The Extraverted Thinking Personality Type: An Introduction

Curriculum strategies designed to engage and inspire a predominantly extraverted thinking class.

By Jen Lilienstein

The mindset of an extraverted thinking student

The real key to why personality type is as important in learning as it is in adult life, is grounded in affectivity. As brain-based educators have been saying for decades, affective education is effective education. And just as we are all attracted to people with different types of personalities as spouses and friends, different types of personalities will get "turned on" by different types of lesson plans. It’s the likely reason why a lesson plan was a smashing success with your class one year and was a flop the following year, despite following the identical plan to the letter. 

Instruction Content for Extraverted Thinkers


  • Consistently focused on black-and-white, logical answers, extraverted-thinking classes come alive when the instructor focuses on analysis, critique, and flaw-finding.
  • Tying competition and debate into lesson plans will quickly grab extraverted thinkers, as will lessons that “take very seriously facts, theories, and the discovery of truth (Lawrence 1996).”
  • Create materials that show a learning pathway at the outset of each curriculum unit—where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and how long it will take (Lawrence 1996).
  • If you can create a board in the room that shows the steps toward the learning goal and where the class stands now on the learning pathway, this type of class will love it.
  • Initiate problem-based learning experiences that challenge student thinking and encourages them to investigate and analyze multiple solutions to a problem. Then, evaluate the most efficient or effective solution.

Process and Techniques for Extraverted Thinkers                                                                                     

As with all extraverted personality types, these pupils learn most effectively when they have an ability to think out loud. Therefore, these learners will relish as many opportunities you can provide to think-pair-share or implement group learning.

It is extremely important that the teacher in an extraverted-thinking classroom is perceived as being objective, fair, and someone who both holds fast to rules and enforces consequences.

Because extraverted-thinking scholars tend to be more truthful than tactful, they may hurt other kids’ feelings without realizing it. They may often forget that emotion is a vital aspect of many equations, particularly in group learning environments. Focusing on techniques that can help these learners remember how to listen with understanding and empathy will pay huge dividends not only in your classroom, but in the rest of their schooling.

Use a Mnemonic with Extraverted Thinkers

  • A: Pay ATTENTION to what the other person says
  • E: Key into the EMOTION behind what others are saying
  • I: Add words plus emotions to reveal the other person's ISSUE
  • O: OFFER a solution. If the other person agrees to the solution
  • U: Speak your UNDERSTANDING of how you will move forward.

Repeat A-E-I-O-U until you’re both on the same page.

Lesson Level Matters for Extraverted Thinkers

  • Particularly when you are working with extraverted-thinking classes, it’s important to pay close attention to the lesson level. Create ability-based challenged pairs, instead of full-classroom competitions, as much as possible. 
  • Pairs create mini-competitions which will motivate your extraverted thinkers to achieve reachable goals, but they are less likely to get discouraged by not being able to win and give up trying (Kise 2007).
  • Create timed competitions where the goal is percent improvement versus time. For instance, a math worksheet competition that Student A completed in 3 minutes 15 seconds before and 3 minutes this time—an 8% improvement—would beat Student B, who completed the work in 2 minutes 20 seconds before and 2 minutes and 15 seconds this time—a 4% improvement.

Constructive Critique is Necessary for Extraverted Thinkers                                                                   

For thinking personality types—both introverted and extraverted—general feedback like “good job,” “I like this,” or a letter grade is not enough. These individuals want to know precisely what they did right and wrong. When grading essays for extraverted thinkers, be sure to be crystal clear as to how they either outperformed or didn’t achieve the standard (Murphy 2008).

Grading rubrics are really helpful when working with this personality type. Think about how you can make your rubrics learner-friendly and distribute them to the class at the beginning of the school year. This will provide your extraverted thinkers with well-defined expectations for assignments so that they know exactly how to meet the lesson objectives as quickly as possible.

Types of Lessons Extraverted Thinkers Would Enjoy:

Freeze Pops

Scholars use prior knowledge of the states of matter to devise different ways to keep a frozen juice bar from melting. Groups must locate, interpret, evaluate, and apply concepts and ideas found in literature, the arts, symbols, recordings, video and computer files in order to perform the task.

Nursery Rhyme Word Problems

Collaborative groups use a slide show program to present original word problems to their peers, basing the scenarios on familiar nursery rhymes. Learners discuss the elements of an effective word problem before creating one of their own. The rest of the class ultimately has to correctly solve each group’s word problem.

Decimals Decide Olympic Champions

Pupils learn how a decimal can be the difference between a medal and just participating in the Olympic games. They will learn and demonstrate through the use of manipulatives why decimal places up to the thousands place can help compare and contrast data.

Neighborhoods of Make Believe

Scholars evaluate the features that make a good children’s television show, and then create a pitch for a new children’s television show based on the criteria. They also evaluate a current children’s television show based on the criteria generated and discussed in class.

Specialization and Division of Labor

How and why specialization can lead to increased production. This lesson develops scholars’ appreciation of why an economy in which people specialize and trade voluntarily with one another results in higher overall levels of production and consumption.

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For a free tool to help determine the personality types of your individual pupils and/or your class as a whole.


Kise, Jane. 2007. “Differentiation Through Personality Types.”

Lawrence, Gordon. 1996. "People Types and Tiger Stripes."

Murphy, Elizabeth. 2008. "The Chemistry of Personality: A Guide to Teacher-Student Interaction in the Classroom."