All students are different, including the way they learn and perceive information. As a student, you will encounter different instructors with varying teaching styles.
By understanding how your personality type affects your natural tendencies in behavior and learning style, you can take steps to effectively cope with varying teaching styles and increase your chances for academic success at Western Nevada College.
Learning Styles And Their Connection to Personality Types
People are different, and learn in different ways.
Which is why one student might enjoy chemistry while another cringes at the word. You might feel inspired by one particular faculty member while your friend thinks the same instructor is uninteresting. Perhaps you feel comfortable writing papers but have trouble with math, while your friend is the opposite. One student might do best by completing assignments at the last minute, while another outlines and follows a schedule to complete the work. And you may wonder how Cathy manages to get good grades when she never seems to have anything organized. All of these are connected to our personality type and our preferred way of doing and viewing things.
Try this experiment. Sign your name on a sheet of paper as you normally do, then sign your name again with your opposite hand. Although either hand can be used for writing, most people would describe the experience using the “regular” hand as feeling natural and competent, while using the other hand requires effort and feels awkward. Though you could use the non-preferred hand to write if necessary, imagine how difficult it would be if you were required to write with this hand throughout a work or school day. We have the same kind of personal preferences in our learning styles.
Learning styles are the characteristic ways in which an individual acquires, perceives and processes information. When we are in a classroom environment that matches our learning style, everything feels right. The professor is stimulating, the material exciting, the work enjoyable. But if the environment does not match our preferred learning style, we feel out of place, uncomfortable, and unable to do our best.
There are no right or wrong, or good or bad learning styles, just preferred styles. Understanding learning styles and personality preferences can help you, as a student, succeed academically. This knowledge can help you to “learn how to learn.” Further, it provides an important dimension of self-discovery and personal growth.
Background to Myers-Briggs and Personality Type Indicator
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) was developed out of efforts by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs to understand the differences and similarities in human personalities. It is based on the psychological theory of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, who disputed that personality traits are inherited or innate.
Myers and Briggs used Jung’s theory to develop a list of four ranges of personality traits: Introvert-Extravert [I-E], Sensing-Intuitive [S-N], Thinking-Feeling [T-F], Perceiving-Judging [P-J], and numerous combinations. They refined their definitions over and over again during the 1940s and 1950s by administering thousands of assessments.
Today their personality assessment instrument is more widely used by educators in the U.S. than any other. It is not like other psychological tests in that it does not uncover illness or psychosis. It was designed to help normal people understand normal human behavior.
Personality Type, Learning Styles and the Myers-Briggs
Understanding their own personality type can help students understand and appreciate diversity, read their instructors better, manage their studies more wisely, develop sounder relationships, and plan majors and careers more realistically.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can assist students in determining their personality type. It does not define individuals, it simply tell us general things about ourselves, like a zip code tells us what part of the country we live in but not the exact street or house number. Each person is different and unique even though we may share many preferences. Knowing what we have in common with others, how we differ, and what is unique about ourselves can be both empowering and critical to our success in college and beyond.
The counseling department at WNC administers and interprets the MBTI . Having the results of the MBTI interpreted can help you understand your personality type and preferred learning styles. This information, in turn, can help you to understand the different teaching styles you will encounter, and how to adjust to teaching styles you don’t like or feel comfortable with.
For example, a Sensing (S) student who like facts, organization, and structure may feel lost in the class of an Intuitive (N) instructor who bounces from one grand theory to the next. All students, including you, can benefit from developing strategies for dealing with teaching styles that don’t match their learning styles.
The results of the MBTI can help you to be more successful in the classroom and beyond. This knowledge of personality types can be useful in developing strategies for more effective study, better time management, smoother communications, more successful relationships, selecting courses and majors, and developing our less-preferred ways of learning.