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Personality Development

Myer-Briggs Type Indicator

Many individuals appear to know themselves quite well. That is, they can accurately predict with a particular problem or situation, their initial response or impulse. However, even individuals who have a strong sense of self-understanding usually find it difficult to describe the traits in words that best fit their character. After writing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire, a person is evaluated based on their own interests, values, and unique gifts. Often, the reported type (a combination of four opposing preferences: extraversion versus introversion; sensing versus intuition; thinking versus feeling; and judging versus perceiving) complements the person’s personality fairly accurately. This test is reliable and has shown to produce three or four type preferences that are the same 75% to 90% of the time on retests (MBTI, 2008). The validity of this questionnaire helps to understand and predict the person’s behaviour, as well as to differentiate the values, attitudes, and behaviours of different people (MBTI, 2008). Understanding one’s own personality preferences and learning about the rich diversity of the many other types plays a vital role in educating. Knowing a student's personality type helps to guide teachers to significantly more effective educational strategies than they could have arrived at by relying on conventional approaches. It is the teacher's responsibility to put an emphasis on each student’s interests, values, and distinctive gifts by using modified teaching strategies that dynamically suit their personal needs, in order to create a learner-friendly environment.

A chart displaying the sixteen different personality types associated with the MBTI questionnaire

Figure 1. A chart displaying the sixteen different personality types associated with the MBTI questionnaire.

 When teachers first encounter their students for the semester, it is important to distinguish early on their most natural energy orientation; that is, do they possess extraverted or introverted characteristics? A simple, yet equivocal test would be to ask an open-ended question and then see who are first to put up their hand. Extroverts usually act first, think and reflect later, while introverts think and reflect first, then act. Acknowledging this behaviour can provide an educator with an abundance of information regarding their students as they start off a new semester. For instance, to accommodate both personality types, teachers can offer their students the option to work in groups or to work alone. Some students work better alone because they get more work completed, while others tend to work better in cooperative efforts. When performing a demonstration, a teacher may also find it more effective to call-up students who are interested in watching; extroverts are usually open to and motivated by the “outer world of people and things.” Students who prefer introversion may find it hard to concentrate during a demonstration, especially when one-to-one communication is preferred. Moreover, it is essential for a teacher to know which way a student understands something most naturally. Learners who are the sensing type usually gain insight by relying on their senses. They prefer to categorize information and organize it in a manner in which they can effectively recollect for future references. Students of this type enjoy working on labs, because it provides them with the opportunity to learn firsthand without having to sort through ambiguous details when reading a textbook. On the contrary, learners who prefer intuition are comfortable reading out of textbooks or copying notes from an overhead projector, as they use their imagination and creativity to formulate patterns. If a teacher chooses to present information using an overhead, both learner types could be satisfied if the information includes a mixture of both words and diagrams. When writing a test, if students feel uncomfortable memorizing facts, a teacher should provide the students with the option to explain a fact using patterns or symbols. If these teaching strategies are implemented, it will help students feel comfortable in class and learn to express themselves better.

 

Students burdened to face their bully on a daily basis can become a major distraction from learning – especially if they are the feeling type. Students of this type are unsettled by conflict and disharmony, while students of the thinking type consider conflict as a normal part of relationships with people. A teacher who is aware of a student’s unusual absence from class or a slippage in grades should responsibly analyze the cause of the problem and provide objective solutions for the student to consider when in conflict. Finally, it is essential for a teacher to recognize that not all students who enter high school know how to take lead, as in making good decisions and taking action. Students who preferred the perceiving type in elementary school may discover that planning ahead of time in high school works better than moving into action without a plan. Therefore, teachers should put an emphasis on organization, especially during the junior years of secondary schooling by constantly checking their binders. Test and assignment dates should also be clearly assigned well in advance; this will allow students of the judging type to focus on task-related actions and avoid deadline stress. 


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