The Extraverted Sensing Personality Type: An Introduction

Curriculum approaches and techniques that tantalize extraverted sensors.

By Jen Lilienstein


Personality type helps form the framework by which your students interpret the world around them. In the old fable of the blind men and the elephant, the blind men all initially “saw” the elephant in different ways. In your classroom, core concepts are like the elephant, while student temperament types are like the blind men—they each approach new understanding in different ways. While your learners will each need to eventually come to understand the whole elephant, if you start off “teaching from the trunk” when the student is coming from the ear, you may lose the learner with a description of a metaphorical snake versus a fan.

Instruction Content

Consistently focused on sensory-based learning, extraverted-sensing pupils come alive when an instructor focuses on what is tangible. Tying practicality and usefulness into lesson plans will most effectively pique the interest of Extraverted Sensors. “When their purpose becomes unclear or when the details become complicated, sensors often get frustrated (Silver, Strong and Perini 2000).”

Create experiential learning experiences that capitalize on these students’ innate abilities to objectively gather data. As with all perceivers, these kids will appreciate the variety, novelty, and spontaneity in the school day. If you’ve got an extraverted-sensing class, try to break up routine as much as possible, as these scholars tend to live by the mantra, “variety is the spice of life.”

Process and Techniques

Develop curriculum that allow these pupils to go with the flow and react to new understandings rather than telling them at the beginning where you’re going or how you’re going to get there. If you can create a board in the room that shows what you know so far and add new discoveries to the display as you unearth them together, this class will love it.

As with all extraverted types, these pupils learn most effectively when they have an ability to think out loud, so be sure to provide opportunities to interact with each other—particularly in contexts that allow them to flex their strengths in practical, hands-on learning applications that also allow them to interact with an environment.

Whenever possible, show what a completed project should look like, use concrete resources like manipulatives, or demonstrate a process or technique prior to having the students attempt it, and “use textbooks as the support for the lessons, not as the center of lessons (Lawrence 1997).”

Because extraverted-sensing pupils are so social and eager to interact with and soak up new cultures, creating online relationships with classes in other states or countries can be tremendously engaging. It’s incredibly important that the teacher in an extraverted-sensing classroom weaves together work with play as much as possible.

Work Product

While your extraverted-sensing scholars seem to soak in every detail of their immediate environment, this tendency to live in the moment means that these kids “can be prone to repeating mistakes by failing to anticipate what is going to happen in the future as a consequence of what is happening now (Haas and Hunziker 2006).”

When you send homework home with an extraverted-sensing child, be certain to do so with very clear goals and precise instructions for the assignment or, ideally, a video link to which they can refer.

For all sensing personality types—both introverted and extraverted—start with the known facts, then move into analysis and synthesis—in the order suggested by Blooms Taxonomy.

For a free tool to help determine the personality types of your individual pupils and class as a whole, click here.

Types of Lessons Extraverted Sensors Would Enjoy

Let’s Talk About Painting

Learners recognize that there are different styles of art, each with its own techniques.  Simple techniques are used to understand art. Pupils work at stations to complete a style of art.

Castles and Cornerstones

Pupils become familiar with the style of architecture of medieval times. They design and build a model of a medieval castle including its cornerstone, through which they come to understand mathematical scale.

Chinese Shadow Puppets

Scholars explore Chinese culture and language arts by performing a shadow puppet play. They create the puppets, develop a script, and rehearse and perform a play which illustrates an understanding of Chinese stories and traditions.

The First Thanksgiving

Young scholars research historical information about the Mayflower, Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony, the Wampanoags, and the first Thanksgiving. They take an online tour of the Mayflower, interpret timelines, create a postcard, and compare and contrast the life of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags Indian tribe.

The Watershed Quest

Scholars examine their connection to local watersheds. They describe the water cycle and list species living in their local watershed. They also draw a map of their community.


Silver, Harvey F., Strong, Richard W., and Perini, Matthew J. 2000. “So Each May Learn.” 22-23.

Lawrence, Gordon. 1997. “Looking at Type and Learning Styles.” 16.

Haas, Leona, and Hunziker, Mark. 2006. “Building Blocks of Personality Type.” 33-41.