Are you a parent who is passionate about learning? Do you want your children to enjoy school and find success IN and OUT of the classroom?
Then welcome to Learn Their Way!
In this week’s episode, we’ll discuss how personality styles impact learning.
Whether you are homeschooling or supporting your kids in a classroom setting, understanding personality styles can help you nurture and support their educational needs.
In this episode of Learn Their Way, we’re going to dive into the Myers-Briggs framework — specifically how the introversion/extroversion and judging/perceiving tendencies can impact learning.
- Changingminds.org article on Judging vs. Perceiving
- Introvert Homeschool Moms
- Family Schedules & Personality Styles
- Save $20 off your first class on Outschool using my referral link.
- Nurture by Nature by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger (affiliate link)
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EPISODE 8 TRANSCRIPT:
Welcome to the Learn Their Way podcast, where we teach strategies designed to help students understand how they learn best and find success in and out of the classroom.
I’m your host, Melissa Droegemueller, and in this episode, we’ll discuss how personality styles impact learning.
Welcome back to episode 8, Personality Styles and Education.
Welcome back to episode 8, Personality Styles and Education.
Since this podcast is all about equipping our kids to learn their way, our next few episodes are going to discuss how different personality “frameworks” impact how our kids learn best.
Today, we’re going to dive into the Myers-Briggs framework, which divides the world up into 16 different types of people. I know that Myers-Briggs can be controversial, and I’m not here to hold up their theories as fact.
But, I do want to talk about a couple of personality traits that are part of the Myers-Briggs world because they show up frequently in the education system.
If you’ve never taken the Myers-Briggs test, you will be asked a series of questions to decide where you fall on the continuum in four different categories:
- Introversion to extroversion
- Intuitive vs. observant (or sensing)
- Thinking or feeling
- Perceiving and judging
Your final type will appear as a four-letter sequence, like INFJ, ESFJ, or ISFP. (Those are the likely types of three of the four people in my family — the other abstains from taking the quiz, ha!) If you don’t already know your type, I will include a few of my favorite resources in the shownotes.
The two letters in the middle can often get really confusing for beginners, so we’re just going to focus on the first and fourth categories for this podcast — introvert vs. extrovert and judging vs. perceiving. In my opinion, these two categories are the easiest to identify in children, even when they are young.
When we first started our homeschooling journey, my children were three years old and 6 weeks old. Every day, my preschooler would ask me, “Are we going to see people today?”
“Well, first of all, your sister and I are people, thank you very much. And yes, I scheduled a park (play) date with friends this morning.” — was my frequent response.
That kid is a born extrovert, for sure.
The other question I was asked every day? “What are we doing next?”
I began writing down our daily schedule on our chalkboard easel each morning so she could see and anticipate our next activities. 10 years later, that girl still likes a plan. And if I don’t have one, she’ll make one.
<< musical interlude >>
You may ask yourself what introversion and extroversion have to do with education.
If you’ve been around our community for long, you know I am a classic introvert. I am comfortable in social situations, but I really like my alone time, too. As a full-time homeschooling, work-at-home parent with children who no longer nap — well, let’s just say that I have to be very intentional about recharging my batteries on a daily basis.
My kids fall on the opposite sides of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. As I mentioned, our oldest is an extrovert who LOVES people. And our youngest enjoys getting out among people, too — but you can always tell the difference immediately on the drive home. Two of us are silently thinking about the activity we just left, and the other is so hyped up that she can’t stop talking. Introvert — extrovert.
In a learning environment, my children have very different preferences as well.
My extrovert focuses better when she is able to complete her schoolwork in a space with other people. She thrives off the interactions as her parents or sister walk by — sending her to do her work in another room is actually counter-productive.
We also put her in lots of community-based classes, where she can learn new material and work on projects in a group. When it comes to her harder subjects, we always do them orally so she can talk through all of the concepts and get her questions answered in real-time.
As an introvert, I find study groups (and any type of noise, really) very distracting. In college, my friends all liked to study in the busy student center, but I would find myself people-watching instead of working. My most-productive times are when the house is silent, and I am completely alone.
My youngest child can work in either environment. She makes her own noise (or asks to listen to music) while she completes most of her work independently. While we have tried online classes for her through Outschool, her favorite interactions are 1:1 with a friend or a teacher.
I am working with a very small sample size here, so I would love for you all to visit our Facebook page, Rolling Prairie Readers, as soon as you are done listening to this episode to take a quick poll and see if my hypothesis is correct. As an introvert or extrovert, do you prefer working independently or socially?
<< musical interlude >>
Whenever I talk about making a schedule for homeschooling or learning at home, I always encourage parents to look at a family’s introversion and extroversion needs. When the girls were younger, we would have two “out-of-the house” days for playdates, errands, classes, etc. AND three days at home to rest and recover.
The other factor we need to consider as we plan our days is the last letter in the Myers-Briggs personality style: P or J?
Ps are typically very spontaneous, flexible people, while Js like structure and schedules. I just read a helpful discussion on changingminds.org that said, “Js…get their sense of control by taking charge of their environment and making choices early….Ps keep their options open by making choices only when they are necessary.”
As I wrote in a blog post about family schedules:
“If you are a J parent, you definitely like the idea of a schedule (and may have already made one, printed it out, and stuck it on the fridge). If you are a P parent, you might “like” the idea of a schedule — and you may consider making one for your own family — but maybe it also strikes a bit of terror on the inside?
The real test comes down to your child’s innate personality. Are they a staunch J or a go-with-the-flow P?
- If you have a J kid, they probably LOVE the idea of a schedule. (These are the kids who want to know what’s happening next…all day long.) In fact, your J kid might have already made up a schedule for the entire family to follow.
- If you have a P kid — ha, ha, ha! Throw that schedule away right now.
Unless you are a J parent raising only J kids, your well-thought-out, perfectly-color-coded schedule will work well for approximately 1-3 hours (if you’re lucky). Or someone is crying in the corner right now.”
In our family, we have two Ps and two Js. While my husband is very organized at work, he likes his leisure time to be more “go with the flow” and open to adventure. And my little P does very well with a flexible schedule, where she can fill in her blocks of time in any order she likes. We have consistent meal times and a checklist that reminds her what she needs to get done each day.
While I might prefer that she gets all her schoolwork done in the first few hours of the day, she is much happier when she gets to work a little and then play a little. Work a little, read a little. Work a little, go outside a little. We’ve just learned to put the subjects we do together at the beginning of the day, and then give her the freedom she desires to plan (or not) the rest of her day.
In fact, early today — before she even knew what this episode was going to be about — my little P said to me, “You know, Mom — loose blocks [of time] and 10-minute transitions are better than a rigid schedule for my type of brain.“
My J daughter likes structure and refers to her checklist throughout the day, too. We also keep a large wall calendar above her desk so she can see her entire week and month at a glance. We make lists and talk about our plans throughout the day, so she knows what’s in her control.
As a J parent, I am learning to be more flexible as I bounce back and forth between teaching, working, and doing all the other things that need to get done around the house. For the sake of balance, we have a few family traditions that we stick to each week (like pizza and a movie every Friday night), and keep a couple nights open when my husband can be more spontaneous with the kids. We also plan time for our family adventures every weekend, so I can put my to-do list down for a few hours and relax out in nature.
Whether you are homeschooling or supporting your kids in a classroom setting, it’s important to factor in their introvert/extrovert tendencies and how they feel about making and keeping plans.
Sometimes these two personality traits are at the heart of a conflict between a parent and child or student and teacher. Schools should include time for group learning, as well as quiet space for children who need to recharge. Some children will need to do their homework in their room alone, while others will do better among the family hustle and bustle. And some kids will need to verbally talk through everything they learned and did that day.
When it comes to time management, our kids will need a lot of support and tools to find systems and strategies that work for them. I have lots to share on this topic, so keep an eye out for an episode about time management tips for kids coming soon.
We need to remember that our kids are unique — and constantly changing. What works well for them right now might not work so well in the future, which is why we need to be adaptable and open-minded. Keeping a growth mindset will hopefully prevent us from putting our kids into a box that no longer suits them.
All right parents, it’s time for homework.
If you have a few minutes this week, I would love for you to pull out a piece of paper or journal, and reflect on these questions:
- Are you an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in the middle? How does that impact your parenting decisions?
- Do your children prefer to learn independently or socially? Is their current learning environment a good fit?
- Are you a J or a P? How about the rest of your family? Can you adjust your expectations to find a balance that works for everyone in the family?
- Do you think understanding your child’s personality style can help you understand and support their needs in and out of the classroom?
You can head to rollingprairiereaders.com/episode8 to read a full transcript of today’s episode, download a copy of these questions, and see our favorite resources related to today’s topic.
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode, and thank you for supporting Learn Their Way!
Be sure to tune in next time as we talk about multiple intelligences. See you then!