Understanding Personality

Andy Gordon – Deputy Principal, Head of Junior School

Andy Gordon - Deputy Principal, Head of Junior School

Andy Gordon - Deputy Principal, Head of Junior School

In learning, in socialising, actually in all parts of life, who we are and what we do matters. Our personality type matters.

We are a long time grown up, and it is important that we take the time to let our children learn and grow in the most beautiful and appropriate ways.

We need to talk about the power that comes from understanding another person’s personality.

We all know that bullying is spoken of frequently. We know that conflict is everywhere and unavoidable. As grown-ups, we experience it everywhere and often. What I am finding is that what some people call “bullying” might be bad manners - an impolite response revealing a lack of self-awareness of how one is coming across and how one’s personality and preferences are impacting those around them.

I want to share with you the following four temperaments or personality types as discussed by Marita Littauer in her book, Wired that Way: The Comprehensive Personality Plan.

Personality Types - adapted from Maria Littauer

I was having a conversation with two students and their parents recently where there was conflict. Neither child had done anything in particular wrong, however, both children, and subsequently the parents, were experiencing conflict. Take a look at the four different temperaments: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. The two children I had in front of me had two quite different personalities. One child was more strongly defined as a ‘choleric’ personality, the other ‘melancholic’. Whilst friends for a long time, they had learned to navigate around each other quite well, however, on several occasions, they were ‘butting’ heads. The key to resolving the conflict was to help each child understand the other person’s perspective.

Eysenck's personality theoryI encourage you to take a look at the images in this post and apply the information to situations of conflict, either with yourself and adult friends, or to your children’s interactions.

There is much power that can come from seeking to understand the perspective of another person, more so than the fear of being misunderstood. I encourage our young friends to understand others and advocate for them.  

We continue to work productively to give our learners the best post-schooling options as possible. We need a solid foundation in literacy, numeracy and general knowledge of how the world works and flourishes. 

Book cover: Wired That Way, by Marita Littauer


Littauer, Marita. (2006). Wired that Way: The Comprehensive Personality Plan. Ventura, California: Regal Books. 

See also Eysenck's Personality Theory referred in the diagram above.

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