The difference between extroverts and introverts is how they think. An introvert thinks silently, and when he has come up with an answer, he talks. An extrovert thinks out loud. The process of talking helps an extrovert think.

So guess who flourishes in school? That’s right: the introvert. And guess who runs Fortune 500 companies? The extrovert, of course. So why do we have a school system that favors people who are are not leaders? We have a school system that rewards kids for behavior that, above all, indicates that if you left the kid to their own devices they would read and think quietly on their own.

Good students read and think all the time. Independently.

Good leaders talk a lot and think out loud and need people around them who are listening.

Extroverts spend their time in school listening to the teacher talk, waiting for school to end so they can start learning.

There is not one right for for people to learn. Different people learn different ways. But school is based mostly on a single way to learn: listening and reading. Visual people are terrible listeners, because they learn by looking and listening just annoys them. People who learn by doing have very few outlets at school. It’s much more expensive to teach by doing, so schools focus on teaching by reading as a cost-cutting measure.

It’s hard to know what kind of learner you have when your learner is in preschool, but by the time your kid is seven or eight you know.  My youngest son, for example, learns by doing, in groups, which is what’s happening in this photo. It didn’t matter that he was younger than everyone in the room. It didn’t matter that he was the only kid without a fiddle playing fiddle music. He was in his learning sweet spot and he loved it.

Here’s a really good, free version of the Myers Briggs test that you might be able take for you child. Or, if that’s not working for you, you can hire someone to help you. I decided to double check what I thought I knew, and I hired Mariaemma Willis, author of Discover Your Child’s Learning Style. She consults for parents who have kids in school and people who homeschool. She helps you understand how your kid learns and helps you make a plan to allow the kid to learn that way.

Willis is much more open-minded than I am. She is willing to work with teachers to help a kid learn better.  I think the whole school thing is a waste of time. But it’s important for me to listen to people who have more open minds than I do. It makes me feel more justified in my close-mindedness about school.