Thursday, March 22, 2007

Knowledge of Self: Personality

I teach a seminar using Web Enhanced Language Learning. One type of activity that I have students do is to use the internet to develop self-awareness, global awareness, and media awareness. In the self-awareness modules, I have students complete online surveys which will help them become aware of their learning style, personality type, and career interest or occupational aptitude. They do some discussion questions with a partner, preview some vocabulary from the survey, and then complete online surveys. Sometimes, as with the Career Interest Survey, there are some media such as short movies introducing various professions. Usually there is text, something to read. They have to speak, asking questions and listening to their partners, read and understand the online surveys, answer them, read the results, and write up their findings and reflections at the end.

The test I like best at this time is the HumanMetrics Jungian Myers-Briggs Typology Test. 72 yes-no questions will give you a result as one of the 16 types. I am INTP, but not consistently. If I vary the replies which I feel especially indecisive about, (INTPs are notoriously indecisive and probabilistic) I have come up with INFP and INTJ on occasion. These average out to INTP anyway. HumanMetrics' site will link to Keirsey, TypeLogic, and career choices, which in my case were teaching, natural science, computer programming, engineering, law, and librarian. I found other seemingly unique descriptions of INTP at lifexplore, the metaphysicalzone, and advisorteam. is a good site for learning about the Myers-Briggs personality types, but their test began to cost money. Last time I checked it was still free if you take one of the non-English language versions.

I always try to provide alternative links for a few reasons. One reason is that links disappear or become paid services or services requiring registration. Another reason is that taking multiple tests gives students multiple results, and lets them see the flaws and differences in the tests, gives them a stereoscopic view from a different perspective. This forces them to think more critically and process the divergent results. Even just taking the tests on different days sometimes gives different results. Still another reason is to give faster students something extra to do.

As an alternative, the BIG 5 test by U. C. Berkeley psychologist Oliver D. John, Ph.D., has 48 questions to score on a 5-point scale.

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