Quiet – A Great Book Discussion!

Our first Book Talk of the 2014-2015 school year launched last month with much success, drawing in a diverse mix of faculty, staff, and parents of the Kent Place School community. Quiet, by Susan Cain, brought forth an engaging discussion and exploration of questions ranging from, “What stood out for you in the book?” to, “How does this book apply to experiences you have had yourself – or with your daughter – or with your students?”

Kent Place School prioritizes leadership development – helping each student to find her own unique voice and ultimately lead in ways which resonate with and inspire her in school, the greater community and beyond. This first book in our series spoke to the importance of valuing all voices and leadership styles along the introvert-extrovert spectrum. In addition, the book highlights examples and advice potentially helpful in building “tool kits” for the future for negotiating differences in styles, traversing relationships and collaborative interactions, as well as inspiring more positive and productive lives.

People were forth-coming about their reading experiences and several “take-aways” emerged by the end of the evening:

  1. Quiet resonated with many readers as they recognized their own tendencies toward the introvert end of the introvert-extrovert scale. The more extroverted readers appreciated the insights into the differences between the processing and communication styles of introverts and extroverts.
  2. Everyone seemed to gain an appreciation for the range of styles which exist in the world and the variety of approaches people bring to problem-solving and critical thinking – and how such variety can positively inform and affect a project, class, home and/or community.
  3. Potential practical applications abounded! Teachers spoke about how “class participation” has always been valued – and maybe still should be. However, more importantly, participation may look different depending on the student. One teacher mentioned he/she had changed the way he/she worded midterm comments to include this new-found understanding of how a child may participate beyond raising her hand and replying out loud immediately to questions asked.
  4. Parents spoke about analyzing their parenting styles – and how they may need to parent a little differently depending on their child’s style – which may differ from their own and/or other siblings. One example would be giving a child who is on the introvert side of the scale more time to process a decision and/or giving them the space to process on their own.
  5. Quiet inspired our group to talk about “restorative niches” – “a place where you return to your true self,” (p. 219) and what might these places look like or symbolize in our daily lives at home school and/or work.
  6. The book also affirmed the importance of offering different types of instruction and activities which encompass the differing styles in a group or classroom. For instance, some students will thrive doing a collaborative project, others would rather process a lesson individually. Students need to learn how to do both, but each student may need to experience their optimal learning style during the course of the day.
  7. Finally, many people in our book talk group acknowledged that they may lean more towards one end of the introvert-extrovert scale, but in the course of their daily lives – in their jobs, communities, and families – they need to move more towards the other end of the spectrum.

Understanding how we react and process in all situations empowers us to understand how to anticipate various situations and potentially create a toolkit for ourselves, our students and/or our children for best handling the myriad of life situations which pose themselves on a daily basis. The book received rave reviews from our Kent Place School community!

Our book talks are open to all faculty, staff and parents. Please join us for:

Monday, December 8
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character
By Paul Tough

Wednesday, January 28 
The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age
By Catherine Steiner-Adair

Monday, April 20 
Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Teens Overcome the Pressure and Succeed
By Ned Johnson and Emily Warner Eskelsen

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