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Type Trivia

Type Trivia

By Donna Dunning

Donna DunningWhich 3 four-letter types did psychologists rate as most likely to have trouble in school?

OK, I don’t really like negative stereotypes or talking about what types might not do well.

However, I can see how the structured, hierarchical, traditional approach used by educational systems could interfere with the preferred learning style of people with certain personality preferences.

The three types are ISTP, INTP, and ENFP

Do any of these types surprise you?

Two of these types share a dominant function of introverted thinking. Why might learners who have Introverted Thinking (Ti) as a dominant function have trouble with school?

My thought is that they might resist being told that there is one right answer and may also dislike (and maybe not bother to complete) the routine, structured, assignments.

What do you think?


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This entry was posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014 at 8:16 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

14 Responses to “Type Trivia”

  1. Dustin says:

    As someone who has ENFP preferences I could not agree more with this. I’ll spare everyone my biography but I will say that not only has knowing my preference type helped me understand WHY school was (and still is) difficult for me but has also helped me to develop some strategies and workarounds, the main one being self discipline. Of course, I don’t prefer to do this but I had to learn (on top of the academic learnings taking place in the class) how to adapt to the environment that I was in to succeed. It wasn’t until I started practitioning the MBTI five years ago did I understand that this was what I was having to do my whole life, learning how to learn while learning about an academic subject at the same time. Nobody really ever teaches those with a dominate extraverted intuitive preference how to learn in a context that’s primarily introverted sensing.

    “I don’t really like negative stereotypes or talking about what types might not do well.”
    I agree, mainly because many times these stereotypes are used as excuses.

    I could go on and on about this, but I don’t want to hijack your blog post. 🙂

  2. Donna Dunning says:

    Thanks for your comment Dustin. I agree everyone should know their type preferences to help build the “learning to learn” strategies you mention. I also agree about the danger of using type as an excuse. I wrote a post on this called Misuses of Type

  3. chentong says:

    Being an INTP, I agree with the findings.

    There was no problem in learning. It was very much to do with the compulsory activities, i.e. useless homework, etc. which is supposed to “teach” us that does not help at all in learning.

    Culture may play a role too. In my part of the world, Eastern Confucius culture, 30 years back, we were punished physically (caning on palm) for not doing homework. But these homework, except for maths and science, are practically useless for us to learn anything. It was mostly repetitive writings of new vocabulary, like repeat to write 20 times for all the 10 new words you learned today, write 10 times of the mistake you made in spelling, copy the whole passage of the text book, etc. These are stupid tasks, extremely boring yet not helping in increasing our knowledge. It makes students becoming dumb by taking away time from them that could have been use to read interesting books.

    Chinese School in Malaysia has a culture emphasize on punishment. And through punishment, the teacher gets discipline from students through instilling fear.

    My child had just gone through primary Chinese school. For those 6 years, the teacher repeating told me and wrote in the report cards that he was not interested in learning. But this is the same boy that came home and read through every book of entire Murderous Maths series and asking questions on algebra, pi, etc. He scored well at exam, but he was extremely bored at what teachers were talking. It was really painful to go through those year with him, for I being part of the mechanism of Confucius culture forcing him to conform until the very last year, and for I relived my own painful memory too.

    (In secondary school, I send him to a private school that use English as main communication language. The culture in the class is less authoritative and without many stupid and useless repetitive homework. One day, he told me, “Dad, here is where I belong.” I was almost in tears. From my experience in typing people, I suspect he is also an INTP, much to my dismay. I secretly wish him to be more “responsible” than me.)

    As INTP, we have to read through reading materials on the topics/ subjects we are interested in quietly. We need interesting teachers teach in a “overall way” emphasize the connections of all factors (for Ne), linking back and front. But most school teachers are SJ, they are incapable to think and to teach in this way. They talk in sequential ways, i.e. list of instructions, facts without connections, etc. This way is ok for Si, Se and even Ni (in People Types and Tiger Stripes, Gordon D Lawrance listed only 4 types with Ni as dominant and auxiliary functions are capable of learning in sequential and system (overall) way.) But not for INTP, for Ne, our learning method is system “overall” and not sequential. These teachers bored us to death.

    Even in high school, I couldn’t concentrate in school, I missed my homework deadline, I had different problems with my physic and chemistry and math teachers, I read story books in class, I got a part time jobs and readied to fail my exam.

    College years were the opposite. College years were my, one of those, “best years in life”. I studied hard to learn, I enjoyed, I did all my homework and I did not miss a class. No one forced me, so I did it happily.

  4. Erik says:

    How come ENTP is not among these? I would think their Ne would give them much trouble as well.

  5. Mike Lanphere says:

    This seems pretty random to me. I would like more information on how they concluded these three types would have the most difficult time in school, i.e., the level of education will come into play as well.

  6. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi Mike, I took the data from the MBTI® manual, which just had a short summary of the study results. I looked for the study on-line this morning, but didn’t see it. The authors were Roberds-Baxter & Baxter, 1994: Student MBTI type-characteristic behaviour: Correlations with the Adjective Check List and teacher and psychologist judgement of social acceptance and emotional health.

  7. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi Erik. I’m not sure why they weren’t in the top three. Maybe (I’m guessing here) their ability to charm and persuade others kept them on the teacher’s good side. I know SPs often struggle in school too, so a list of the top three certainly doesn’t cover the topic in detail.

  8. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi Chentong, thanks for your insightful comments.

  9. Eve says:

    Yep I agree, coming from a family of intps and entps.

    As an intp, I frequently felt that I didn’t fit in. I found school dull, repetitive and skipped much of my homework, particularly subjects that I didn’t feel like doing. And yep, I questioned rules, how things were done and answers etc. I usually won’t openly challenge stuff but internally I won’t just accept things just the way because I was told or “it has always been done this way”. I started asking to be excused to the toilet once I found lessons a drag, since like 8 years old or so, so that I could wander to the canteen (no one! Yay! how refreshing!) or just walk around the compound. My teachers either sought to try to understand me better by taking on counseling roles or they LOVE to pick on me, thinking that I was being defiant (of course I felt misunderstood as I was merely tongue-tied when they picked on me). Apparently, my father and brother (both intps) seem to receive either of the above 2 mentioned attitudes from teachers/bosses.

    My entp sister and mom, on the other hand, can always turn on their charms (provided they are in the mood to do so) to work on people above them and wiggle out of situations, no doubt about it ;-P They may think/challenge ideas/people/rules etc, but given their need to remain popular on the charts and be thought as smart-ass pants (which in truth they really are!), they are great at talking/saying the right stuff ie turning on their charms/making creative or funny remarks, smoothing over most situations. The rest of the intps in my family will probably be tongue-tied and too blunt in comparison!

  10. I read a homeschooler’s article that ENFPs have the most trouble in school for thinking outside the box.

  11. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi J.D., Definitely ENFPs will think outside the box. Many types might do this (typically Ns), but ENFPs are likely to be quite verbal when doing this, so it makes sense that it would cause some trouble for them in school.

  12. Eve,

    With a house full of INTPs and ENTPs, who pays the bills? (I’m an INTP). Haha.

  13. Eve says:

    Hi Charlie,
    None in my family likes to do all the mundane boring stuff like paying bills ;-P As a result, we enjoyed quite a fair bit in electricity-less romantic nights. I must say all of us took it in our stride pretty well though. It was an “oh sh*t happens” kinda of moment for us all (intps/entps).

    Now my household is well-oiled and run efficiently by my spouse, an ISFJ who would have absolutely freaked out at the above mentioned situation!

  14. Liesl says:

    INTP? They got that right. Fortunately, I learned early under my strict but loving ISTJ mother that you have to at least appear to submit to a lot of rules in order to get what you want, which in my case was good grades–not to please anyone else, of course, but to prove I could do anything my older brother could. Even so, my 2nd grade report card had a note on in that said, “Liesl resents being reprimanded.” I mostly got in trouble for talking, which is what I turned to when I was bored and had nothing else to do. I could usually rip out a 500-word theme before a 50-minute class was over (a small protest against the punishment) and do my math homework while the teacher was taking it up. That’s pretty much how I got by. College was much better. I enjoyed the subject matter (mainly science). Once I got past the required courses (some of which I was allowed skip), most of the work made sense, so I could skip class and/or avoid studying without jeopardizing my grades. I only once walked in on a test I didn’t expect (made a D; ouch!), but I nearly always slipped my papers in under the profs’ doors after hours on the due date. Despite all of that–and unlike in K-12–most of my profs liked having me in class. I was a good writer and made good grades, so that helped. Not that I cared whether they liked me of course. 😉

    My brothers are ESTP and ISTP, and both struggled mightily with school’s restrictions, and despite being brilliant, never completed college. The ESTP tried several times, but ISTP didn’t last a semester. I’m surprised ESTP isn’t on the list. Both of them are hands-on learners who like to solve problems and perfect all things mechanical. The ESTP, though, wanted to major in history and teach. He probably would have been fantastic and well-loved by the kids (he was an excellent and fair Little League coach) and might have ended up running the school where he taught if he could have tolerated the restrictions and red tape. The ISTP would just walk away when he’d had enough. Neither did homework past about 8th grade. They made terrible grades but aced every standardized test they ever took. Made 28 and 30 on the ACT despite switching to vocational classes to satisfy their need to solve problems and make things with their hands. School’s loss for not being able to figure out how to challenge them and enable their talents, which are myriad.

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