades from grades based on subject knowledge. So you'd get a grade for knowing math or history or reading and you'd get a grade based on character qualities like listening skills, persistence, behavior, participation, etc. I think that sounds like an interesting idea. In some ways it kind of reminds me of Susan Cain's "culture of character," which I think is sadly lacking in our society today. I wonder too if something like this could be used to help close the gender gap in academia.
These two articles are interesting ones, definitely worth taking a few minutes to glance over.