This summer I was lucky enough to be chosen for the launch team for Anne Bogel’s book, Reading People. I’ll be honest, when I filled out the interest form, I neither knew what the book was about nor what I would have to do if I made it to the launch team. But I jumped on board because I’ve enjoyed Anne’s blog Modern Mrs. Darcy for a few years now, so I figure I’d enjoy it either way.
The Basics of the Book & How it Inspired Me
Let me start by telling you a bit about the book. Basically, it’s a survey of several of the seven major personality frameworks that are our there: Myers-Briggs, Kearsey Temperaments, The Five Love Languages, etc. If you’re like me, you’re interested in these things but maybe don’t have the time to dedicate to reading individual books about all of these methods. That’s where Reading People comes in. Anne does a great job of explaining the different personality frameworks in simple terms that we can all understand. Additionally, she gives us some clues about what to do with the information, which is a major bonus!
As I read, I couldn’t help but think of how all of this information connected to teaching. For example, as I read about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I was struck by the description of introverts. Anne explains that “Introverts bring many important qualities to the the table too. However, those qualities are more easily overlooked or underappreciated in an extroverted culture.” School is definitely a place where extroversion is the expectation, the norm. If you don’t speak up, you won’t be heard–sometimes at all. I started to question how I treated introverts in my class, and how I could serve them better.
As I read about the Strengths Finder assessment, I wondered how my students could benefit from knowing their strengths early in the year.
But why, you might ask, would you do all of these personality assessments with high schoolers? I think Anne’s explanation for why she (and the rest of us, probably) study personality sums it up perfectly: “understanding personality is like holding a good map. That map can’t take you anywhere. It doesn’t change your location; you’re still right where you were before. But the map’s purpose isn’t to move you; it’s to show you the lay of the land. It’s the tool that makes it possible for you to get where you want to go.”
Think about it: We can give our students access to this map, and as teachers, we can help them learn to navigate the map, after all, reading a map can be difficult (especially for these kiddos, who have only really studied maps on their iPhones).
So this year, I want to give my students their own maps and help them read them and navigate through life. And the best part? This map reading already fits perfectly in my hazy plans for the year.
If you’ve read my blog recently, you may have seen the post that explains my focus for the year. One of my biggest goals is creating a more relevant English classroom. To do that, I am instituting “future Fridays” where we take a time-out from our other studies to focus on things like choosing a college, getting our finances in order, learning to write decent emails, and, in light of our current topic, finding out more about ourselves.
I am also reorganizing my curriculum into thematic units, and guess what? The personality frameworks fit perfectly there, too! The overarching theme for the year is Identity, with more focused questions each 9 weeks. The first 9 weeks will be “Who am I?” (and related questions), the second will be “who are we?”, the third will be “Who do I want to be?”, and the fourth will be “How do I affect the whole?” (I can’t figure out wording on that one–but basically what is my impact on the world?). Could personality research fit better into any theme? I mean, it was meant to be, right?!
After the first full week of school, I plan to have students take the MBTI test first. I can’t wait to find out what each student’s type is. I will then have them reflect on what their type means, whether or not they feel it is accurate, and how they can use that information in the future. We will return to these reflections throughout our studies, that way we can continue to navigate our maps and figure out our directions.
I think my next test will be a free version of a Strengths Finder. I truly wish I could purchase the real version for everyone, but alas, I am not made of money, nor is my school. That’s okay though, they’ll get the general idea. Again, we will reflect on the results. This information will also be useful when it comes to building our teams and collaborating. I’d love for kids to use their strengths to build teams rather than random grouping (or other less beneficial methods).
I’d also like to have students take a version of the Language of Appreciation and then post how we all feel appreciated. Imagine a poster that shows how everyone would love to feel appreciated (I’d actually like to do this with our faculty as well, but we’ll see how that goes).
I will stress to the kids that “we all have different talents and bring different things to the table. And we are all happiest when we get to capitalize on our strengths and be appreciated for them.” Imagine the classroom community that could be built around this principal.
I plan to share my own results after each test because I think it’s really important to let kids know that we’re all in the same boat. In addition, I will share how these insights have helped me grow over the past few years. Since Anne breaks it all down so succinctly, I will probably share snippets of her explanations and reflections as well.
Beyond the first three or four weeks of school, I haven’t really figured out what’s going on, but I can already see many benefits to introducing the personality frameworks to my students. I will definitely be sharing the metaphor of the map as we study ourselves as well. Hopefully, students will see the benefits of studying their own personalities as much as I do, surely it will feed into the teenage egocentrism that abounds in a high school!
Reading People by Anne Bogel releases next month. You can go to readingpeoplebook.com to take a free quiz that will definitely pique your personality test interests! If you want to dive deeper, preorder the book (affiliate link) to get Anne’s class on the reading personalities for FREE! In addition, you can get a FREE download of the audiobook! After you order, go to readingpeoplebook.com to get let them know you preordered, and you’ll get hooked up with all the goodies! Enjoy!!
On Friday, my post will feature links to the personality tests I plan to use as well as additional books you might want to check out!