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Dean Kaenzig on Teaching Introverts

Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Associate Dean of William Smith College Lisa Kaenzig recently appeared on Rochester's WXXI News radio show, "Connections with Evan Dawson," to discuss the quiet power of introverts in the classroom.

A longtime expert on the subject of introverted learning, Kaenzig said introverted students are really learners of great depth. "Introverts tend to think a lot," Kaenzig explained, noting that although introverted students may not be the first with their hand in the air, they can still be very much involved in the classroom. "It's just the tip of the iceberg."

Kaenzig believes that the way to successful classroom participation for introverted learners begins with a partnership between students and teachers. To do this, she encourages teachers to start using technology such as blogs or online assignments to both expand the traditional understanding of proper classroom involvement and provide introverted students more time to collect and share their thoughts.

Since beginning her research on introverted learners two decades ago, Kaenzig has published and presented on the subject numerous times. She is co-author of the article, "Introversion: The often forgotten factor affecting the gifted," which is frequently cited as one of the earliest published articles on this now popular topic of introverted learners.

A frequent invited speaker on the subject, she recently presented her work at the Association of Teachers of Exceptional Children in Halifax, Nova Scotia, giving two presentations: "Strategies for Teaching Introverts: Creating Environments Where Introverts (and All Students) Thrive" and "Teaching the Gifted Introverted Learner."

Kaenzig believes that a proactive learning environment will help to close a commonly observed "disconnect" between introverted students and extroverted teachers. Always the gracious student advocate, Kaenzig believes that above all it is important for students to "embrace who they are" both in and outside of the classroom. She said inwardly focused introverted students may need time to re-charge their batteries and process environmental information internally before comfortably answering a classroom question.

Kaenzig has served as a dean at HWS since 2003 and currently serves on the Steering Committee for the HWS Middle States Accreditation and on the President's Commission for Inclusive Excellence. She also founded and coordinates the HWS First Generation Initiative and has worked with the Centennial Center for Leadership on several initiatives.

She earned a B.A. in political science from Rutgers, her M.A. in human resource development from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in educational policy, planning and leadership from the College of William and Mary. Kaenzig is vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Public Leadership Education Network, a national organization that prepares college women for leadership roles in public policy.

 


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