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 

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