Ava Mac ‘21, Managing/Copy Editor
Despite how schools often treat us, we are all different people with our own unique ways of learning and retaining information. One style of teaching or lesson may not suit us all, and for some this can even be a matter of pass or fail.
One way we can tailor to our individual learning styles and strengths is to take into account the Myers Briggs personalities, which are the 16 types of personalities distinguished by the four personality spectrums: introversion versus extroversion (how you gain energy), sensing versus intuition (how you process information), thinking versus feeling (how you make decisions), and judgment versus perception (how you deal with the world).
Extroverts learn differently than introverts, sensing people learn differently than intuitive people and so on. Looking at all these different traits can help us better understand ourselves as students and also help us reach our own kind of academic success.
For example, people who possess the INTJ personality are able to process information in their own way and succeed the most in independent settings in which they can analyze information on their own before discussing their thoughts out loud. Junior Grace Cook, an INTJ herself, said, “I am very analytical; I kind of do well in math and science classes.” INTPs are very similar to INTJs in regards to independence; they are skilled self-directed learners, who also enjoy problem solving and asking their teachers thought-provoking questions.
Another independent learner is the ENTJ, who enjoys taking part in organized, competitive learning environments where they can pursue their long term goals and prove their own excellence to themselves. On the other hand, ENTPs do best in open-ended exploratory environments, and tend to dislike the kind of structured curriculums that ENTJs prefer. They do, however, enjoy exploring ideas through debates and will express their intellectual curiosity through competition.
Meanwhile, INFJs thrive more in encouraging, harmonious environments as opposed to these intense, competitive classrooms. INFJs would rather be given more time to develop their ideas and understand concepts fully much like INFPs, who, unlike these other independent types, enjoy collaboration as long as they are not put on the spot. Another fan of collaborative environments is the ENFJ. Not only do they enjoy teamwork, but also facilitating it and making sure no one is left out or does not understand. Junior Cassidy Lynn said, “As an ENFJ, I definitely am a leader in the classroom; I like to help everyone out.” ENFPs love this kind of open environment too, as it gives them the most freedom to ask questions and brainstorm with their fellow classmates.
A complete opposite type of the ENFP is the ISTJ who learns best in highly structured curriculums with repetition and consistent routines. ISFJs are practically the same: they love memorization, step-by-step instructions, and a set routine. ESTJs excel in these challenging environments as well, but in contrast to STJs and ISFJs, ESTJs do not mind thinking out loud, and are even willing to share their thoughts in order to understand concepts better. ESFJs, much like ENFJs, love to be the facilitators in these types of highly structured classrooms, helping out struggling students with encouragement and direction.
ESFPs appreciate this, as they need praise and interaction with others and the task in hand in order to succeed. Unlike ESFJs, though, they prefer classes to be more open ended and creatively engaging. ISFPs also enjoy this, but with their own independent exploration and experimentation of ideas as well. Other hands-on, energetic learners are ISTPs and ESTPs, but they favor logical challenges over those that are more creative. Although, because they are extroverts, ESTPs still require more engagement with other students than ISTPs and they often need breaks from the work at hand to be involved in the world around them.
The Myers Briggs personalities are a great reminder of how diverse the minds of those around us truly are, and how that can affect both an individual and a whole classes’ success. If we can find a student’s personality type and apply it to their learning environment, we can give them the best opportunity to enhance their academic prowess.
If you are curious as to what personality you are, take the quiz at 16personalities.com and find what kind of learning environment is best suited for you.
A chart of Myers Briggs personality types and traits:
Photo by Kendyl Laesch