This post is part of a series of posts on teaching to different personality types as found in the True Colors Personality Test. To see more, head here.
Orange you glad it’s time for another True Colors Personality post? Much like that pun, people with an orange personality are all about taking risks and having fun. They are energetic, spontaneous, and courageous. Your orange students are the ones who struggle the most with the restrictions of the classroom but they still manage to lift others with their infectious optimism. Everything is an adventure in the mind of an orange.
Students with an orange personality need hands-on learning in order to succeed. They want to be physically involved in the learning process and see visible results. Incorporate the tangible and tactile in your lessons whenever possible. Their mental process might not make sense to an outside observer but they are incredibly clever and somehow manage to get to the right answer. They thrive on attention and internalize praise the deepest when their skills are recognized and the praise is manifested with actions.
Much like ESFPs, these students are your performers and entertainers. They lean into artistic studies and would rather start their own business than work for someone else. Having to sit at a desk all day and meet deadlines is their idea of a nightmare. Give your orange students time away from their desk as well as opportunities to be in front of their peers. Use their unconventional processes as a learning opportunity for others in the class. And who knows? Maybe their methods will help another student struggling with the material. Their peers might find them obnoxious, selfish, and impulsive but oranges are so friendly and charming that it’s hard to dislike them for long. Keep an eye out for your orange students though; their exaggerated reactions make them a target for other students to pick on. They like to give off the appearance of being unaffected, but they still internalize the teasing remarks.
The fastest way to lose an orange’s focus is to keep them confined to their desk, which can’t always be helped in a classroom setting. They have an insatiable curiosity and are very welcoming of other ideas. They crave collaboration and they want to be exploring concepts and bouncing ideas around with others. Consider keeping some fidget tools on hand for them to use when they have to stay at their desks. These students love competitions and taking risks. They walk a fine line between always having multiple things going on and becoming stressed by too much responsibility. Teach them about work/life balance and remind them that sometimes they need to work hard before they can play hard.
There is never a dull moment with an orange personality, which isn’t always a good thing. On a bad day, they might act out, break rules, run away, or make bad impulse decisions. In these moments, it is vital to maintain structure to show them that things will go on as normal once they calm down. While their reactions are likely to be dramatic, don’t draw attention to them after they compose themselves as this can cause embarrassment and lead them to pull away.
Your orange students might exasperate you more than the rest, but at the end of the day you can’t help but appreciate what they bring to the classroom. Allow them to have fun and be creative. For those who teach junior and high school students, it’s more important than ever to cultivate that creativity. Encourage them to participate in the arts. Even if the skills aren’t there, they need to be able to express themselves. Educate them about trade schools, as those are often very hands-on careers that don’t require a lot of desk work.
What have you found to be the most beneficial when teaching orange students? What advice do you have for teachers struggling to contain an orange personality?