Introverts and Extroverts in Composition Learning Environments

14 Oct


Like Jeff, I’d also like to think like Penrod, who wonders whether students feel welcome in learning environments and whether or not that affects their performance or involvement as composers in the learning environment. But instead of studying whether or not students feel welcome, I would like to study which pedagogical methods appeal to extroverts and which ones appeal to introverts (that is, I want to know which methods get them to be interested in and engage with the materials as well as their classmates).


Extroverted students will be more engaged by gregarious activities like group work, collaboration, and discussion, etc. Introverted students will be more engaged by more independent activities, like free-writing, individual brainstorming, and conferencing.


We would need notably diverse activities, two groups of students (one introverted, one extroverted; possibly categorized through Myers-Briggs or something equivalent), and a survey system that we could use to collect data and debrief.

Data Collection

Each student would participate in each activity, give feedback as to whether they liked it, felt engaged/inspired by it, etc., using a measurable scale, and then I would look for correlations in the data that would tell me which student type preferred which activity.


This study (which would assume that learning environments favor extroverted students) would be geared toward a hybrid pedagogy that would consist of mixed methods that could be used (in a “happy medium” sort of way) to engage both personality types evenly, and exclude none (also, this study proposal is inspired by the (scientifically-sound) ideas of Susan Cain:


Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Introverts and Extroverts in Composition Learning Environments

  1. DB

    October 14, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    First of all, Kendall, I loved that book. Susan Cain is great–she really made sense to this introvert.

    I guess my question is, will the preference for certain pedagogies get at the performance piece? Maybe that’s not what you’re after here–I’m not entirely sure. This would work, I think, as a descriptive study, but it seems like it would need another part for gauging whether certain pedagogies work with certain personality types.

    As far as suggestions go, because of my experience teaching interpersonal comm, I would stay away from Myers-Briggs. Though I personally like the system (INFP here), I’ve heard that it has been largely replaced by other inventories, like the DISC.

  2. jacobwcraig

    October 20, 2013 at 1:17 am

    I think that this is an interesting question in light of who we often end up teaching: students not necessarily interested in learning about writing. Being welcoming to students might help students feel affable to the writing classroom environment.

    If we find assignments that have the possibility of being valuable for most students, how might we incorporate that data in different kind of classrooms and programs with specific kinds of department cultures. How do you see it playing out in assignments mostly about writing in print as opposed to mostly digitally, mostly about creative nonfiction as opposed to audience-based composing.

    I’m a little hesitant about buying into theories about personality types. It feels a little like reducing people to a label. But I see the value of personality systems, because they resist binaries. I guess my suggestion might be to not try to do prediction work, e.g. because you are introverted, you’ll like this assignment.


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