Not every student is the same. In a modern classroom, there are several personality groups into which students will fall. Each group has its own needs and ways of working, which are unique to them and recognising this is the key to being able to understand a student's behaviour. Moreover, if the student can be understood, the teacher is in a better position to help him learn effectively and get the best out of the classroom experience.
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A 1962 study at Educational Testing Services Princeton by Isabel Meyers, co-creator of the "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator", demonstrated that different personality types react differently to classroom situations; with extroverts responding better in interactive classes while introverts responded far better in small groups and preferring not to participate at all. Further studies in the 1990s have shown that structuring classes around the personality types of students both increases student participation and helps them get the best out of the learning process.
In her book "The Ten Students You'll Meet in Your Classroom," teacher Vickie Gill identified ten general personality profiles into which students can be categorised. Gill classifies the majority as "good kids" who want to learn, while others include: misfits, manipulators, victims, invisibles, perfectionists and royalty. Each of these types of students in a classroom has their own needs and methods a teacher can use to deal with them.
If is important to recognise the manipulators and misfits in a classroom early as their presence requires early intervention if they are to be stopped from disrupting the class. They are the students who will question the rules and push the teacher's patience as far as possible. Similarly, victims need to be identified so the teacher can be sure to not step into the role of enabler for those who use victimhood to seek attention.
When the types of students in a classroom are identified, a teacher is better placed to use the different personality types of their students to maximise the effectiveness of their lessons. Whether it is using the social power of the royalty students to encourage class participation in school events or simply keeping rebels from disrupting the class too much, knowing what personalities a teacher is dealing with makes effective lesson planning far easier.
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