This isn’t strictly a Gardner example. I had a student in an online
class who was a wonderful participant – active, insightful, helpful,
funny. At the end of the class, he said that this was the first time
he had ever participated in class discussions. He was an international
student where teachers taught and students learned – no discussion.
Then in the US in addition to being shy, he was concerned that his
spoken English wasn’t great. However, in an online forum, he had
plenty of time to compose a response, check the spelling, and post as
often as he wished.
So many on-campus discussions are dominated by a few – the Verbals/
Auditorys of this world. I can often tell that some of the shy
students have something they would love to contribute but can’t
because of time constraints of the 50 minute class time, the need to
translate and formulate a response as the discussion moves on, or lack
of confidence to speak in a public forum.