HEAD NECK CANCER - A learning journey
Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking. Susan CAIN, 2013, Broadway Books New York.
"Those who know do not speak;
Those who speak do not know." Lao Tse
With the start of the Chinese New Year, in the quiet time of the Spring Festival, before classes commence, there is time to contemplate what actions will we take to demonstrate leadership in 2014? How will we show our leadership style?
Many students are surprised to hear that I was painfully shy as a child, just like Susan Cain. I would be tongue-tied and blush in front of a class, or even my own family. As the youngest of five children, there were others who could speak for me.
Like Susan, I developed strategies to overcome that shyness and awkwardness. I loved performance- English, speech and drama. I learned to speak well, with passion and to 'put on an act', so I could live well in a world that seems to favour those who speak most often and the loudest. You will find me on LinkedIn, but I shrink from tweets and facebooking.
I write an occasional blog, but don't ask me to express a daily opinion. I would rather read a book or watch a movie, go to a forest or beach where there are few people, stay on our beautiful green and peaceful campus during the holiday break.
I have loved my roles in Human Resource Management, and teaching management, organisational behaviour, tourism and events. And I feel in my element in the teaching performance space of the classroom with my respectful, hungry-to-learn, and hard-working Chinese students.
But after class, I need down-time and quiet time to re-energise, reflect on the class and prepare for the next one.
Susan's writes that 'at least one-third of the people we know are introverts.
They prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying, who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion, who favour working on their own over brainstorming in teams.'
As teachers we are in a leadership role and should be mindful that we balance team coursework with individual course work, and set up programs that support each and every student to find the best way to express themselves and develop their special strengths.
Creativity and productivity are not always better due to groupwork. Solitude is a catalyst for creativity and innovation. We need both 'alone but not lonely' times, and we need to learn to slow down, to listen and interact with those who may not want to speak first, but are able to reflect on, and draw together the threads of the conversation, and offer deep insights.
"In a gentle way, you can shake the world," Mahatma Gandhi.
For more on Susan, go to these links.
As a gentle provocateur of positive change,