The Type One Student: The Serious Hard Worker

Motivation: to be good and correct

Focus: what's wrong (what's not as it should be)

Strategy: follow rules, standards, and principals so closely that they will meet all expectations 

  • earnest, self-discipline
  • very mature
  • uncomfortable being spontaneous, playful, emotional

Learning Style

  • attentive in class, take thorough notes
  • want to know the rules
  • learn in a logical, step by step manner
  • meticulous attention to detail

Strong Work Ethic

  • plan their studies
  • dedicated to work, delay breaks
  • great team players when everyone works hard

High Standards

  • Inner Critic points out every mistake
  • annoyed when they don't get things right
  • exaggerate the importance of small errors
  • may become perfectionistic


  • feel good when everything is in its place
  • lists, schedules, and plans
  • prefer classes calling for precision and correctness
  • notice when the teacher is off track

Communication Style

  • serious, unemotional voice
  • clear, to the point, focused on topic
  • strong convictions, morality, sometimes preachy
  • often say "I should...."

Ideal Classroom

  • values hard work, truth, fairness
  • everyone is responsible, self-disciplined, conscientious
  • rules are fair and reasonable, and consistently enforced
  • well organized and work is well planned


The Type Two Student: The People Pleasing Mentor 

Motivation: to be appreciated

Focus: other people and their needs

Strategy: earn appreciation by being kind to others


  • relationships and feelings
  • class dynamics just as important to learning process as lesson content

Learning Style

  • want emotional connection to the lesson
  • focus on people and applications
  • learn well from role models
  • connect with passionate, joyful teachers

Adapting for Approval

  • good grades
  • volunteering around school
  • track teachers' preferences and adapt to each
  • may behave very differently in different classes

Human Contact

  • mutual support in classroom community
  • connect with other students
  • group discussions, stories, shared experiences
  • may be mentors, form study groups

Communication Style

  • signs of affection, smile, eye contact
  • make others feel accepted
  • personal questions
  • generous with compliments

Ideal Classroom

  • values thoughtfulness, emotional connection
  • group work and discussion
  • positive, nurturing atmosphere
  • small classroom
  • beautifully appointed with a human touch

The Type Three Student: The Star of the Class 

Motivation: to be successful

Focus: results and achievement

Strategy: to win the esteem of others 


  • need to be the best
  • "unproductive" feelings, close friendships less important than task on hand
  • may become role models/ popular leaders

Learning Style

  • desire to improve skill and ability
  • reduce lesson to key concepts and results
  • hands-on, experiential learning
  • eager to jump into action

Driven to Excel

  • challenge themselves
  • work quickly, may cut corners to get done faster
  • need to produce and achieve all the time

Reward System

  • want to share their accomplishments
  • may brag/ show off
  • enjoy competition/ contests

Handling Failure

  • sensitive to criticism
  • keep quiet when not doing well
  • turn failure into partial success
  • avoid areas in which they know they won't excel

Communication Style

  • natural charmers
  • positive image
  • motivating, can-do attitude
  • prefer doing to talking about doing

Ideal Classroom

  • values self-improvement, competency
  • expectations clearly defined
  • visible reward system
  • hands-on, applications




The Type Four Student: The Misunderstood Creative


Motivation: to find a special and unique identity

Focus: what's missing

Strategy: withdraw from convention and get people to notice how I'm different



  • strong desire to express themselves creatively
  • proud of uniqueness
  • sometimes self-conscious about being left out
  • often seek comfort in daydreams

Learning Style

  • need personal, emotional connection to lesson content
  • wait until the mood strikes to study
  • pour their soul into their work
  • very sensitive to criticism (personal rejection)

Creative Personal Touch

  • their projects are a work of art
  • want their work to be extraordinary (not ordinary)
  • may be artistically inclined
  • turn boring work into something beautiful


  • want special, meaningful experiences
  • want each student's uniqueness recognized
  • don't want to be compared with others


  • emotional, dramatic flair
  • personally revealing
  • deep philosophical discussion
  • focus on meaning, symbolism

Ideal Classroom

  • values self-expression, creativity, emotional authenticity
  • opportunities to personalize work
  • unique ambience with meaningful decor
  • outlets to explore creativity and mood




The Type Five Student: The Intellectual Outsider


Motivation: to be competent and intelligent

Focus: what they know and do well

Strategy: withdraw from the world to study it



  • prefer spending time on their own
  • socially uncomfortable
  • prefer to observe instead of participate

Learning Style

  • learn best through observation (lecture, books)
  • comprehension before participation
  • satisfaction with full comprehension of a topic
  • analysis, finding patterns, speculation, analysis paralysis


  • enjoy time alone
  • need time to think
  • don't like pressure of close supervision, thinking on their feet

Introversion and Intrusion

  • active minds full of ideas and concepts
  • feel safe in the mind
  • feel clumsy in the outside world
  • seek to reduce intrusion of their space


  • strong ability to focus
  • hate concentration being interrupted
  • prefer depth of knowledge to breadth of knowledge

Communication Style

  • usually quiet and reserved
  • very talkative while discussing topics of great person interest (or mastery)
  • factual, unemotional
  • think lots before speaking

Ideal Classroom

  • values knowledge, originality, curiosity
  • topics are explored individually and in depth
  • ample quiet time
  • intellectual discussions





The Type Six Student: The Questioning Friend


Motivation: to be supported and secure

Focus: uncertainties, risks, dangers, the unknown

Strategy: seek guidance from those they trust



  • sometimes hardworking, responsible, loyal
  • sometimes ambivalent, doubting, unreliable
  • commitment level depends on how much they trust
  • behaviour reacts to trust and anxiety

Learning Style

  • questions, questions, questions
  • detailed, rational analysis
  • prefer structure, framework, justified rules
  • good at finding problems or deviations

In Prof We Trust

  • initially wary of teachers and their authority
  • question inconsistencies, assumptions
  • seek to understand teacher's experience, bias, preferences

Certainty and Commitment

  • uncertainty breeds anxiety, worry
  • want to observe first, get assumptions out of the way before participating
  • over-questioning leads to analysis paralysis
  • self-doubt leads to procrastination


  • gregarious and likeable
  • sceptical, cautionary, ask questions, play devil's advocate
  • "yes, but", "the problem here is..."
  • often nervous speaking in front of others

Ideal Classroom

  • values of social support, reliability, responsibility
  • atmosphere of trust
  • predictable, structured
  • questions are welcomed and answered




The Type Seven Student: The Cheerleader


Motivation: to be happy and fulfilled

Focus: the positive

Strategy: seek happiness/ excitement in the world around them



  • pump their positive energy into the classroom
  • learning is exploration and novelty
  • joking, talkative, entertaining

Learning Style

  • learn quickly
  • learn by association
  • mental exploration and experimentation
  • can jump into the middle of things without needing the big picture


  • prolific brainstormers
  • see connection between ideas
  • connections may take them on tangents
  • can synthesize disparate ideas together


  • enjoy variety
  • become distracted when things slow down
  • dislike routine, predictability
  • keep plans open-ended


  • talkative, enthusiastic
  • converse in a free association
  • nonlinear, go off on tangents

Ideal Classroom

  • values enthusiasm, spontaneity, openness
  • fast paced, dynamic, interactive
  • full of positive energy
  • free of constraints and limitations





The Type Eight Student: The Challenger


Motivation: to protect themselves and be in control

Focus: power and justice

Strategy: assert their independence



  • protect themselves
  • protect those too weak to protect themselves
  • take charge
  • test fairness of the teacher

Learning Style

  • independent, minimal supervision
  • want to get their hands dirty
  • enjoy class discussions, especially debates
  • prefer the practical to theory

Rules and Autonomy

  • rules are seen a limit to independence
  • unfair rules are challenged
  • unenforced rules "don't exist"
  • push boundaries


  • intensity makes Eights feel alive and real
  • work with energy while work is challenging
  • when bored, tend to look for trouble

The Truth

  • uncomfortable accepting new ideas passively
  • need to challenge what they learn, seek proof to back it up
  • can be change their mind if challenged by a stronger argument

Communication Style

  • direct, brutal, honest truth
  • state opinion as fact
  • hate when they can't add their opinion to class discussions
  • precocious with profanity

Ideal Classroom

  • authority, confidence, and vision
  • high engagement atmosphere of bold action
  • vigorous debates
  • fair class rules




The Type Nine Student: The Accommodating Companion


Motivation: to be at peace

Focus: other people's point of view

Strategy: deny own wants and opinions to accommodate others



  • easy-going, good-natured, well behaved students
  • go with the flow
  • cooperative, supportive
  • optimistic, seek consensus

Learning Style

  • immersion
  • experiential exercises, physical movement
  • repetition
  • routine, predictability, structure

Big Picture

  • all parts fit together in a harmonious way
  • try to relate new information into the big picture
  • sometimes hard to know which pieces are important or not


  • hard to prioritize work, it will get done when it gets done
  • low stress, little conflict
  • high energy environment can be draining
  • may take frequent breaks, tune out