A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

 


TRANSCRIPT

Beth Manning, a middle school science teacher at Latin, is a lifelong introvert. Growing up, she remembers feeling like she wasn't being the right kind of student in the classroom. After reading Susan Cain's book, “Quiet” several years ago, she saw all of the benefits that introverts can bring to a classroom and to a workplace. 

What are the common myths about introverts?

There have been studies done on CEOs and how introverted CEOs actually make more money for the company.
Beth Manning
One of the biggest myths about introverts is that they are broken extroverts and that they need to fix themselves so that they're more extroverted to fit in. You hear all the time that quiet people need to come out of their shell and that they need to live life more and have more fun. They get this message so much–that they're doing everything wrong and they are broken and they need to be fixed. We know now, that's not really the case. Introverts have so many gifts to bring and it’s about figuring out how your natural temperament can be respected.

Another myth is that introverts don't like to talk. But the truth is they don't really like to make small talk. They like to talk about important things. And so, and especially if you engage an introvert on a topic that they're really passionate about and that they really love, they won't let you get a word.

Another common myth about introverts is that they aren't going to be good leaders. The truth is you don’t have to be a big boisterous loud person in order to be a leader. There have been studies done on CEOs and how introverted CEOs actually make more money for the company.

What is the difference between being an introvert and being shy?

The big difference is that shyness involves social anxiety and a fear of negative judgment. Introverts might simply not have something to contribute at the time and be feeling inside perfectly fine about that. Somebody who's shy might not be contributing to a conversation because they're really worried about what other people are gonna think about them. 

How does the brain process experiences and information differently for introverts versus extroverts?

The amount of stimulation introverts and extroverts can handle is really different.
Beth Manning
It turns out that there are actually brain differences. Introverts are more sensitive to the dopamine neurotransmitter, so they require less dopamine to be happy. Sitting in a corner and reading, or just being quiet with their thoughts is going to give them enough dopamine to be content. While too much dopamine can be really overstimulating for an introvert. That's why if they've spent time in the gym at recess or spend time in some busy, loud classroom, they're going to be really overstimulated. They are then going to need some time to relax and recover from that in a quiet space. Extroverts, however, oftentimes need to do something that will increase adrenaline because they crave stimulation. The amount of stimulation introverts and extroverts can handle is really different.

The way the brain processes information is also different. An extrovert might get a stimulus, then it goes straight to brain processing, and that processing happens while they're talking. An introvert, however, gets a stimulus and it has to go through long-term memory first, then go through the planning portion of the brain. And only after those things happen, can they really start to process what has happened. That’s why introverts need time. Once they get that time, they come up with really amazing analysis. It’s really helpful for teachers to think about introversion versus extroversion as another way to differentiate in the classroom. 

What is the best way to work with introverts in a classroom setting?

Give introverts time. This well-researched classroom practice shows that if a teacher asks a question, the teacher might pick on the first hand that goes up. If the teacher waits three seconds–some people will even say 10 seconds–they are going to get way more hands going up, especially from those quiet kids, who've had that extra few seconds to think.

Teachers can also utilize technology with these digital corkboards where you can ask questions to the class. And then instead of just waiting for kids to raise hands and share that way, you can have them answer it on their iPads and then it could show up on the screen. This gives kids time to answer the question and write it all out. You then can see this kid who has never said anything in class before has this amazing question that pops up on the board for everyone to see. There's so much technology that can really help these introverts shine and help their ideas and their questions be seen. 

Parents can have conversations with the students about how these things that maybe some people perceive as weaknesses can be flipped around to strengths.
Beth Manning

How can parents support their introverted student?

Parents can have conversations with the students about how these things that maybe some people perceive as weaknesses can be flipped around to strengths. Think about embracing your natural tendencies and celebrate the fact that when you're given time to think, you really think deeply and you see details that other people don't see. You can help them realize that they're not flawed or defective. It's just how they are. There are techniques that kids can do to survive being in an extroverted world. Susan Cain mentions one in her book, “Quiet.” Introverts can think beforehand. Before you go to class, know what the class is going to be about and prepare what you're going to say. If introverts can go in right away knowing what they're going to say and plan in advance, they can get their thoughts out there at the beginning.

How do you foster collaboration between extroverted and integrated students?

Create a structure for managed roles to help foster collaboration between the students. Assign any kind of roles–a recorder, a timekeeper, a materials manager, and a group speaker–even an introvert can be a group speaker. If they're assigned that role, they'll take it really seriously and they'll be able to prepare for it and be a great group speaker. But, if they don't get assigned that role, then they might not feel comfortable taking that on because one thing introverts don't really like to do is they don't like to interrupt or they don't know how to interrupt.

How can people learn more and get more resources?

Susan Cain is really the one who started this conversation several years ago. She's got a couple of books. Her first one is “Quiet” and then she's got one that's geared towards students. She also has an amazing website, which is a whole world for introverts and promotes the greatness of introverts. Another helpful book is “Quiet Kids Count” by Chrissy Romano Arrabito, which is packed full of practical tips for teachers.

  • Podcast
The Latin Learner Podcast: Teaching Introverted Learners
 


TRANSCRIPT

Beth Manning, a middle school science teacher at Latin, is a lifelong introvert. Growing up, she remembers feeling like she wasn't being the right kind of student in the classroom. After reading Susan Cain's book, “Quiet” several years ago, she saw all of the benefits that introverts can bring to a classroom and to a workplace. 

What are the common myths about introverts?

There have been studies done on CEOs and how introverted CEOs actually make more money for the company.
Beth Manning
One of the biggest myths about introverts is that they are broken extroverts and that they need to fix themselves so that they're more extroverted to fit in. You hear all the time that quiet people need to come out of their shell and that they need to live life more and have more fun. They get this message so much–that they're doing everything wrong and they are broken and they need to be fixed. We know now, that's not really the case. Introverts have so many gifts to bring and it’s about figuring out how your natural temperament can be respected.

Another myth is that introverts don't like to talk. But the truth is they don't really like to make small talk. They like to talk about important things. And so, and especially if you engage an introvert on a topic that they're really passionate about and that they really love, they won't let you get a word.

Another common myth about introverts is that they aren't going to be good leaders. The truth is you don’t have to be a big boisterous loud person in order to be a leader. There have been studies done on CEOs and how introverted CEOs actually make more money for the company.

What is the difference between being an introvert and being shy?

The big difference is that shyness involves social anxiety and a fear of negative judgment. Introverts might simply not have something to contribute at the time and be feeling inside perfectly fine about that. Somebody who's shy might not be contributing to a conversation because they're really worried about what other people are gonna think about them. 

How does the brain process experiences and information differently for introverts versus extroverts?

The amount of stimulation introverts and extroverts can handle is really different.
Beth Manning
It turns out that there are actually brain differences. Introverts are more sensitive to the dopamine neurotransmitter, so they require less dopamine to be happy. Sitting in a corner and reading, or just being quiet with their thoughts is going to give them enough dopamine to be content. While too much dopamine can be really overstimulating for an introvert. That's why if they've spent time in the gym at recess or spend time in some busy, loud classroom, they're going to be really overstimulated. They are then going to need some time to relax and recover from that in a quiet space. Extroverts, however, oftentimes need to do something that will increase adrenaline because they crave stimulation. The amount of stimulation introverts and extroverts can handle is really different.

The way the brain processes information is also different. An extrovert might get a stimulus, then it goes straight to brain processing, and that processing happens while they're talking. An introvert, however, gets a stimulus and it has to go through long-term memory first, then go through the planning portion of the brain. And only after those things happen, can they really start to process what has happened. That’s why introverts need time. Once they get that time, they come up with really amazing analysis. It’s really helpful for teachers to think about introversion versus extroversion as another way to differentiate in the classroom. 

What is the best way to work with introverts in a classroom setting?

Give introverts time. This well-researched classroom practice shows that if a teacher asks a question, the teacher might pick on the first hand that goes up. If the teacher waits three seconds–some people will even say 10 seconds–they are going to get way more hands going up, especially from those quiet kids, who've had that extra few seconds to think.

Teachers can also utilize technology with these digital corkboards where you can ask questions to the class. And then instead of just waiting for kids to raise hands and share that way, you can have them answer it on their iPads and then it could show up on the screen. This gives kids time to answer the question and write it all out. You then can see this kid who has never said anything in class before has this amazing question that pops up on the board for everyone to see. There's so much technology that can really help these introverts shine and help their ideas and their questions be seen. 

Parents can have conversations with the students about how these things that maybe some people perceive as weaknesses can be flipped around to strengths.
Beth Manning

How can parents support their introverted student?

Parents can have conversations with the students about how these things that maybe some people perceive as weaknesses can be flipped around to strengths. Think about embracing your natural tendencies and celebrate the fact that when you're given time to think, you really think deeply and you see details that other people don't see. You can help them realize that they're not flawed or defective. It's just how they are. There are techniques that kids can do to survive being in an extroverted world. Susan Cain mentions one in her book, “Quiet.” Introverts can think beforehand. Before you go to class, know what the class is going to be about and prepare what you're going to say. If introverts can go in right away knowing what they're going to say and plan in advance, they can get their thoughts out there at the beginning.

How do you foster collaboration between extroverted and integrated students?

Create a structure for managed roles to help foster collaboration between the students. Assign any kind of roles–a recorder, a timekeeper, a materials manager, and a group speaker–even an introvert can be a group speaker. If they're assigned that role, they'll take it really seriously and they'll be able to prepare for it and be a great group speaker. But, if they don't get assigned that role, then they might not feel comfortable taking that on because one thing introverts don't really like to do is they don't like to interrupt or they don't know how to interrupt.

How can people learn more and get more resources?

Susan Cain is really the one who started this conversation several years ago. She's got a couple of books. Her first one is “Quiet” and then she's got one that's geared towards students. She also has an amazing website, which is a whole world for introverts and promotes the greatness of introverts. Another helpful book is “Quiet Kids Count” by Chrissy Romano Arrabito, which is packed full of practical tips for teachers.

Explore Our News & Stories

Books collected for book drive

Donations to the "Upside Down Book Fair" were near an all-time high, with over 1,500 books collected. These books are being given to students through Latin's partnerships with Asian Youth Services, McCutcheon School, Cradles to Crayons and Open Books. This was an amazing outpouring from the Latin community to help get books to those who might not receive them otherwise.

Check out the photos!

 
Student Life

 

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  • lower school
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scrabble pieces spelling anxiety | Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels


Dr. Gabrielle Roberts is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children, adolescents and young adults at Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn. Previously, she worked in residential treatment and in the child welfare system with youth who had experienced extreme trauma. She is also the parent of a lower school student at Latin. 

TRANSCRIPT

How can parents encourage children to talk to them about their emotions surrounding school and COVID-19?

First and foremost, check in with your children. If you know your child is already anxious, then I would say check in more frequently. If not, I would say check in from time to time. Ask open ended questions. How are you feeling about the coronavirus? How are you feeling about going to back to school? Listen. That’s most important. Validate their emotions. Let them know that you hear what they’re saying and that you understand it’s important to them. Be careful not to minimize their feelings. As adults, we have the beautiful wisdom of knowing that something your child feels is the end of the world or will forever alter their life is not really the case, but you can honor and validate that’s how they feel right now. Remind them that they can talk to you anytime about anything and that you’re here for them.

How important is it for parents to model the calm behavior asked of their students?

Very… as we're all going through this together. If you want a silver lining for this situation, which you may not, the situation is actually an excellent opportunity to teach your child coping skills. And these are skills that they're going to need for life beyond coronavirus. You can talk to your children about how you cope with stress and model that behavior, but we aren't perfect. We will make mistakes and modeling how we recover when we've failed to cope. How we problem solve when we're visibly anxious and not managing it well is really also an excellent modeling opportunity. So it's a win-win here.

Some students might experience separation anxiety from friends since they might be placed in different cohorts. How can a parent help with that change?

Again, start by listening, validating those feelings. Don't minimize those feelings. It is a big deal, even if, down the line, you know they'll be okay. It feels like a really big deal, especially when it comes to older children and teens, it's a big deal. The same goes for children who are maybe going to be remote and their peers are going to be in school, so help your child problem solve this. I know our children spend a lot of time on screens these days, but that social media connection, especially those apps that enable our children and teens to connect in real time, face-to-face has been really valuable right now for socialization and connection.

Every time I say this, I stutter because I'm usually so anti screen, but I've been promoting this because I think it's really helpful right now when it comes to that face-to-face connection. Also, remind your children and this isn't forever. That's something I find myself saying to myself and also to my daughter a lot. I tell her, “I cannot tell you when this is going to end, but I can promise you it will end.” And that's an important bottom line.

If a classmate contracts COVID-19, how should a parent explain it to their child? 

There's not one right answer. But as a general rule, I would start with a less is more approach. So in general, as adults, we tend to give more information than children are usually asking for. And so I would start by keeping it short and simple. Explain what happened and focus on the positive of the situation if you can.

“...David has COVID and is at home where his mom and dad are taking good care of him.” Depending upon the situation, how worried your child is, and is the child at home really sick, or are they hopefully at home and asymptomatic and just hanging out...? If it's the latter case, maybe arranging an opportunity for your child to virtually connect with that child would be a way to help reduce your child's worry. It also might be nice for the child who's stuck at home and disconnected from people too and maybe scared as well. 

How do you know when your child should talk to a professional about their anxiety? 

First of all, when in doubt, please consult a professional. I, as a professional, tell parents all the time to bring their child for a checkup. We get physical checkups every year, but we don't get mental health checkups every year. And obviously, I'm biased, but I think that's really important. And so I never mind when a parent schedules an appointment just to make sure their child is okay. That's wonderful. And I love telling parents, “Your child is doing great. Call me if you need something.” When your child's anxiety is persistent, they're having a lot of difficulties coping and that anxiety is interfering with their life, their school, home happiness, it's a good time to call a professional.

If a student is experiencing anxiety in the classroom or hallway, what coping skills could they try?

It's good for all children to have some coping skills that they already know and can use if needed. So I would say, first and foremost, these are things to practice beforehand. It's really hard to learn a new skill in the moment when we're really anxious. It's most helpful if children have a toolbox of different skills they can use because what works for me may not work for you. And what works for me on Tuesday might not work for me on Wednesday. So it's good to have a lot of options. Different children will do better with different skills. Some that might be helpful in the classroom or hallway includes knowing that they can go and talk to a teacher and ask for what they need. Do they need space? Do they need support? Knowing who else they can go talk to or ask for–who are the identified people, a counselor, a nurse, maybe there's a certain person in the school who they feel particularly comfortable with.

Deep breathing or belly breathing, it's really easy to learn. It's a really simple distraction. 

They can acknowledge that they're having this thought, but pull that thought away and focus on what’s safe around them and what they can do to be safe. So using self-talk to say, “Okay, I'm feeling worried, but let me go through my mental checklist. I'm wearing my mask. I just washed my hands. We're keeping our space. So I think I'm safe.” It's helpful to have a worry plan in advance. 

Parents are wearing so many different hats, parent/teacher, employee, child therapist, how can a guardian manage their own wellbeing while helping make sure their child's emotional needs are met? 

It is insanity for most of us, if not all of us. Professional me and mom me are definitely two separate entities. And while professional me can sit here and tell you all of these things and make them sound good. Mom me is freaking out all the time, bursting into tears with my friends on the phone, hyperventilating inside. I call my friends who are therapists often and let them talk me down. I say this because I think just exercising self-compassion and recognizing how difficult this is on all of us is just one of the most important things. Like our children, we need good sleep, good diet, exercise, fresh air. We can't sacrifice ourselves for them. We need all of those things too. And the better we take care of ourselves, we're better for them. Exercise the same compassion to yourself that you offer to your children. You're going to have good days and bad days, and try not to beat yourself up. We, especially moms, are so programmed to beat ourselves up. It doesn't help and we don't deserve it. We're all just doing our best.

What resources are out there?

If you go to PBS.org/parents, there's some good information on there, mostly for younger kids, but really I think the tips can be applied broadly as well. They have a section in there just on COVID and going back to school. The American Psychological Association, APA.org, has a lot of good information right now, too. There's a lot of good self-help workbooks for children and teens out there. A couple that I'll mention for children, there's one called “The Worry Workbook for Kids” by Deborah Ledley and Muniya Khanna. There's one out there called “Anxiety Relief for Teens” by Regine Galanti. These are just books that have exercises that your teen or child can do or you can do with them to help teach coping skills for anxiety. Also, reaching out to the school counselor is an excellent, excellent idea and a wonderful resource. They can help support your child in school and connect you with outside resources.

  • Podcast
Latin School vintage sign on wall

When Linda Cohn '69 was shown a picture of a Latin School of Chicago sign for sale on eBay, she thought it looked very familiar. This wasn't just any sign, this was the sign that greeted Linda and her classmates each day as they entered 59 E. Scott Street, Latin's home for upper and middle school from the mid-50s - 1969. Linda's class, the Class of 1969, was the last class to graduate from the Scott Street building; seeing the sign again felt like finding a long lost old friend. And finding the sign on the heels of her class' 50th reunion seemed like more than a coincidence. Perhaps it was time for sign to return home?

Linda decided to reach out to class rep Ron Pen '69 and a plan soon formed. Linda and Ron contacted their classmates asking who would be interested in helping to purchase the sign so it could be donated to Latin. Riding high on a wave of nostalgia following their 50th reunion, classmates eagerly and generously pitched in.

This summer, the Latin School of Chicago sign made its way to the current upper school at North and Clark. While a permanent spot and plaque are in the works, the sign temporarily hangs in the Alumni Office, where it will greet alumni visiting the school and inspire conversation with students when we can once again welcome visitors. Thanks, Class of 1969. And welcome home, old friend.

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