In 2013, educator and writer Jessica Lahey wrote a convincing piece for The Atlantic in which she argued that her introverted students needed to learn to speak up in class. In it, she defended her decision to keep class participation as a small but significant portion of her students’ grades. The quieter kids in the class simply needed to learn how to speak up in “a world where most people won’t stop talking,” she wrote.
Two years later, she changed her mind.
Last summer, Lahey wrote about her new, more nuanced take on class participation in a post for Quiet Revolution, a site launched last year by Susan Cain, the author of the 2012 mega best seller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. “There are ways to encourage participation other than asking students to speak up in class,” Lahey wrote in that follow-up piece, “and silence is an incredibly important tool for promoting learning and teaching patience.”