original article written for HowToLearn.com by Jen Lilienstein
In high school and adulthood, we often look to personality tests for information about who we are or how a loved one or colleague acts, but there are many reasons why learning personality tests are important in elementary school.
Susan Cain’s book Quiet highlighted just how important the introvert-extravert dichotomy is, but there are many other personality type facets that are equally important.
1. Administering learning personality tests at the beginning of the school year can help teachers create richer, stronger relationships more quickly with students because they have a greater insight into who the child is and what interests him most. And as Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey, Czikszentmihalyi, Renzulli, Gardner, all the way through brain-based educators like Sousa and Willis have been saying for decades, affective education—or education that creates an emotional response in learners—is the most effective education.
2. It may not always be obvious to a teacher which children would score as introverts or extraverts on learning personality tests. Knowing this can help a teacher identify which kids naturally think out loud versus the kids that prefer to reflect first before contributing to a discussion. One of the things I come across most often in my interactions with both parents and teachers is a misunderstanding of what an introvert truly is.
Parents will say things like “my child is extroverted—she just takes some time to warm up” or teachers will report, “that child is clearly an extravert—he is by no means a loner at recess or during lunch.” The difference between extravert and introvert is much more in line with how kids recharge their batteries. Does he draw his energy from groups of people or alone time? If he is the former, he is an extravert, while if he is the latter, he is an introvert.
3. Knowing whether your child scores as a judger (slow-and-steady wins the race personality type) or perceiver (energized by deadlines personality type) on learning personality tests can help you play to their strengths from both organizational and time management perspectives and turn homework headaches into study success.
At a high level, judgers perform better with outboxes and day timers, while perceivers do best with inboxes and at-a-glance calendars. But the differences go even deeper than this and have been studied by social scientists for decades.
4. Getting a sense of how your class as a whole prefers to learn can help teachers plan or seek out curriculum that will engage and motivate their current class mix. It’s easy—and free—to administer learning personality tests such as the Personal Learning Styles Inventory on the top left of the home page at HowtoLearn.com.
While there are a variety of ways to stretch students beyond their comfort levels, most of these techniques are based upon meeting learners where they are academically. Using temperament to differentiate instruction can take these insights a step further and provide you with a framework for curriculum upon which you can design more engaging lesson plans.
5. When hiring a tutor, it’s crucial to make sure that your child naturally learns in a similar way in order to get the maximum amount of return out of this significant spend. Parents can have both their child and potential tutors take Kidzmet’s award winning learning styles profile to determine which tutor is the best fit for the student.
There are many other reasons to make sure your children or students take learning styles inventories in early elementary school, because their primary cognitive processes give clues to how each child not only likes to learn, but provides insight into:
- how to approach new concepts;
- how to approach learning;
- what type of teaching style will most appeal to the child;
- how to tackle homework and test prep;
- what types of students to seek out for study groups;
- how to motivate the student; and
- how to handle successes and failures.