Does Knowing a Personality Type Help in the Classroom?

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You’ve probably heard about extroverts and introverts before, what are the typical traits for each type, and what about ambiverts? Does knowing a personality type help in the classroom? In this post I’ll cover the following:

Extroverts and Introverts in a Workplace Environment

In an article in Forbes, the author Lisa Caprelli writes about understanding extroverted and introverted personalities in the workplace. The author mentions how introverts and extroverts may show up in the workplace. She also writes about how to best manage people of different personality types at work.

However, the signs of where you fall on the extroversion-introversion scale can be seen much earlier. How could this knowledge help us inside the classroom?

First, let’s take a look at where the theory comes from, and some common myths and stereotypical traits.

Where Does the Theory of Personality Types Come From?

One of the first to mention the terms introvert and extrovert to describe a person’s personality was Carl Jung. In 1923, Jung described extroverts as people preferring to engage with the outside world. Introverts were described as people who tend to focus more on reflection and the inner world.

The theory has evolved, but the definition serves as a basis for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. MBTI is more refined, but the base of it is the same: how a person prefers to interact with the world.

Instead of being seen as opposites, extroversion and introversion can be viewed as a spectrum where each person is placed. Different situations may bring out different parts of us. It could also place us slightly differently on that scale depending on how comfortable we are.

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What Is an Extrovert like?

If you search for typical traits of an extrovert, you’ll likely come across something like this:

  • loves to socialize in larger groups
  • happy and outgoing
  • confident
  • loud
  • make friends easily and has a large circle of friends

These stereotypes are just that though, stereotypes. There is more to a person than the way he or she prefers to interact with other people. In an article in Business Insider from 2018, the author brings up that there is more to being an extrovert than what people usually associate with this personality type.

One thing mentioned in the article has to do with chemistry. The lack of a chemical component makes extroverts need added pressure like social occasions and deadlines, in order to get things done. The author also mentions that extroversion has nothing to do with confidence.

In an article on Greatist, typical extroverted traits described are:

  • being energized by interacting with others
  • having a more animated and physical communication style
  • making quick decisions
  • preferring new experiences rather than repeated ones
  • being more positive or optimistic

Does this mean that every extrovert wants to go out and be the life of the party as often as they can? For some sure, but it’s hardly the case for everyone. What about the personality type often mentioned as the opposite of extroverts? Let’s take a look at introverts.

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The Typical Introvert

An introvert is typically described as a person who is either quiet, shy, or prefers to be alone. While this may hold true for some, it’s far from the case for all introverts.

Are there any signs to look for to know if you’re an introvert? According to an article on WebMD, some signs to look out for include needing quiet to concentrate, disliking group work, and preferring text-based communication over verbal communication. Other things mentioned were feeling tired after being in a crowd, feeling comfortable being alone, and having few, but close friends.

Again these are some stereotypical traits for an introvert, and in WebMD:s article several sub-categories of introverts are mentioned. They also bring up some myths about introverts such as introverts being unfriendly, and unable to be leaders, and that they are hard to get to know. Some of the same myths are mentioned in an article on HuffPost, but here they also mention the myths of introverts being more creative or intellectual than introverts as well as introverts being more prone to depression. Another myth mentioned is that it’s easy to tell if someone is extroverted or introverted.

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So are all introverts depressed intellectuals who prefer to communicate through text alone? Of course not! One major difference between introverts and extroverts comes from the way he or she needs to replenish energy at the end of the day. There are for sure introverts who enjoy going to a party, but once their social battery runs out they need time to recharge.

The difference between introverts and extroverts stems from this: how they prefer to recharge after spending their energy. As an introvert, you might prefer to be alone, doing calmer things such as reading, listening to music, or watching your favorite show, rather than talking to others.

Which Type Are You?

You probably know if you belong in the introverted or extroverted category, but what if you feel that you share typical traits from both sides? If so, you might be an ambivert.

In an article from SimplyPsychology, an ambivert is a person who has characteristic traits from both introverts and extroverts. One example mentioned is being introverted and reserved around strangers, but more energetic around close friends or family.

What Are the Strengths of an Ambivert?

Ambiverts enjoy spending time with others but also value their alone time to recharge after social events. The article also mentions that the term ambiversion was coined in the early 20th century by psychologist Kimball Young. The article also gives a nice example of the personality spectrum, where ambiverts fall somewhere in the middle.

What about the typical traits of an ambivert? Well, some points brought up in the article are that ambiverts are good at adapting to different situations. This includes being good at communication and listening since they share the ability to listen well like introverts, as well as the more extroverted way of speaking. Ambiverts work well both on their own and in teams and are comfortable in both large groups and small gatherings.

Does Knowing a Personality Type Help in the Classroom?

While some of the stereotypical traits and myths might help you to recognize (and categorize) the students in your classroom, you can’t be sure that your assumption is correct. However, having some basic knowledge of introversion and extraversion can help you when dealing with students who thrive doing work on their own, rather than in a group setting.

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Photo by Hiroyoshi Urushima on Unsplash

This won’t explain why some students want to avoid public speaking, but in some cases, it might give you a clue. Knowing this, is there any way you can make an introvert feel comfortable enough to show his or her knowledge in a good way? Does putting the extroverted kid in a group of introverts benefit any of them?


Does knowing a personality type help in the classroom? Yes and no. Introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts all have useful traits, something that is important to remember both at work and inside your classroom. With this in mind, it could be an excellent topic to bring up in class in order for students to recognize themselves.

This knowledge could also help to build empathy for those who are different from themselves. It could also strengthen your students, knowing that there is nothing wrong with them for not being exactly like the other students around them.

Getting knowledge of how people may differ from one another at an early age could provide useful for the future, both at a personal and a professional level.

How well do you know yourself? Are you more introverted, or extroverted or do you consider yourself an ambivert?



Language teacher interested in reading, art, games, and how technology can help out in everyday life.

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