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How to be a successful English learner? Personality matters

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Have you ever wondered why some people pick up English quite quickly, while some struggle to learn even the most basic words? How to be a successful English learner?

As an English learner, I was eager to learn more and find out the answers to these questions. 

I have heard a lot of Tips on how to be a successful English learner such as:

  1. Make a learning plan
  2. Set a goal
  3. Set SMART goals
  4. Write every day
  5. Read as much as you can
  6. Watch movies with subtitles
  7. Listen to English music, audiobooks, podcasts
  8. Immerse into English  
  9. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
  10. Practice, practice, practice!

What are the qualities of a successful English learner?

  • They are proactive
  • They are organized
  • They are creative
  • They are persistent

These tips and qualities are something I completely agree with.

I also agree that many internal and external factors influence how fast people learn a new language, including motivation, age, the learning environment, etc.

But what else?

Am I missing something?

Stay with me to hear what I found out.

Are you ready to learn the secret?

All right! The secret will be revealed!

You might be surprised to hear that personality is another important factor.

Yes, personality matters!  Your personality type influences your ability to learn languages. By discovering your personality style you can be a successful English learner.

How so? – you would ask.

Here is the long story short.

I was enrolled in a college when I learned about some courses providing students with the strategies and resources to be successful English learners. 

Also, attending these classes, I’ve learned the importance of self-awareness when you want to be effective in your studies.

The first step in this step is to be aware of your own biases.

You won’t believe it but a lot of people just don’t know much about themselves.

Why is this important?

Because if you want to reach your full potential and do your best, it’s a huge advantage to know your strengths and weaknesses, preferences, and limitations.

Are you still with me? Continue reading to hear about the most important part of the process.

The first step is to discover the learner’s preferred learning style and personality type.

In this blog post, I will focus on personality type and how it relates to learning style.

How to Type Yourself?

Commonly used personality tests include David Keirsey’s Temperament Theory – Keirsey temperament sorter – a self-assessed personality test, Personality Dimensions®, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire.

This post covers two personality typing tools – David Keirsey’s Temperament Theory and its Keirsey temperament sorter – a self-assessed personality test, and the Personality Dimensions® system.


The reason I am focusing on these specific inventories is that I determined my personality type through their assessment tools and I am familiar with them.

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Additionally, I hope my knowledge about these tools, combined with my opinion and experience, will be helpful for you, dear reader, to be more effective in your studies.

Once you type yourself that will be the key to finding the most effective learning strategies, that make you a successful English learner. 

I was so excited to take my personality test!

I was so curious: What Personality Type am I?

What about you? Are you also eager to learn more about yourself?

Brilliant! Let’s we started!

David Keirsey’s Temperament Theory

picture says develop self awareness to be a successful English learner

In the course I was enrolled in, the professor started his presentation by introducing a book called Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types (first published in 1978 as Please Understand Me: An Essay on Temperament Styles)

This is a book written by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. The main focus is on the classification and categorization of personality types.

In the book, readers can find a self-assessed personality questionnaire, known as the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.

This tool links human behavioral patterns to four temperament types and sixteen character types.

Once your personality type has been determined, there are detailed profiles that describe the characteristics of that type.

What is Personality?

According to the book, personality has two sides: temperament and character.

“Temperament is a set of inclinations we are born with, while character is a set of habits we acquire as we grow and mature.

Temperament is a predisposition, hardwired from birth; character is a disposition,
developed over a lifetime.

Personality, your unique personal style, is a combination of the two.”

That sounds very interesting, isn’t it?

What are PERSONALITY STYLES?

The authors stated that this is “The total qualities that make up an individual (includes traits, temperament, and behaviors)”

Our work preferences, learning styles, and sometimes our mate selection are influenced by our personalities.

There are 4 main personality dimensions:

  • EXTRAVERTS vs INTROVERTS
  • SENSORS vs INTUITORS
  • THINKERS vs FEELERS
  • JUDGERS vs PERCEIVERS

Let’s look at them

EXTRAVERTS vs INTROVERTS

Extroverts

  • Initiates contact with others
  • Enjoys sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings
  • Enjoys working with others
  • Shows energy to the external world, often energizing others as a result

—Introverts

  • Reflects before acting
  • Blocks out the external world to concentrate
  • Uses and prefers written communication
  • Brings calm to the environment

SENSORS vs INTUITORS

—Sensors

  • Aware of the details of a situation
  • Focuses on the present
  • Figures out how to do things most efficiently – practices to get the “perfect” way to do things

—Intuitors

  • Focuses on possibilities, patterns, and connections
  • Focuses on new ways of doing things
  • Focuses on the “big picture”
  • Understands and is challenged by complex problems

THINKERS vs FEELERS

—Thinkers

  • Uses a decision-making process that focuses on analytical, cause-and-effect reasoning
  • Organizes and manipulates facts
  • Stays objective when considering data
  • Speaks concisely

—Feelers

  • Uses a decision-making process that focuses on the evaluation of the hierarchy of values
  • Focuses on the effect of decisions on people
  • Communicates a concern and understanding of people’s needs
  • Develops and maintains loyalty to particular people

JUDGERS vs PERCEIVERS

—Judgers

  • Organizes things and ideas
  • Requires that decisions be made
  • Maintains timelines
  • Seeks to control situations so that quality is maintained

—Perceivers

  • Seeks to understand life so that they can adjust and adapt to it
  • Works with a burst of energy (usually close to the deadline) and is often energized by emergencies
  • Can put work aside to play, faith that the work will get done
  • Communicates an open-minded attitude

          Hey, dear readers! How is your day going? I would love to have you on my website. It’s called English Study Helper and it is where you can find tips, strategies, and resources on how to improve your English faster and more effectively. Hope to see you there!

          THE KEIRSEY TEMPERAMENT SORTER

          What is Temperament?

          Let’s look at Collins’s Dictionary to see the definition of temperament

          It is defined as “your basic nature, especially as it is shown in how you react to situations or other people.” 

          In other words, temperament is based on what we say and what we do.

          What Dr. David Keirsey say about temperament in his book?

          He described temperament as “a configuration of observable personality traits, such as habits of communication, patterns of action, and sets of characteristic attitudes, values, and talents.

          It also encompasses personal needs, the kinds of contributions that individuals make in the workplace, and the roles they play in society.”

          According to the same book, there are four major patterns. 

          Each has its own unique qualities; values, strengths, needs, joys, and stressors. 

          Dr. David Keirsey states that knowing our own temperament preferences is important for us as individuals. It helps us understand the “why” of our behavior and the “what and how” of things that motivate us.

          I am sure it will be interesting for you, dear reader, to know that The KTS has been translated into 18 different languages and has been used by over 40 million people from 140 different countries.

          That got me thinking that this tool will be helpful for you and you would like to try it.

          Let me continue and give you some more information.

          OK! So, according to Keirsey’s Temperament Theory, four basic temperament groups describe human behavior. 

          Keirsey’s four temperaments are referred to as Artisans, Guardians, Rationals, and Idealists. 

          A screenshot from Keirsey website  showing the four temperaments
          A screenshot from Keirsey website showing the four temperaments

          These four temperaments can be further subdivided, often referred to as “Character Types”. 

          There are four types of Artisans, four types of Guardians, four types of Rationales, and four types of Idealists.

          • Artisan – Promoter, Crafter, Performer, Composer
          • Guardian – Supervisor, Inspector, Provider, Protector
          • Rational – Field marshal, Mastermind, Inventor, Architect
          • Idealist – Teacher, Counselor, Champion, Healer

          I think you are well-equipped with theory knowledge now and you want to take the test.

          This is perfect!

          Very soon you will find the answer to this exciting question “Who I am?”

           I am getting excited too!

          Ok. To take this test you have two options. 

          1. Use PDF and print it out

          This extract from the book PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME: CHARACTER & TEMPERAMENT TYPE. DAVID KEIRSEY AND MARILYN BATES 1984 will work well as you get the questions, the answer sheet, directions for scoring explanation of how to score the answers

           It is free, but there is a catch!

          You don’t have the assessment results interpretation.

          What I would advise you to do is go to the Keirsey website, find your letter combination, and read about yourself. You’ll have a blast, I promise.

          This is screenshot of Part II: Keirsey Personality Test showing the results and reflections
          This is a screenshot of Part II: Keirsey Personality Test showing the results and reflections

          2. Use the same website for a free assessment online, but you have to pay for the results.

          Did you Type yourself?

          If yes, what is your style?

          How well does your assessment describe your personality?

          Did anything surprise you?

          In what ways (if any) did it differ from your understanding of your personality?

          How will this information assist you in your English learning?

          What are the key assumptions of using personality assessments?

          • Assessments measure TRAITS, not ABILITIES!!!!
          • Assessments DO NOT tell you what you should be or how you should behave (only you make that decision)
          • Assessments are most valuable when they are used to open doors rather than limit the range of choices
          • No assessment should be used alone as a basis for career/educational/leisure choices

          As a non-native English speaker, I had some difficulties understanding some of the questions. Accurate answers are necessary for accurate results. Ask some natives to help you.

          Be sure that you’ve got the right type! This is very important!

          Once you discover your own type, you’ll have opened the door to a new level of self-understanding and self-awareness.

          I encourage you to open that door! It’s worth it!

          Personality Dimensions® system

          The development of temperament and personality theory continues with Personality Dimensions®

          According to the Personality Dimensions® website, this is the most recent development of the Personality Temperament Theory.  

          This is a screenshot of the Personality Dimensions website showing the four dimensions
          This is a screenshot of the Personality Dimensions website showing the four dimensions

          I think it will be interesting for you to know that this method is based on research conducted in Canada for more than 20 years!

          That is impressive!

          This is a new, up-to-date methodology, but at the same time, It steps on the groundwork laid by Carl Jung, David Keirsey, and Linda Berens.

          I won’t be wrong to say that hard work pays off, as the system that has been developed is helping people to “unlock their personality ” and understand who they are.

          Personality Dimensions is a tool developed by Lynda McKim, over five years.

          It is an assessment that uses:

          • a card sorted with pictures
          • short paragraphs
          • and a multiple-choice survey, to appeal to different learning styles.
          • colors
          • includes symbols
          • and descriptive names
          picture of personality dimensions to be a successful English learner

          Workshop Format:

          • PowerPoint Presentation
          • The Personality Dimensions® Participant Package
            • Includes 1 Copy of Each:
              • Personality Dimensions® Scoring Sheet
              • Introversion/Extroversion Quiz
              • Traits & Characteristics Choices
              • Personality Dimensions® PD in Action Take-Home Booklet
          • Sorting the Dimension Picture Cards/Score
          • Sorting the Life Value Cards/Score
          • Completing the Traits and Characteristics Choices/Final Score
          • The Impact of Introverted and Extraverted Tendencies
          • Forming Brightened Groups (Same Colour Groups)
          • Present Information to Larger Group
          • Closing
          • Evaluations

          The personality Dimensions system plays a significant role in raising awareness of Learning Styles.

          Personality Dimensions® uses the metaphor of colour to describe the four types of learners. Based on the Learning Style descriptors of Bernice McCarthy, these types are:

          • Authentic Blue or Type 1 – Innovative Learners
          • Inquiring Green or Type 2 – Analytic Learners
          • Organized Gold or Type 3 – Common Sense Learners
          • Resourceful Orange or Type 4 – Dynamic Learners

          Do you remember I already talked about Temperament Theory above?

          Continue reading to learn how this theory was used as a foundation for Personality Dimensions development.

          The term “Temperament Styles” was introduced by Keirsey in his seminal book Please Understand Me II (Keirsey, 1998), right?

          Let’s refresh our memory again: this publication contains in-depth descriptions of the four Temperaments: Intuitive Feeler (NF), Intuitive Thinker (NT), Sensing Judger (SJ), and Sensing Perceiver (SP).

          So what happens is Personality Dimensions® has added descriptors (as above) that reflect important aspects of each Temperament Style – Authentic Blue (NF), Inquiring Green (NT), Organized Gold (SJ), and Resourceful Orange (SP).

          Personality Dimensions® states that we are all a “blend” of the four Temperaments and, although we have a preferred Temperament Style – Core self – other Colours are available to us in varying degrees – Developed self and Contextual self (Berens, 2010).

          Personality Dimensions is a model focused on human relations and is presented as interactive workshops.

          Why is it so helpful for people who want to be successful English learners?

          The main benefit is its self-discovery process and balanced learning style delivery. 

          Additionally, the color picture card depictions of the four temperaments are designed to help participants retain the information. 

          Thus, when given this knowledge, they frequently start using it immediately.

          Break time! Let’s pause for a moment and explore my series on accelerating your English learning with ChatGPT. I believe I’ve got tips that can be helpful for any personality and learning style.

          Accelerate your language learning with ChatGPT: Step-By-Step Guide 

          BOOK successful English learner

          ChatGPT For Language Learning: Guide With A Case Study And Examples ( by a Linguist) 

          BOOK successful English learner

          How Personality Dimensions® can help you to be a successful English learner?

          Personality Dimensions® Dimension method can help you to be a successful English learner by:

          •  assist participants in recognizing their learning styles,
          •  discover their natural skills and talents.
          • validates participants for who they are and can, thereby,
          •  build self-worth – the vital component of
          • build confidence
          •  foster an understanding of others
          • building empathy and respect.
          •  lays the foundation for developing two pillars of emotional intelligence: self-awareness and awareness of others.

          Personality Dimensions® is currently being experienced in several countries around the world including Canada, USA, Mexico, Hong Kong, China, United Kingdom, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bermuda, Australia, and more!

          As a non-native English speaker, I value the Personality Dimensions method as it translates complex personality theory into everyday language. Also, I like its interactive format.

          Certified Personality Dimensions® Trainers conducted the workshops I attended.

          Thus if you don’t understand any of the questions or what you need to do as a participant they will provide further explanations and clarify how to complete the activities to obtain accurate results.

          Additionally, the tool’s beauty lies in how simple it is to use and how clear the results are. This is a great benefit for people who don’t speak English as their first language.

          How to apply this knowledge in your learning routine to be a successful English learner?

          So, now that you know what personality type you are, what can you do with this information?

          Here is what I did.

          The moment I read my typing results was one of those “aha moments” when you know you discovered something important. It was eye-opening to see how personality matters when I want to be an effective English learner.

          Once I identified my personality type and learning style, I started using that knowledge right away – in my action learning plan and daily English learning routine. Here is my learning plan.

          pictures of 4 dimensions how to be a successful English learner

          I need to mention here that we all change and evolve over time.

          So what personality or style you may fit in today may drift and totally change in a few years.

          No surprises here, right?

          We must remember that we grow and learn continuously, as do our minds and habits.

          Also, keep in mind that assessments are not a hundred percent accurate because of so many variables.

          The key is to be completely honest.

          LOTS MORE!

          If you are interested in gathering more information about your preferred type here are some more resources:

          Motivation and personality. Maslow, Abraham, New York: Harper & Row. ,1970

          Huntington Beach, Calif.: InterStrength Press, 2010. by Linda V. Berens.

          https://www.interstrength.org

          Study Helper: How To Create a Healthy Daily Routine

          Better Your Virtual Health with Effective Strategies & Maximize Productivity

          Fluency Unleashed: The Name of the Game is Consistency

          3 Great Actionable Tips for Successful English Studies   

          Unlocking Successful English Learning: Beyond Grammar and Vocabulary Rules

          5 Best Daily Morning Practices for Successful Language Learners

          Language Learning Magic: Uncover the Benefits of Swipe Files

          Powerful Techniques for Effective Language Learning: Quick & Lasting Results

          From Procrastinator to Achiever: Proven Strategies to Boost Productivity

          Study Habits That Hinder Your English Progress & Proven Solutions

          7 Admirable Qualities Of a Highly Successful English Learner

          Conclusion: How to be a successful English learner? Personality matters.

          In conclusion, I could say that Personality Typing is a great starting point for understanding your preferences and behaviors better.

          I wrote this article to give you a little insight into getting the most out of English learning based on your Personality Type.

          There are many personality typing tools to help you determine your personality and learning preferences in particular.

          This blog post focuses on two personality profiling tools that you can use to discover your personality type:

          Personality Temperament Theory has been introduced by David Keirsey. In his seminal book Please Understand Me II. He gives in-depth descriptions of the four Temperaments: Intuitive Feeler (NF), Intuitive Thinker (NT), Sensing Judger (SJ), and Sensing Perceiver (SP)

          In the book, you, dear readers can find a self-assessed personality questionnaire, known as the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. This tool links human behavioral patterns to four temperament types and sixteen character types.

           The Personality Dimensions® system further develops the Personality Temperament Theory into a fresh, modern, up-to-date system to help you “unlock your personality ” and understand who you are. It has an interactive format through workshops.

          It is an assessment that uses a card sort with pictures, short paragraphs, and a multiple-choice survey, to appeal to different learning styles.

          The four Dimensions are Authentic BlueInquiring Green,  Organized Gold, Resourceful Orange

          Once you identify your personality type and learning style you can start using that knowledge right away – in your action learning plan and in your daily English learning routine. Like I did.

          I would love to hear if you know your personality type or learning style and if you have used any of the above-mentioned assessments. Remember, personality matters!

          I hope you found this all interesting. I hope that discovering your personality type will help you make better choices that enable you to learn a language quicker and be a successful English learner.

          Good luck!

          Thanks for reading!

          With love and respect,

          MK

          .

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