Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Narration for Introverts

In our family history, narration has always been a tricky issue. Honestly, I have wanted to use it consistently, but it never seems to fly in our family. Some issues:

  • The child is embarrassed and reluctant to "perform."
  • The child feels he is doing the work an injustice; mangling it by his unskilled rendition.
  • The child can't think of a way to start; his mind goes blank, especially because narrations are generally supposed to be immediate and without reference to the text.
I've felt all of these things myself. I wonder now if it is temperamental, when you realize that introverts:
  • Process internally, not externally.
  • Need time to do this.
  • Are often mortified by the discrepancy between "vision" and "reality".... ie what is in their heads and what comes out.
  • Often feel their minds are a blank on a particular subject, even when they actually know the subject quite well -- they often need something specific to trigger their thought processes.
  • Have a deep focus and are passionate and articulate in those areas, but don't do as well when jumping from thing to thing.
So knowing these things probably could lead to some solutions to the narration problem, if it is a problem. Giving them time to think; giving them a starting point; letting them narrate in one subject of particular interest or importances; even, perhaps, giving them a concrete and modest "narration goal" to bypass freefloating perfectionism.

Things that are traditionally advised to motivate children -- like entering contests, or "publishing" writings, or getting an audience -- are like threats to introverted children.

Better motivations for an introvert are time, and space, and support in deepening and broadening knowledge in "focus" areas.

Cindy Rushton's notebooking ideas seem to have potential except that introverts don't really have as intense a need of outside evidence of internal processes. There probably is a need to acquire skills in this area and it does reward itself to some extent, but for an introvert it would be the tip of the iceberg. I think that knowing this will be helpful for me -- I won't have to get in that obsessive mode that everything needs to be recorded.

It might also explain why Kieron and Sean are more amenable to this kind of thing than the older kids were.

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