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Being a student...

Understanding the personality of others - and your own personality helps you understand how they and you react to lessons. This page relates to the MBTI method of catagorising personalities.

Extroverted Students - Teaching and Learning

Extroverted students learn by explaining to others - they need to bounce ideas off others to fully explore their own thought processes (...ever watched House?). They do not know if they understand the subject until they try to explain it to themselves or others. Extroverted students often think they know the material until they come to explain it to a fellow student. Only then do they realize they did not understand the subject as well as they thought they did.

Introverted Students - Teaching and Learning

Introverted students need time to look at new material on their own before they are willing to discuss it. They need to think it through first. Preparation lessons suit introverted students. They need a framework to work from but then need to go through the material at their own pace - concentrating on the areas that they need to and skimming over the areas that they 'get' easily. Reading up on a topic before a lesson helps introverted students reach the point where they can interact in a group situation.

Providing them with a syllabus that gives links to background informations helps them to prepare the ground for a lesson.

Group Work to benefit both personality types

Extroverted students enjoy working in groups.They get a lot from in-class or outside-of-class group exercises and projects but introverted ones need quiet reflection time to look at ideas before they 'jump in'. It is possible to deal with both types within a classroom situation.

Suggested pair method:

Teacher poses question and provides quiet time for students to think about it alone.

Teacher then chooses who is to be 'the explainer' and 'the listener' within each pair.

Explainers explain ideas to listeners. Listeners can

  • ask questions for clarification
  • disagree, or
  • provide hints when the explainer becomes lost
  • Teacher requests feedback and wider discussion may ensue

    Group Method:

    Teacher poses question and provides quiet time for students to think about it alone.

    The groups are selected (approx 6/7)

    Each team member shares ideas with others in a 'round-robin' fashion.

    Teams discusses ideas and reaches closure.

    Teacher requests feedback and wider discussion may ensue

    Teaching Intuitive Students

    Intuitive students need to know the theory behind what they are doing. They must have the big picture, or an integrating framework, to understand a subject. The big picture shows how the subject matter is interrelated. Intuitive students can develop reasonably correct concept maps or compare and contrast tables. Fortunately, sensing students can be taught to do the same.

    People can hold 7 + 2 chunks of knowledge in their minds at any given time. If each 'knowledge chunk' contains a specific fact, then the amount of knowledge possessed is limited. But if each chunk contains many interconnected facts, a network or framework of facts, then the amount of knowledge is almost unlimited.

    Intuitive students need to develop frameworks that integrate or connect the subject matter. To an introvert, disconnected chunks are not knowledge, merely information. Knowledge means interconnecting material and seeing the "big picture."

    Cognitive psychologists tell us that through chunking, students master the material rather than just recall it. Building a compare/contrast table, flowchart, or concept map helps to do this.

    Intuitive students prefer lessons that get them to oversee the whole topic - to see where it is leading and how it connects with what has gone before and what will come next. In order to progress from this they need to get down to the nitty gritty of learning the material thoroughly - acting like an 'S' person! This can be taught - but 'N' types find it a chore to learn detail - and examiners want detail for high marks.

    Teaching Sensing Students

    Sensing students prefer organised, linear, and structured lessons.

    - They need to know what has to be known - they need the syllabus - with annotations making the goals clear (recalled/understood/applied etc)

    - They need examples of how they will be expected to apply their knowledge eg. past paper questions with mark scheme solutions. Just being told they have to learn definitions is not enough - they have to be shown that if they don't learn them their attempt at explaining the concept in their own words will cost marks!

    - They need examples of layouts that they can follow when answering types of question- this helps them tackle questions in a logical structured way - the way they like to do it!

    - They need to attempt questions that draw on their knowledge but are of a type they have not seen before - this is the challenge to sensing students to formulate the big picture and see cross connections - think outside the box.If the above points have been tackled this will be easier - but this type of work will always be a problem for 'S' types.


    The traditional Theory-Application-Theory (A-T-A) approach

    Using investigative learning works for both groups.

    Investigations will appeal to intuitive students as they love to find patterns in things and it will teach sensing students how to uncover general principles at the same time so it is valuable to both group. In using this method, sensing and intuitive students need to be combined in learning groups. The intuitive student can help the sensing student to discover the theory; the sensing student can help identify and marshal the facts of the exercise into a logical format.

    Thinking Students - Teaching and Learning

    Thinking students like clear course and topic objectives. They hate vague words or expressions such as "students will appreciate" or "be exposed to."

    Teachers need to write objectives at the three meta-levels of learning: rote, meaningful and integrated, and critical thinking for a T-student to grasp what is required.

    Thinking students (T-types) can be insensitive to the feelings of others - and make derogatory comments about another person's view, answer or suggestion if they think they disagree. Therefore in group work strong 'T' personalities can appear as 'thought bullies'. Some do not mean to be mean - they just want 'the truth' but it can be a problem if they are dealing with 'F' types - they therefore push the issue!.

    Feeling Students - Teaching and Learning

    Feeling students in a group situation will not necessarily say what they think - rather say what the others in the group will prefer to hear. They will also limit themselves in essays to what the teacher has indicated s/he expects. They want to make the listener happy more that they want to give an unbiased opinion - they can therefore express an opinion in class that differs to their opinion outside class. They can get stressed about needing to be 'right' and therefore may be reluctant to contribute in class - rather prefering to contribute to the student undercurrent!

    In general they prefer humanities to sciences (exception being medical) as they prefer to see how their studies relate to people and improving the human condition.

    Perceptive (P) people - Teaching and Learning

    P-people are curious, adaptable, and spontaneous. They start a task and then get sidelined so that it becomes many tasks. They therefore often find it difficult to complete a task because they have become bored with the primary task and are now concentrating on a more stimulating 'red herring'. Deadlines are often forgotten. Their motto is: bored now...

    Perceptive students often postpone doing an assignment until the very last minute. They can be thought of as lazy (especially by J type teachers) but sometimes they have simply got 'off track'.

    Missing deadlines and getting sidetracked when revising means that a P person finds it very difficult to perform well in the school system - it is weighted in favour of J people. However - if you can make yourself jump through the hoops and get to Uni you will find that your P traits are then useful (especially when you get to post-grad work), Your ability to go off on the little side roads leads to discovery and your unwillingness to see only one 'correct answer' means you spot anomalies and develop new avenues of research.

    As a P-person you need to regiment yourself. Make yourself have J traits - stick to a task sheet for the week... develop good habits - be strict with yourself - otherwise you will seriously underachieve!

    Judging Students - Teaching and Learning

    Judging (J) people are decisive, planful and self-regimented. They focus on completing the task, knowing all of the necessary details and not following red herrings. They like to take action quickly.. They plan their work and work to their plan. Deadlines are sacred. Their motto is: just do it! They therefore hand work in on time - to the correct specifications and revise thoroughly for examinations. This makes J people successful in school examinations - they often get top grades.


    It has been found that the following hints on note taking and test taking help students learn more effectively. Js will probably do these anyway - Ps should force themselves to - in order to keep on track.

    Speedwriting - Most students can learn speedwriting in several minutes. Just omit all (or most) vowels. Or develop your own shorthand method.

    Split Page - Draw a line down center of a notebook page. On the left-hand side, record the lecture (use speedwriting or your own shorthand notation). After class, write a commentary on the right-hand side. Include restating ideas in your own words, finding sources of confusion, identifying key points, looking for links to earlier learned material, and asking what does this mean to me (the student).

    Color Coding - Use different colors to record ideas presented in class and found in the text or readings.

    AOR Model - In answering an essay question, first Analyze the question and jot down key ideas, Organize the ideas into a logical sequence, and only then write the essay (Respond).

    Reverse Question - To review an essay question, first read your answer. Then construct a essay question based on your answer. Now compare your question to the teacher's question. If different, revise your answer. This strategy ensures that students answer the teacher's question.

    Treating Multiple Choice Questions as Short Response Question - Read the question's stem (the portion that contains the question) and write a brief answer. Then compare your answer to the four or five choices, and select the answer most similar to your mini-essay.

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