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University of the Arts London

Embracing the silence: introverted learning and the online classroom


In 2020, when teaching and learning went online in a great hurry, much of the initial emphasis was on matching the real-life experience as closely as possible. What has since become apparent, however, is that the online classroom is not merely transplanting the physical space into a virtual setting. On the contrary, it has challenged longstanding assumptions of what we mean by participation and active engagement. It presents immense transformational opportunities, which may lead to a more reflective and less pressured classroom pedagogy: one which is sympathetic to the (historically under-acknowledged) needs of introverted learners. 


Author Biography

Karen Harris

Karen Harris is an Intercultural Communications Trainer and Language Development Tutor, based at the UAL Language Centre. With 25 years’ experience of teaching English, she has a particular interest in the relationship between the written word and artistic practice. In recent years, she has established both the UAL Language-Art Project and Many-Languages Poetry Club – using language as a source of fascination which unites diverse students in a spirit of mutual curiosity and creativity. Her publications include Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, Times Higher Education, and a chapter in Teach Communication with a Sense of Humor. She has presented conference talks on a range of themes including the role of literature in the language classroom, surreal humour used as a teaching method, academic writing as an artistic skill, and the interdisciplinary connections between art and mathematics.