Teaching Students Who Are Naturally Organized, Responsible, and Leaders? You May Be Teaching An ENFJ

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here. 

Extroverted
I(N)tuition
Feelings
Judgment 

ENFJ. Do you have a task-oriented student, who strives to be a leader, and shows empathy to peers? You may be teaching an ENFJ. Let’s break down each of the categories. 

Extroverted- These students love the interaction with other students. Group work is great for them, but they can also strive in personal work as well. 

Intuition- This means they are very future-thinkers. These students will plan future projects and ask what the next step is. They are also big-picture thinkers, meaning they may have a hard time analyzing small bits of information. 

Feelings- (Omit for students younger than 12) They can be very empathetic towards others because they make decisions mainly based on feelings. This can also cause them to take criticism harshly. 

Judgment-  These students are very organized and need structure. It’s not very common to find an ENFJ student with a messy desk or backpack, because they have a hard time functioning without order. 

So how do you teach these students? First, you need to understand that they need human interaction for energy. Allowing them time to work and talk with other students can do wonders for their attitudes. Too much independent study time can cause stress for them. 

Another thing to remember is that they are very into future thinking and planning. This can lead to daydreaming and idealistic thoughts, that can possibly be discouraging to them when realized that it cannot be carried through. It’s also typical for them to be put into positions where projects can become overwhelming or impossible for them because an ENFJ will go above and beyond what is asked to create something greater. 

(For kids over 12) being a feeler, ENFJs are incredibly empathetic, which is a great tool in making and keeping great friendships. Being extroverted and a feeler gives them the idea that everyone they come in contact with is a potential friend. However, they can be overly selfless and end up taking on more than they can handle in both their schoolwork and socially. 

You should also be aware that they are often asking “Who will this benefit?” They love to see the why behind their work. Once they have understood the whole concept, studied it, and internalized the information, they find excitement in their new-found knowledge. Sometimes to the point where they strive to assist others in learning it as well.

ENFJs need opportunities to lead, as well as possibilities to assist other peers. They are helpers with common future careers that involve teaching and helping others. Foster this need in them, let them lead and help where you can. Be wary with criticism, they may not take it well because of their emotional thinking since they never want to let anyone down. 

Do you teach any ENFJ students? What other tips do you have for teaching them? 

Do You Teach Early Childhood Ages? This List Is For You

Around the time my daughter was 18 months old, I had an epiphany moment. I was a full-time stay at home mom. The majority of my focus was on raising and teaching her, so I needed to treat it more like it was at least my part-time job. I spent my day running my own errands, dragging her around with me, and when I needed to accomplish tasks around the house I would try to pawn her off to her room to play with her toys. 

Well, her toys eventually were boring to her and she spent more time clinging to me than ever before. That’s when I realized something needed to change. If my job was to raise and teach her, then that’s where I needed to shift my focus. 

I researched age-appropriate, educational activities for her, built up a good stash of supplies, and got to work. In the year I have been doing these with her, I have also come up with a decent list of tips that I believe can benefit everyone, whether you’re also a stay at home mom like me, a working mom, or a teacher of littles. 

Without further ado, here are the crucial tips I’ve learned. 

1. Everything can and will be cleaned up- Sensory bins are messy. Painting for the first ten times is messy. Even playing with stickers can be messy. This was so hard for me and I would have to just take a deep breath and remind myself that it will be cleaned up, but for now, she’s learning. 

2. Cleaning is fun for toddlers, take advantage of that- My daughter LOVED wiping up the table after a small sensory activity. She’s two years old now and still loves it. I’m taking full advantage of her help for as long as possible. It’s also teaching her some cleaning skills. Double win!  

3. Don’t overfill the sensory bin with too many tools- The first sensory bin I did with my daughter was a giant bust. I filled it full of fun tools she could use to play in the water. Right away she became overwhelmed with the number of things in front of her and refused to play with it. Too many options and information can overwhelm any child, even into kinder and first grade.

4. Just because they weren’t very good at a certain activity or bin the first time, doesn’t mean it’s a bust. They’ll get better and have more fun every time you pull it out.  

5. “Taste Safe” does not mean it’s an afternoon snack. It means you don’t need to try poison control when it’s put in their mouths- Especially small kids are notorious for eating EVERYTHING. So taste safe can be best, sometimes even into Kindergarten, because five-year-olds are just as guilty at placing anything in mouths, noses, and ears! This doesn’t mean they have free reign to eat cornmeal. It just means you don’t need to worry when it’s in their mouth, you just need to respond with, “yuck!” so it doesn’t continue happening.  

6. Don’t underestimate their abilities. 

7. Messes mean their learning. It’s hard, but it’s true.  

8. They don’t have to do an activity exactly how you envisioned for it still to be fun for them.

9. Some activities are a bust, and that’s okay. Try again later. 

11. Tape. Construction paper. Markers. You don’t need a lot of supplies, or even expensive supplies to make it fun and educational. In fact, the activity on repeat in our house is painting with water on construction paper. This takes construction paper, some sort of paintbrush, and a cup to hold water. So. Easy.

12. 1-2 drops of food coloring is all you need. 

13. Water play is the cleanest play. Nervous about sensory bins in your house or classroom because they are notorious for being messy? You’re not alone. If you have access to a non-carpeted area, water sensory bins are great because they can only do the floors a favor when all it needs is a good mopping when it’s over. 

14. They’ll never learn the responsibility of playing in a sensory bin or with messy activities if you never give them the opportunity to. 

15. You don’t have to understand what concepts they are learning, you just have to understand that it’s important that they really play. I used to be nervous about making hands-on activities for my daughter because I wasn’t exactly sure what she was learning or how to explain it to her. The good news is- you don’t need to either. In this photo, my daughter is experimenting with baking soda and vinegar. She doesn’t need to know that what’s happening are the hydrogen ions within the vinegar react with the bicarbonate in the baking soda, causing a reaction, creating new chemicals, which lead to a second reaction. All she needs to know is that when the vinegar hits the baking soda, it makes bubbles. Don’t feel daunted by the minute details. Just let them play. 


What Are the Seven Habits? An Inside Look on How They Can Help Your Students

Many schools across the nation are using Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in their framework for better classrooms. Or more popular, his son Sean’s book centered around the same idea, but for kids. There is also a version for teens as well. Whichever you choose, these books hold the same idea that there are 7 habits we as humans can adopt to foster a more successful life. 

If you are not already using this book as a tool in your classrooms, I suggest you start. Not only creating these habits in yourself but also encouraging your students to use these habits as well. 

The habits outlined in the books are: 

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin With The End In Mind
  3. Put First Things First 
  4. Think Win/Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw 

The children’s version of this book is fun and playful, watching different animal friends carry out the seven habits, seeing how each can benefit their community. Not only is it an informational book that is a vehicle for great discussions with your students, but also fun and engaging with kids. 

They have a whole website of resources, plus a series of books to dive deeper into each habit. They are striving to create leaders at a young age- This is something all of us need to get behind. 

The teen version of the book is geared towards trials and situations those in middle and high school may face and how the seven habits can be applied to them, aiding in better outcomes. They have also created a workbook to go along with the original book. 

The key to these books is that they are habits, which defined by Oxford is, “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
A regular tendency that is hard to give up. How powerful. These authors are implying that being proactive and thinking win/win can and should be a tendency, not something that needs to be thought about. Their books can help you, your students, your classrooms, and your schools accomplish this. 

Are you a 7 Habits or Leader in Me school? How have you witnessed it working well? Have the 7 habits become habits for you or something you still need to consciously make an effort to do? 

Cover Photo Credit: Goodreads 

A Guide To MBTI: How To Use It As An Educator

I wrote a post about using Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in the classroom with your students and how it can benefit them and you in learning and teaching. This can be a useful tool in really understanding each child on a personal level, why they act and react the way they do, and teaching to their needs. 

Before I break down how to teach individual types, you first need the tools in how to analyze your kiddos and find out what their MBTI is. The quickest, the surest way to accomplish this is to give them this test and have them share their results with you. This can also be a great conversation starter with them about the personality test, what it means, and how they can use it as a tool to work more efficiently with peers and teachers. 

An important note, however, is that the previous test is ideal for people ages 12 and older. It is believed that kids under the age of 12 have not completely developed the Thinking/Feeling aspect yet, and it is best to omit this. If that is the case, use this test instead, which is more specified for young kids. 

It indicates that this latter test is best filled out by the child and adult together, but in my experience, it is also efficient to only have one person fill it out if needed. If you feel you know the child well enough to fill it out for them, that can be a possibility. If you have the means for each child to fill it out themselves, based on ability level, it is also a viable option. 

Let’s say administering the test is not a feasible option for you. Another way to figure out personality types in your students is to analyze them yourself, but to do this, you must have a decent understanding of each category and how to organize the data you find. Let’s break it down. 


 Extroversion vs. Introversion- How you receive your energy. Introversion is commonly confused with being shy, but this is incorrect. Think of it this way, if you spent your night at a networking event, then proceeded to have dinner with friends, would you then feel the need to go home to be away from others and recharge? Or does it seem appealing to find a party down the block afterward? Introversion is not being shy around others, it’s needing to recharge by themselves because it’s energy-sucking in large crowds. Extroverts are fed energy-wise by crowds. 

Sensing vs. I(n)tuition- How someone takes in information. In a social setting, this may be one of the more difficult ones to identify, however, in a school setting it may be one of the easier.  Those who prefer sensing are very “in the now” type of people. They are very attentive to detail, use their five senses, and very practical in their work. Intuitive people are more about the big picture. They have a hard time solving small details without seeing more of the story. They are forward thinkers, always looking toward the future, and asking “why”. 

Thinking vs. Feeling- How you make decisions. This one is fairly self-explanatory. Thinkers are logical and use facts to make decisions. Feelers use their emotions as their drive, often considering other’s feelings when making decisions as well. This is not yet developed in kids until about age 12, and should not be considered until this age. 

Judging vs. Perceiving- How you structure your life. To make it simple, judgers need lists, organization, and clear expectations/ schedules. Perceivers work better in a looser environment with open-ended possibilities and last-minute decisions.

Once you have decided what category they fall into for the four different types, you then have their MBTI. For example, mine is ENFJ. I am extroverted, use intuition, make decisions based on feelings, and fall into the judging side. Once you determine your students’ MBTI, a great resource to read more about each type in vivid detail is best on this website, it will tell you strengths and weaknesses, as well as give insight into their friendships and relationships. 

Some other tips I find useful: 

  1. Research it beyond just this article. 16 Personalities website has great resources, as well as The Myers & Briggs Foundation. You can also find countless other articles and videos on understanding MBTI with a simple google search.
  2. Take the test yourself, and read all of the information on your MBTI. 
  3. Have others you are especially close to take the test, find out their personality type, then use their information to analyze why they received that specific type. I believe that seeing these traits first hand in your close relationships will help you come to a deeper understanding of how to find it in others.
  4. Once you’ve come to a decent understanding of the types, start trying to figure out people’s types before they tell them to you and see how accurate you can be in analyzing them.   
  5. Understand that each letter is a spectrum, meaning everyone freely moves along the spectrum, sometimes leaning more towards one side, then going toward the middle at some point in their lives too. On the 16 Personalities website, you have the ability to create a profile where it will show you what percentage you scored for each category. 
  6. Remember this quote in all your research “If you were to clasp your hands together with fingers intertwined, you will find that you will naturally place the thumb of one hand over the other – that is your preference.  If you were to clasp your hands with the opposite thumb on top, you would find the sensation a little odd but you would still be able to do it. That’s exactly what happens when we choose to do things that differ from our preferred behaviour.” -Shen-Li Lee 

I am very interested to see how well this works for you in your classrooms. Did this information help you understand some students on a more personal level? Did analyzing your students or having them take the test surprise you what their results were? 

Cover Photo Credit: Found on https://aneclecticmuse.blogspot.com/2015/05/mbti-understanding-our-actions.html 

My Thoughts on an Ever-Changing World

Recently I had an interesting conversation with my grandma. She told me how in her day, back in the ’70s and ’80s when she was raising her kids, she used to keep her baby lying in the front seat of her car while she drove for convenience of nursing and pacifying them. She uses this in an argument when car seats are not present and justifies letting older kids go without seat belts. “My kids survived it, so yours will be fine.” 

But will they? 

The world she raised her kids in is a different world than the world I am raising my kids in. Cars were not even capable of going the speeds they are today. Freeway speeds limits were not 80 mph. Cellphones did not exist to distract drivers. 

Will my kids be okay if she just sits them in the backseat without the proper safety restraints while only going down the block? Probably. But at the same time, I think we need to ask ourselves the morbid question – How many kids had to die in order for the laws in a car to become what they are today? Just because my grandmother’s kids survived and were fortunate enough to never be in a car accident, doesn’t mean everyone was. 

We truly cannot compare the world our parents and grandparents grew up in, to our world today. There are worlds of differences, even in just 50 years. However, just because driving conditions have changed, does not mean cars are less safe. We know our cars can handle higher speeds and diverse conditions because they are safer and well made now. Seat belt and car seat laws exist to compensate for this change. How incredible is it to live in such an adaptable world. 

I also want to point out that our world has changed in incredibly positive ways as well. This article actually tells us what a safer world we are in today. Maybe we feel it is so unsafe and scary because of our ready access to news and media that was non-existent not too long ago. In my grandma’s younger years, ignorance was bliss. 

War rates have plummeted. Malaria cases have gone down. Homicide rates almost look non-existent compared to what they used to be.   

Our world is ever-changing, ever-growing, and ever-adapting. I’m interested to see what I will say to my grandkids someday that “my kids survived it, so yours will be fine.”

Photo Credit: deathtothestockphoto.com 

How To Effectively Use Roxaboxen In The Classroom

The first time I heard the story Roxaboxen, I was well into my college years. This saddens me, considering the book was written in 1991, a few years before I was even born! It shows what a timeless classic it has become since it’s still used in schools and read to children today. 

I fell in love with this book right away because it drew me back to my childhood when my neighborhood friends and I would spend hours a day in our driveways drawing sidewalk chalk “houses” furnished with lavish furniture and multiple rooms. We would ride our bikes from driveway to driveway to visit each other’s homes. When the rain would wash the houses away we grabbed our sidewalk chalk again and started over. This cycle lasted for years and years. 

Roxaboxen is a story about friends in Arizona who use rocks and boxes to build homes, buildings, and businesses. They have cops so cars don’t go over the speed limit, and a jail for those that do. These children create more and more every year, even making a cemetery for a lizard with an unfortunate ending. 

How can this book be used in the classroom? It teaches about community and working together. This book is an excellent vehicle for a discussion of the topics, whatever the age group. It can give a brief introduction into the life cycle, watching the creation and expansion of the town, then later on how it was deserted once the children grew up. Also, not to mention- the lizard. 

Think of the beautiful creations children can create of their own communities, possibly even with pebbles and sugar cubes, their own rocks and boxes. The amount of possibilities this creates are endless. 

A few years back I took an Art in Education seminar. A dance teacher used Roxaboxen as our main focus of the lesson. We were split into different teams, each given a few cardboard boxes and balls for our rocks and boxes. We collaborated as a team to define our community values then created a dance with our boxes and balls to reflect these values we had chosen. It was beautiful. 

Roxaboxen can lead to many powerful conversations and lessons down the road, but ultimately, I believe it is the perfect book to spark the imagination as a child. I can see my friends and me now, hearing that story in our early elementary days and running with it. We would have run out to recess with ideas swirling in our minds of the communities we were about to create. It’s unfortunate that I never had the exposure to this picture book to place those imaginative ideas in my mind. 

Please, do your students a favor, regardless of their age, and tell them the great story of Roxaboxen

Have you read your students Roxaboxen? What discussions or activities did you use? Most importantly- How has Roxaboxen influenced you as a person and a teacher? 

Why I Believe MBTI Can Make You a More Effective Teacher

I mentioned in my post about my blogging schedule that I had the hope for my plan to be fluid, changing where and when needed. Three weeks in and I am already changing what I want to write about. I started writing about educational research, which I find incredibly interesting and worth looking into. 

However, while creating these posts, I found I was losing myself as a writer. What I was putting on the page was not personal enough for me, it felt as though I was writing a research paper for my English 1010 class, a class I passed years ago and do not feel inclined to repeat. I knew something needed to change, not many readers are inclined to enjoy blog posts that mimic research papers. I spent a few days reflecting on topics I am passionate about that could also be easy to write about, and finally came to a solid conclusion. 

I have always found Myers Briggs personality types intriguing and helpful information to understand those you come in contact with every day. In my teaching experience, I found it especially helpful to know how the student learns and interacts with others by knowing their Myers Briggs type indicator (MBTI). 

This is all information I want to share with you because I believe you will see the benefits as much and I have. Later in a different post, I will discuss how to identify someone’s MBTI, then I will break down all 16 personality types, highlighting their various aspects and how to connect with these students to teach on their level, or even just to know them on a more personal level. 

In my own experience, knowing someone’s MBTI can be so powerful in understanding their actions. I had a roommate in college who was very energetic, curious, and social. She had such a fun, bubbly personality, but at the same time was constantly stressed and anxious over small situations. She had a hard time focusing on certain tasks and let emotions run her life. While I enjoyed my friendship with her, these aspects of her personality I struggled with knowing how to handle. 

Once I figured out her MBTI and researched it a little more, everything started making more sense. Understanding this newly-found information on her did not change the fact that she was emotional or anxious at times, but it did help me understand it was who she was, and I needed to accept this. Also researching her personality type helped me see more of the positive aspects she brought to this world. 

She had a special talent to communicate with more reserved people, letting them open up to her and share about their personal lives. She was also very open-minded and accepting of every human she came in contact with. These were both qualities I admired in her but did not really see in her until I read more about her MBTI. 

Having this tool for each and every student in your classroom can be so powerful to see their strengths and weaknesses, finding others they can connect so well with, and those they may clash with. Once you find out more about their personality types, I am willing to bet you will learn information about them that may surprise you.

“When teachers and students understand the differences in their teaching and learning styles, communication, and therefore learning, is enhanced. A student’s interests and ways of learning directly affect how he or she takes in information. This calls on educators to consider different teaching approaches, based on the needs of students.”

The Myers & Briggs Foundation

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts on how to identify MBTIs, as well as how to analyze and use them. Buckle up, it’s going to be exciting! 

If you would like to take the MBTI test or research further into the 16 different personality types, you can do that here.

What is your MBTI? Have you found understanding someone’s personality type can help you understand them? What is your best tool for identifying someone’s MBTI?