If You’re an Introvert, Yell “I”!

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” – Albert Einstein

Educators have been using the Myers-Briggs Type Indictor (MBTI) for years to identify the personality types and learning styles inside their classrooms and to meet the diverse needs of their students. A student’s interests and way of learning directly determines how he/she will see and make sense of the world. If a teacher and a student are both aware of their own unique learning styles, communication and learning will be positively impacted.

Teachers who understand the different personality types and learning styles in their classroom can approach the same lesson in multiple ways to reach multiple students capable of multiple intelligences.

According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation, “The goal of knowing about personality types is to understand and appreciate the differences between people. As all types are equal, there is no best type.” However, the social structure that dominates most classrooms and businesses paints a different story.

Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book, Quiet, charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal and lays out a compelling argument for how our culture dramatically undervalues introverts. Her book questions the cost of forced collaboration and examines how it can stand in the way of innovation. Introverts gain energy from solitude, and while they may have strong ideas to contribute, their voices are overlooked in large groups. According to Cain’s website, “students in education will get a gold mine of information [from her book] about how these two temperament styles will interact in every classroom—from preschool to college—and how best to develop teaching and curriculum that truly enhances, empowers, and celebrates both temperament styles equally.”

As teachers, how often do we praise the extrovert in our classroom for speaking up and encourage collaboration projects among students? It is a delicate balance to respect a student’s learning style, while encouraging him/her to learn outside of his/her comfort zone and to prepare him/her for real world situations. The Myers-Briggs research and Susan Cain’s book remind us to equally value all of our students and to help each student find his/her own voice in a very noisy world!

If you are interested in your own MBTI result, more info about the test can be found here.


Post by Andrea Bracco, 8th Grade Language Arts Instructor

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