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Personality Types and your learning style (Part 2...?)

Awhile ago, I created a post that talked about how one’s personality type can influence their learning styles and how understanding your traits is often helpful for learning efficiently, especially in learning languages.

Here is the link to it: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16066706

After some time of trying to readjust my learning style according to my extremely introverted personality, I came across some ideas that struck interesting to me. I realized that for people who are learning languages, your personal mode of learning preference sort of depends on your extroversion or introversion.

This claim was triggered by my observation of teaching in the academic world, like schools and colleges. Could it be that teaching is geared towards extroversion and excludes those who don’t share those traits associated with extroversion?

Well, teachers, at least in my experience, are very physical and visual in the way they teach. Also, a lot of teaching involves conversing and contributing to ideas that are brought out by the teacher, leading to discussions. All of these things lean towards those who are extroverted, and thus, extroverts gain more benefit from learning in this way. But, what about introverts? I love having deep discussions in class, but I’m typically too distant and quiet to even contribute. The same goes for language learning in schools. Verbal skills are very necessary to be successful, but for introverts, speaking amongst other people is a terrifying experience (and one that introverts must get over if they want to become fluent in a foreign language).

Before, I used the phrase “mode of learning preference”, and so I will explain what I mean. I found it interesting that introverts like to learn online because there is a sense of self-discipline and leading yourself through the information rather than being told what to do and when to do it. Introverts generally try to solve complex problems on their own and engage in interpersonal teaching. Being alone also helps this style of learning. I recognized this in me when I discovered I retained information better and gained insight through learning that was offered online more efficiently than I ever had within a classroom. The same thing goes for Duolingo, though, my classroom teaching did serve as a factor for my good experience learning French on this site. For extroverts, I assume they find it quite comfortable to practice speaking skills towards other people, which is why those people typically like using sites that involve conversing with foreigners, as well as enjoying a more public “classroom” setting. At the same time, I could see an introvert using speaking sites because it doesn’t involve facial exposure (unless you’re using Skype or face time for speaking). Personally, it’s just not my thing.

As an introvert, I am a bit obsessed with perfection, so I will spend hours and hours trying to perfect a subject (like math or science) so that I ensure I will make no mistakes when it comes to tests. So, it can be concluded that I don’t like talking to others in a foreign language unless I have reached a certain level of advancement that I’m satisfied with. Usually, I just speak to myself, which may hold true to other introverts.

I feel like extroverts like visual learning more (even though I like visual learning, too), and so they may feel inclined to connect vocab of a foreign language to real life objects (such as sticking posted notes of foreign words to household objects, as to remember them better).

In all, if you feel as if Duolingo is just not right for you or you feel you are out of place within a classroom, it could be your personality type calling the shots. Now, anyone can adapt to any learning environment, but motivation is increased when you are learning in an environment that helps you rather than inhibits you. It’s sad because most school curriculum do gear learning towards the extroverts, and introverts like me tend to feel as if there is something wrong with who we are because we are, “silent, unengaging, boring, and distant.” Duolingo has certainly, more than any other site, increased my motivation in learning French and fits my preferences in learning just right. (Just when I wrote “just right”, I had the sudden urge to sing “Just Right” by GOT7… I guess Kpoppers would understand… XD)

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this and hopefully learned more about yourself!

(I also apologize for the length of this post.)

P.S. All of the statements I made on introversion or extroversion may vary with each person. Everyone is different, so what I claim introverts enjoy more may not be what a specific introvert actually enjoys.

September 17, 2017


[deactivated user]

    If you like MBTI, there is a similar, but more detailed system called Socionics that you might want to check out. ^^


    I find this article very interesting for many reasons. I am an introvert person too and I can say I relay a lot to what you've mentionned. I learn very fast in general, for example duolingo and classes. Although, when it comes to practicing the language with exercices or discussions, it's where the classes became less efficient. I need my certain space, no noise, just the language and me (and an interlocutor at occasions). I believe that's how I pretty much learned English while being younger. I barely retained anything showed into schools, but as most of the web was in English, it forced me to learn and practice this language to understand what it had to offer (from a French Canadian native). It also gave me the chance to do it at my rythm and at more occasions, so I wouldn't learn 5-10 words a week, but I was able to learn 35-50 and practice all I've learned so far.

    Right now I am happy to have this source to practice languages, some I had from classes at college and university. After some time without practicing, I don't remember as much as I did while following them, so it's good to be back into it and learn new languages too.

    Thank you for this article and good luck with your learnings.


    I think you are just shy - being shy and introverted isn't the same. Introversion basically only means that you get your energy from being alone, reading books, watching series or whatever.


    No, I understand that they are not the same. But, I am both shy and introverted. I have this need to be alone. In a way, it replenishes me. Sorry if I made a misunderstanding!

    Also, this is what I explain when describing the learning styles that an introvert may like. Self-led teaching is something I've found great benefit in, and it has nothing to do with me being shy. It works because I'm introverted.


    Yes, in my experience, (as a teacher) your personality type does have a big influence on the best way to study.

    For example, extroverts find it easier to go to "dive in the deep end" and start speaking to others before they have learned much.

    However, introverts also have advantages. They tend to find it easier to keep on working quietly and consistently on their own even without outside recognition. Duolinguo is therefore a great way for introverts to learn.


    I find these types of things very interesting. I am definitely an extrovert, but I find that when I really want to learn something, being alone is the best way for me to do it. I can concentrate better when it's just me. I prefer learning with other people and interacting with others who are interested in whatever the subject is, but if I really want to get something down, I need to do it by myself. I'm very comfortable talking to other people and voicing my ideas, even if I barely know any of the other people, whereas an introvert would probably find that situation very uncomfortable. I've only ever learned languages solo, so I don't know if I'd prefer learning in a class (although I think I probably would), but I plan on trying it. It'll be interesting seeing how the two compare. I'd be interested if someone did a poll seeing the ratio of introverts to extroverts on Duolingo. I'm fairly certain that the introverts would outweigh the extroverts by a sizable margin, but I could be wrong.


    I'm INTJ and also have ADHD (which influences my study habits a lot) and suspected Aspergers.

    I'm a perfectionist as well, but I doubt it is because I'm introverted, more because of the TJ part of it. You might have one of those letters as well. Being introverted just means one enjoys alone time/prefer it to being with others. The complexity of problems and the perfectionism vary with each person, like you said, and are separate from intro- and extraversion and covered by the other letters of the typology.

    My introversion is just that, I'm not shy and can seem quite extroverted at times (might be my ADHD^^), I just don't need it as much and it's more exhausting to me than reading. So, basically, the introverted part makes me learn a lot by reading or watching TV in other languages. The online learning style also helps me, but it also might also be because I don't have to study it, but actually want to do it intrinsically (I love university lectures way more than classes in school, but I do like the silence around me when doing things alone. If I'm not intrinsically motivated I might have problems structuring myself though, but that is the ADHD).

    I'm also visual and need to see a word a lot to know what it should look like spelled out. Even in my native language I base a lot of my spelling on "it looks right". Don't know what covers that though, but it's part of my learning style.

    The analytical part of me likes to pull words apart, know what is the pre- or suffix that might change the meaning of the word and go into the etymology. It helps, but I also check that I don't overdo it, because it can also be confusing or hinder me from getting are more natural understanding of the language and start thinking in it.

    I do agree though that teaching is very much focused on extraversion. I sometimes got bad grades in school, because my participation was rated very low by some teachers (and sometimes made up 50% of the grade) so even though I wrote good exams I still got downgraded, just because I didn't say much and only contributed if I really thought what I was saying was important. And often remained quiet if I knew the answer, but thought it was "trivial". I think lots of teachers think that if you don't answer questions in class and don't raise your hand - you probably don't know the answer.


    I try not to lump my personal characteristics with introversion, but I suppose I see some deep-seated connections in, for example, gaining energy from solitude and preferring online schooling.

    I'm an INFJ, so one of the main characteristics about me is that being alone is a way of life, and in a way, a necessity. I spend so much time on days just thinking, thinking about complex, often useless ideas. This is certainly great in my rhetoric/research classes, but terrible in a professional communications class since I'm not the best at expressing my thoughts through spoken word.

    Though, me being incredibly shy has nothing to do with my introversion, even if it does enhance me inclination to be alone. Some traits on one's character may overlap with their actual personality type; some seem similar, but don't overlap at all.

    Like you said, much of school is focused on extroverted activities. Though, I'm not totally against that. Sometimes, people may find an introvert to be an extrovert because of their interests (generally, not everyone) in the mindsets of people and deep ideas. As a result, when talking about an interesting subject, an introvert may not seem so withdrawn within the mind. I have seen this occur in me when there's a topic that I happen to love, like psychology or neuroscience, and I find myself unable to stop speaking.

    Sorry for rambling! I really like your analysis on this. Thanks for sharing!


    You didn't ramble! Or at least not more than I did. ;) And thanks for sharing your thoughts as well, I loved reading your post!

    Being alone is a necessity for me as well. If I spend some time with people I always need a break afterwards, no matter how much of a good time I had. After that, I just need some quiet time with a book.

    I get what you mean about the complexity of topics now in relation to the time spent thinking. On the other hand, I know introverts who spend a lot of time alone and watch reality tv, don't know how that goes for complex topics. I'd put the complexity you need and want on the J, but to be honest, I know the "big five" OCEAN personality traits a lot better than the Myers-Briggs types, and there's actually a separate category for "openness to experience", which is also meant as an intellectual curiosity. Maybe I separate it from introversion so much, because there are slightly different definitions used for the models, Don't know, I will have to look it up.

    And yeees, to the subjects. I can be so withdrawn and then suddenly I can't stop talking because it's a subject that interests me. And I want to know everything about it. As you might have guessed I'm also a psychology/neuroscience nut. I'm currently studying psychology. I think that might also because of my introversion. When you're quiet you can watch interactions and appreciate the complexity of social situations. And I just always wanted to understand how we "work".

    It probably would be difficult to make school work for both introverts and extroverts at the same time. It's just the setting, I do think smaller classes could help both a bit, at least here in Germany there are about 30 people in one class and that's just too much and it takes a really good teacher to make everyone profit.


    I'm homeschooled, and I definitely think that learning more one on one is more valuable than in a class with 30 other people, who all have their own way of learning. Being homeschooled allows you to go at your own pace. I think that being a perfectionist has nothing to do with being introverted or extroverted. I'm an extrovert and definitely a perfectionist. I'm also an ENTJ. The test is scarily accurate!


    wait, so ya are saying that your learning style affects your personality?


    Well, more like the other way around. Based on your personality type (or by just using broader terms like introversion or extroversion), it could affect how you best receive, interpret, and remember information. Knowing your personality type could make learning easier for you, since you would be more aware of your strengths. I'm not a professional, so my thinking could be heavily flawed. ^ ^


    I'm INTP. No wonder it's so hard for me to get a hold of Kabardian verbs.


    One of the challenges that a language teacher faces is in knowing whether a student has learned what is being taught. We can only really know that if the student produces the language and that will be either in speaking or writing. This is a disadvantage for introverted students. The purpose of language is for communication, and most teachers try hard to provide ways for their students to communicate. For most students, this is appropriate. Again, it is a disadvantage for introverted students.

    As a teacher, I understand the suffering that some students go through in a language class, but there is not much that can be done. To be successful in a language class, the learner needs to produce language. It is the purpose of the class, and the way that it is assessed. The teacher should try to provide non-threatening speaking opportunities for the less outgoing students, but they need to produce the language they are being taught.

    If I ask a student whether he or she understands, and that student says "yes", should I believe them? Maybe. The problem with language learning is that you might think you understand something, but actually you don't. I have had this experience as a language learner many times. As a teacher, I have to be sure that the learner has actually understood. I do that by giving them an opportunity to use the language. Remaining silent may not indicate a lack of understanding, but it gives no indication that understanding has occurred.


    Yes, I'm not trying to give an excuse for introverts because they do indeed have to at least show signs that they are comprehending all that is being taught. My problem is that teachers, in my personal experience, are quite threatening in their methods of making us produce language, even though they do not intend to be threatening. That is just how things are in schools, which is why I believe teaching is geared towards a specific criteria of people.

    I don't expect curriculum to change just for introverts. Rather, I think introverts should learn how to adapt; however, it would be nice if school curriculum considered introverted students more. I have been penalized many times in classes just because I didn't speak enough in a target language. I understand that speaking is important in order for the individual and the teacher to have a greater grasp of one's advancement. In general of language learning, speaking is more than just important. Although, me always withdrawing within my thoughts and teaching myself through solitude makes it very difficult to articulate or simply demonstrate my own advancements. I don't believe there is any true way to accommodate for introverts. As you say, there is nothing that can be done. So, I guess adaptation is the only option at this point, even it it means being penalized in the process.

    Teachers only want what is best for their students, it is completely evident. They don't want them to simply know the information, but to be able to apply and gain insight from it. It is the student's job to demonstrate that knowledge as to let the teachers know that they are doing their job properly. A teacher can't know if they are doing their job if a student is always silent. As an introvert, I suppose I will have to work on that. ^ ^

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