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One Style Does Not Fit All: How Personality Differences Affect Learning

Education is broken.
School doesn’t work.

The US is falling behind.

●    Literacy Rates:
○    2009: 1 in 3 students scored “below basic” on the NAEP Reading Test (National Assessment of Education Progress
■    49% of the students who scored “below basic” were from low-income families
■    more than 67% of all US fourth graders scored “below proficient”
●    they were not reading at grade level
○    26% of eighth graders and 27% of twelfth graders scored below “basic” level
○    32% eighth graders and 38% twelfth graders were at or above grade level

(assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)
●    Math and Science:
○    15-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 25th (out of 30 countries) in math performance
○    15-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 21st (out of 30 countries) in science performance
●    American 12th graders ranked 19th out of 21 industrialized countries in math achievement
○    they ranked 16th out of 21 in science
○    they ranked last (21st) out of 21 in advanced physics
●    since 1983, more than 10 million Americans reached twelfth grade without knowing how to read at a basic level
○    more than 20 million reached twelfth grade without being able to do basic math
●    Some things to consider:
○    Many students are not well-suited to wrote memorization
○    Memorization is favored by US public schools
○    An innovative/flexible approach to teaching would encompass more than one learning style

Different types of learning:
●    Visual (spatial): prefer using pictures, images, spatial understanding
●    Aural (auditory-musical): prefer using music and sounds
●    Verbal (linguistic): prefer using words, in writing and speech
●    Logical (mathematical): prefer using systems, logic, and reasoning
●    Physical (kinesthetic): prefer using sense of touch, hands, body
●    Social (interpersonal): prefer to learn with other people or in groups
●    Solitary (intrapersonal): prefer to use self-study and work alone

Each learning style uses different parts of the brain
○    left hemisphere:
■    speech
■    attention to details
■    writing, reading
■    verbal memory, verbal thinking
■    processes information in a linear manner
○    right hemisphere:
■    processing and storage of visual, tactile, musical, and spatial information
■    handles complex non-verbal material
●    intuition, perceptiveness, inspirational hunches, emotional processing

Personality heavily influences learning style:
Collaborative learning isn’t for everyone:
●    classrooms are typically situated for extroverts
●    extroverts thrive working in collaborative groups and during class discussions
○    comfortable with public speaking and presentations
●    introverts prefer quiet (as opposed to classroom noise and being bombarded with stimuli)
○    prefer working on individual projects
○    independent thinking

Differences in basic personality affect our preferences for acquiring and integrating information
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
An assessment that divides and defines personality types
•    developed mid-20th century based on four preferences
•    Type of data provided based on four preferences:
◦    1. Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
•    how you direct your energy and relate to the world around you
▪    E: action oriented; energized by other people and things
▪    I: reflective thinker; energized by their inner world of ideas, abstractions, concepts
•    83% college student leaders are extraverts
•    65%  Phi Beta Kappa members are introverts
◦    PBK=upperclassmen with highest GPAs
◦    2. Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
•    how you take in information from the environment
▪    S: detail oriented, trust and rely on facts
▪    N: seek patterns and relationships; trust hunches; look for the ‘big picture’
•    almost 83% national merit scholarship finalists are N
•    92% Rhodes scholars are N
◦    3. Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
•    how you make decisions
▪    T: value fairness; focus on situation’s logic; use objective criteria
▪    F:  focus on human needs and values; value harmony; good at persuasion
◦    4. Judging (J) vs. Perceptive (P)
•    how you orient yourself with/to the outside world
▪    J: decisive, self-motivated, plan ahead, adhere to deadlines
▪    P: adaptable, curious, spontaneous; difficulty finishing a task; ignore deadlines
●    Combined preferences indicate the Myers-Briggs personality type

There are 16 different MBTI types and each type has a distinct preferred learning style:

16 personality types:
•    ISTJ: Guardian: practical, logical, dependable
◦    famous ISTJs: Warren Buffett, J.D. Rockefeller
•    ISTP: Craftsman: reserved, analyze with detached curiosity; logical
◦    famous ISTPs: Michael Jordan, Amelia Earhart
•    ISFJ: Defender: responsible, friendly, conscientious
◦    famous ISFJs: Mother Teresa, Clara Barton
•    ISFP: Composer: sensitive, kind, modest
◦    famous ISFPs: Steven Spielberg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
•    INFJ: Protector: firm principles; quietly forceful; serve the common good
◦    famous INFJs: Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt
•    INFP: Dreamer: enthusiastic and loyal; care about ideas, language, and independent projects
◦    famous INFPs: George Orwell, Princess Diana
•    INTJ: Strategist: driven by their own ideas/purposes; skeptical, determined, critical
◦    famous INTJs: Alan Greenspan, Hillary Clinton
•    INTP: Thinker: quiet, reserved; enjoy scientific and theoretical pursuits; solve problems with analysis and logic
◦    famous INTPs: Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln
•    ESTP: Persuader: adaptable, tolerant, dislike long explanations; do best working with real things
◦    famous ESTPs: Winston Churchill, Donald Trump
•    ESTJ: Overseer: practical, matter of fact, realistic; run/organize activities
◦    famous ESTJs: George Washington, VInce Lombardi
•    ESFP: Entertainer: easygoing, memorizing facts; common sense, people skills
◦    famous ESFPs: Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Judy Garland
•    ESFJ: Caregiver: talkative, cooperative, work best with praise and encouragement; interested in things that have direct and practical help in others’ lives
◦    famous ESFJs: Barbara Walters, Ray Kroc, Martha Stewart
•    ENFP: Advocate: enthusiastic, imaginative; always willing/ready to help anyone; good at improvising
◦    famous ENFPs: Bill Clinton, Mark Twain
•    ENFJ: Giver: responsible, sociable; responsive to praise and/or criticism; sympathetic, tactful
◦    famous ENFJs: Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Nader, Martin Luther King, Jr.
•    ENTP: Originator: outspoken, resourceful, good at using logic to validate their rationale, change interests in rapid succession
◦    famous ENTPS: Walt Disney, Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla
•    ENTJ: Executive: decisive leader, frank, excel at logical reasoning, well-informed
◦    famous ENTJs: Carl Sagan, Margaret Thatcher

CTA: Different personality types utilize different learning styles; sensitivity to these differences would help students succeed.