Enneagram and Motivation


free enneagram test

I’ve been using the Enneagram with my grade 12 girls for almost 10 years now. I use a number of personality tests and psychology tests towards the end of their final year. The reason I do this is that:

  1. I want them to learn a little bit more about themselves before leaving their safe little world (our school) and heading out into a vast new world.
  2. I want to distract them from University entrance test hell for 90 minutes and have them enjoy USING English.

The enneagram is a good example of the vital role that motivation can play in a lesson. Of course the enneagram and its 180 questions is way above their level, so I give them the Japanese version of the test (I originally made them do it in English – way back when students would die trying rather than giving up). It now takes them 15-20 minutes to answer the questions. Once they have finished and told me their type, I give them their results. The analysis, of course, is all in English. They sit in groups with other similar types and work away at understanding (input) the type descriptions. They must then write (output) or speak (output) about what they’ve learned. They can produce a synopsis, a simplification, opinions, examples, etc.

The social interaction is absolutely hilarious because they approach the task “in character”- the perfectionists (type 1) are always the most diligent – heads down, dictionaries workin’ overtime; the adventurers (type 7) get bored quickly, but always move on to other more interesting ideas (last year they held 1000 yen notes up to the light to explore the inside of the money) ; and the peacemakers (type 9) always divide up the work and cooperate beyond belief!

For me the enneagram has been enlightening. I once thought that I was unique (long, long ago) but then came to realize that I’m very similar to about one in every nine people I meet. The implications of what I’ve learned, about myself and others around me, through the enneagram have been helpful countless times: I understand  family members, co-workers and friends much better and, hopefully, they me.

Finally, I always get positive comments from the students, and regularly hear that they’ve continued reading about it online when they got home. That makes me happy and tells me they were motivated both during the lesson and after the lesson as well. That’s pretty good.



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