Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, No.1, 16-23
Published Online February 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Program Selection among Pre-Service Teachers:
MBTI Profiles within a College of Education
Stephen Rushton, Jenni Menon Mariano, Tary L. Wallace
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota, USA
Received October 8th, 2011; revised November 7th, 2011; accepted November 20th, 2011
This study examined the relationship College of Education programs selected by pre-service teachers and
their personality traits. Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 368, pre-service teachers in 5 dif-
ferent programs were assessed. Twenty-eight percent of Elementary program students favored the Sensing,
Feeling, Judging typology with a mental function SF. While ECE pre-service students were inclined to-
ward Sensing, Feeling and Judging (SFJ) typology they also favored Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling,
Judging (ENFJ). Alternatively, Special Education pre-service students preferred Introversion, Intuition,
Thinking, and Judging (INTJ). Graduate students in the Education Leadership program had a strong pref-
erence for Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking and Judging (ESTJ), while students in the Masters of Arts in
Teaching program had no significant type. These findings suggest that at least four groups of teacher
education students self-select to a particular program depending upon their type. Implications for the re-
sults for teacher-training are discussed.
Keywords: Personality; Myers-Briggs; Pre-Service Students; College of Education
Research studies have identified correlations between teacher
effectiveness and student achievement (e.g., Copple & Brede-
kamp, 2010; Darling-Hammond, 1999; Rivkin, Hanushek, &
Kain, 2005; Rockoff, 2004; Sanders & Horn, 1995). Although
these studies demonstrate some mixed findings, correlations
were found to exist between student achievement and, teachers’
dispositions, articulation and classroom management skills,
content matter preparation, and the number of years of teaching.
In each of their own ways, these factors contribute to teacher
effectiveness and greater student learning. The importance of
the classroom teacher for enhancing student achievement was
highlighted by Sanders and Horn (1998) using the Tennessee
Value-Added Assessment System and later replicated using
databases from Dallas, Texas. In summary, studies find teach-
ing effectiveness to be a major determinant of student learning.
It appears as though students who are assigned to ineffective
teachers have significantly lower gains in achievement com-
pared to those students assigned to highly effective teachers
(Sanders & Rivers, 1996, p. 21).
But what makes for a highly effective teacher? Certainly, as
Brandsford & Darling-Hammond (2006) note, teaching effec-
tiveness can be enhanced through improved teacher education,
certification status, and years of experience. However, in this
paper, we examine the personality traits that student teachers
bring to their programs before they set out on any formal train-
ing. Knowledge of students’ personality traits is important for
Studies over the past forty years relating to teachers’ person-
ality traits have produced generally positive results (Rushton,
Jackson, & Richard, 2007). However, there is consistent evi-
dence that a positive relationship exists between student learn-
ing and teachers who display such strengths as flexibility, crea-
tivity and adaptability (Berliner & Biddle, 1995; Rushton Smith
& Knoop, 2006). Results of one study demonstrated that edu-
cators awarded the honor of “Teacher of the Year” by their
school boards were viewed as being perceptive, open to new
ideas, intuitive, and embodying a range of teaching strategies
and interactive styles (Rushton et al., 2006). These findings are
consistent with other research on effective teaching, suggesting
successful teachers are able to adjust their teaching to suit the
varying needs of different students and the demands of different
instructional goals, topics and methods (Marzano, Pickering, &
Pollock, 2001).
In this paper we will explore the Myers-Briggs “Types” of
students entering one College of Education (COE). Our purpose
was to determine how pre-service teachers’ personality traits
differ by their choice of program. We first provide a context for
the study by reviewing the relevant research on psychological
type theory and its application to career choices and the field of
education. We then discuss our methodology and findings and
conclude with a discussion of the implications of this study in
the broader context of teacher preparation.
Psychological Type The or y
Psychological type theory has been found to support the
connection between individual differences in personality pro-
files and particular professional career choices. Rooted in the
work of Jung (1971), the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
is a 166 item self-report inventory (G Form) based on four bi-
polar dimensions. Each scale represents a continuum of a par-
ticular trait. Once scored, a four-by-four matrix describes 16
individual Type s, each differentiated with unique characteristics
and understanding of how: 1) we are either oriented to the outer
world of people, or, are oriented internally by ideas, thoughts
and feelings (Extraversion-Introversion); 2) we either gather
information from the world around us using our five senses, or
understand the world from a more intuitive self (Sensing-Intui-
tion); 3) we make decisions based on global impersonal truths
or the feelings and values of others (Thinking- Feeling); and 4)
we either connect with the outside world through a more highly
organized and decisive manner, or, are open to seeing what
life’s events brings us (Judging-Perceiving). In summary, the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator reveals a person’s psychological
preference for consistency and enduring patterns of how the
world is viewed, how information is collected and interpreted,
how decisions are made, and how individuals interact with the
world (Rushton et al., 2007, p. 433).
Kent and Fisher (1997) indicate that the MBTI is uniquely
suited to applications in teaching and learning in the field of
education when examining personality self-description. Martin
(1997) postulates that each of the four preferences “interact(s)
in dynamic and complex ways that can tell you much about
who you are and how you approach the world” (p. 7). Fairhurst
and Fairhurst (1995) suggest that understanding one’s own
personality Type is an important part of the student teacher learn-
ing process. They indicate that understanding the difference
between the teacher’s own personality characteristics and their
students’ personality can be beneficial when attempting to im-
prove students’ learning and achievement scores.
Although criticisms have been made by Costa and McRae
(1982) and others that the four MBTI measure four of the five
major dimensions of the Five-Factor Model, McCrae and Costa
(1989) concluded “that the results are generalizable from the
FFI to the MBTI within a broader, more commonly shared
conceptual framework” (p. 17). Until recently, no study using
the Five Factor model has been completed on student teachers’
personality traits. Decker and Rimm-Kaufman (2005), however,
did view the beliefs of 379 pre-service students at the Univer-
sity of Virginia regarding teaching and concluded that those
individuals who reported themselves as being “open and/or less
conscientious” were more likely to be concerned with their
student’s sense of autonomy and not as concerned with main-
taining classroom discipline.
Myers-Briggs and Te a cher Educa tion
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been used extensively
in recent years in the field of education. Rushton et al. (2006;
2007) examined quality teachers as defined as those exceptional
educators who had been awarded either Teacher of the Year
and/or were members of the “Florida League of Teachers.”
Both groups of teachers had higher scores on the Extraverted,
Intuitive, Feelings and Perceivers types (ENFP). This countered
Lawrence’s pioneering work (1979, 2009), in which he exam-
ined more than 5000 American teachers and discovered that
their modal type was ESFJ. ESFJ types tend to be patient, loyal
and highly dedicated. They are not noted for their originality or
willingness to be risk-takers. They are not necessarily creative
teachers, preferring to follow the establishment, keep order and
maintain a sense of warmth. The ENFP Teacher of the Year
profile suggests someone who is outgoing, enjoys connecting
with people, is intuitive, flexible, open-minded, and often looking
for ways to improve the system. Lawrence’s (1979) original
work unfortunately did not consider the grade level or the par-
ticular program that the teachers had graduated from (i.e., Ele-
mentary Education, Special Education, Early Childhood Edu-
caiton, Educational Leadership etc.).
Others purported that close to 50% of elementary teachers
they examined had a preference for both Sensing (S) and Judg-
ing (J). They also noted that there was a higher preference for
the SF characteristics, leaning toward the ISFJ elementary edu-
cation profile (Macdaid, McCaulley, & Kainz, 1986). Sears,
Kennedy, Kaye, & Gail (1997) explored differences in elemen-
tary and high school pre-service teachers. After examining
1281 teachers, they noted that although both groups had pref-
erences toward SFJ, high-school pre-service teachers leaned
toward Extraversion (E) and the elementary pre-service educa-
tors had a tendency toward introversion (I).
Other work in education using the MBTI has been concerned
with the exploration of how the pre-service mentor relationship
can be enhanced (Grindler & Straton, 1990; Sprague, 1997),
how the classroom learning environment is configured depend-
ing upon the Myers-Briggs typology (Meisgeier & Richardson,
1996), and the effect of teachers’ specific teaching styles on
students’ learning styles (Fairhurst & Fairhurst, 1995; Pankra-
tius, 1997).
This study examines the Myers-Briggs Types of pre-service
teachers entering five different programs within one college of
education. It thereby by implication sought to learn about these
students’ personality characteristics as measured by the MBTI.
Through this case study we sought to gain a greater under-
standing of the personalities of students who are attracted to
different programs and to thereby identify the strengths and
needs of students in this one college. The question addressed is,
are there differences in the Types (MBTI) of students entering:
1) early childhood education; 2) elementary education; 3) spe-
cial education; 4) educational leadership; and 5) Master of Arts
teaching certification programs? In considering the results, we
then discuss implication of these findings for the strengths and
weakness of a particular student Type attending different pro-
Participants were 368 students drawn from five different pro-
gram areas at a college of education in a small university in the
southeastern United States. All students were asked to volun-
teer their time to complete the 166 forced choice items on the
MBTI Form G. The undergraduate students pursuing degrees
fell into one of five categories: 1) early childhood education
(8.9%; n = 33); 2) the elementary education program (37.2%; n
= 137), and 3) the special education program (11.4%; n = 42).
The graduate students were enrolled in either the educational
leadership program (10%; n = 37) or in a consecutive Masters
of Arts in Teaching certification program (32.3%; n = 119).
Undergraduate participants ranged in age between approxi-
mately 21 and 45 years with most between the ages of 21 and
29 years. The groups were predominately female (97%) and
White (98%) with English as their home language (98%).
Procedure and Measures
Based on Jungian psychological principles, the Myers Briggs
Type Inventory (MBTI) is a self-report assessment, which
measure four aspects of an individual’s personality along four
bi-polar dimensions. The dimensions indicate preferences as to
how the world is viewed, how information is collected and
interpreted, how decisions are made, and how lifestyle choices
are lived out (Martin, 1997). The scales are: Extraversion ver-
sus Introversion, Sensing versus Intuition, Thinking versus
Feeling, and Judging versus Perceiving. Each function pair (i.e.,
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 17
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
I-E) is continuous in nature and although an individual may
score toward one end of the scale this does not preclude them
from acting in ways that support the opposite mental function.
There are, therefore, 16 possible combinations of the four di-
mensions that represent different personality inclinations. Di-
mensions can be further delineated into functions pairs sensing
and thinking (ST), sensing and feeling (SF), intuition and feel-
ing (NF), and intuition and thinking (NT). As reported in a
meta-analytic reliability generalization study on the MBTI by
Capraro & Capraro (2005), test-retest and internal consistency
reliability estimates are described as acceptable to strong across
studies, and have varied by context. The mean Cronbach alpha
coefficient for the full scale across the studies they reviewed
is .816 (SD = .082), while the mean test-retest reliability coeffi-
cient is .813 (SD = .098). Construct validity of the MBTI has
been studied by Devito (1985) and by Myers and McCauley
(1989), who found correlations among MBTI ratings, self-as-
sessment of participants’ own MBTI type, and behaviors reflec-
tive of MBTI constructs. Factor analysis conducted on the
MBTI by Thompson and Borrello (1986) show discrete factors.
educational leadership students) to give a presentation on Type
Theory. All students, after completing the questionnaire, were
given a 3-hour seminar on Type Theory and classroom prac-
Analyses and Results
The MBTI results were analyzed using PASW 18.0 and
Quantitative Skills statistical software. The data included the
frequency and percentages of responses for the full sample (N =
368) and by each program for each MBTI main type (of 16
possible types), for each sub type function pairs (ST, SF, NF or
NT), and for Extraversion or Introversion sub-type. A set of χ²
tests of independence generated were examined differences in
participants’ main MBTI types by program, mental cognitive
sub-types by program, and extraversion/introversion sub-types
by program.
Seven of the tests of main MBTI type by program were sig-
nificant: ISTP (χ² = 18.831, p = .001), ESTJ (χ² = 23.292, p
= .000), ISFJ (χ = 19.324, p = .001), ESFJ (χ² = 10.498, p
= .033), ENFJ (χ² = 10.861, p = .028), INTJ (χ² = 37.096, p
= .000), ENTJ (χ² = 12.343, p = .015). Three of the mental cog-
nition type-by-program tests were significant: ST (Sensing/
Thinking (χ² = 24.598, p = .000)1, SF (Sensing/Feeling χ² =
22.912, p = .000), NT (Intuiting/Thinking χ² = 15.627, p = .004)
(see Table 1). There were no program differences by extraver-
Over the past 6 years the MBTI was often administered as
part of the course content. Specifically, as part of a classroom
management course, all students were asked to take the MBTI
as part of the course content. In those cases where students were
not enrolled in courses taught by the instructors, other faculty
would approach us, as in the case with the special education
students, or we approached them (i.e., as in the case with the
Table 1.
Percent of MBTI main types and sub-types by program samples.
Eled Spec Edld Echd Mat
N = 137 N = 42 N = 37 N = 33 N = 119
of full sample
ISTJ 4.37 2.38 16.22 0.00 3.36 4.62
ISTP** 0.72 9.53 0.00 9.09 0.84 2.45
ESTP 0.72 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.68 0.82
ESTJ*** 1.46 19.04 16.22 0.00 8.40 7.07
ISFJ** 20.44 4.76 0.00 27.28 10.93 14.13
ISFP 2.92 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.08
ESFP 4.37 9.53 8.10 9.09 10.93 7.88
ESFJ* 18.97 9.53 0.00 9.09 15.97 14.13
INFJ 6.56 7.14 0.00 9.09 5.04 5.71
INFP 2.92 0.00 0.00 0.00 7.56 3.53
ENFP 13.86 2.38 16.22 9.09 13.45 12.23
ENFJ* 13.13 7.14 13.51 18.18 3.36 9.78
INTJ*** 0.72 21.43 0.00 0.00 5.04 4.35
INTP 2.92 0.00 10.81 0.00 2.52 2.98
ENTP 2.19 4.76 0.00 0.00 1.68 1.90
ENTJ* 3.64 2.38 18.92 9.09 9.24 7.34
Total 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
E 58.39 54.76 72.97 54.55 64.71 68.14
I 41.61 45.24 27.03 45.45 35.29 38.86
Total 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
ST** 7.30 30.95 32.43 9.09 14.28 14.94
SF*** 46.72 23.81 8.11 45.46 37.81 37.23
NF 36.49 16.67 29.73 36.36 29.42 31.25
NT** 9.49 28.57 29.73 9.09 18.49 16.58
Total 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.000 100.00 100.00
Note: Eled = Elementary Education. Spec = Special Education. Edld = Educational Leadership. Echd = Early Childhood Education. Mat =
Master of Arts in Teaching. ST = Sensing/Thinking. SF = Sensing/Feeling. NF = Intuition/Feeling. NT = Intuition/Thinking. E = Extrovert.
I = Introvert. Statistics are percentage of program sample unless otherwise specified. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
1Some researchers may prefer exact tests over chi-square in some of these analyses. Simulation studies show that chi-square performs well regardless of the
observed frequency however (Roscoe & Byars, 1971), and our study does not fulfill the assumption of fixed marginal values used by the exact tests. For the
reader’s interest however, exact tests did not change the interpretation of the results. df = 4, N = 368.
Post-Hoc Analyses
Where χ² tests were significant, a “stopping procedure” (Mar-
kowski & Markowski, 2009) was used to test the relative con-
tribution of each program to the χ² statistic for each type. In this
method, the independent variables (in this case, program type)
are manually removed (i.e., by conducting a new test without
that variable) one by one, beginning with the variable with the
largest differences between observed and expected counts.2 As
each largest-contributing variable is removed, the χ² statistic is
re-examined. The procedure is complete when the final itera-
tion shows no significant χ² statistic. Remaining variables are
therefore not significant contributors to the model. This method
is an objective way of identifying cells that are important for
further analysis (Markowski & Markowski, 2009). Tables 2
and 3 show iterations for the significant tests. Our interpretation
of results utilizes Bonferroni adjustments to control for the risk
of Type I error.
The first theoretically interesting finding is that more than
twenty-eight percent of participants in the full (N = 368) sample
were allocated to either ISFJ (14.13%) or ESFJ (14.13%) main
types—a finding that supports conclusions about the prefer-
ences of the typical profile of American school teachers (Law-
rence, 1979, 2009; Macdaid et al., 1986; and Sears et al., 1997).
The post-hoc tests confirmed this trend. Students enrolled in
the elementary education program contributed most to the ISFJ
type and the ESFJ type (28.26%). We found that when the other
group of teachers of younger children (the early childhood
education majors) were also removed from the model for ISFJ,
it was no longer significant.
Another interesting finding, however, is that early childhood
education and elementary education majors also contributed
most to the ENFJ type preference. No other research was found
on Early Childhood pre-service teachers with which to compare
these findings.
A third interesting finding is what appears to be diversity
among special education majors and educational leadership
majors for MBTI preferences across personality quadrants. In
one case, special education majors grouped with early child-
hood majors in contributing to an ISTP chi-square model—or a
preference for that type. In another instance, we found special
education majors preferring the ESTJ type in a model with
educational leadership students. In a third instance, special
education majors were the only group to contribute positively,
and significantly, to the INTJ preference type (Table 2). This
last finding supports a similar finding by Mills (2003) who
examined 63 gifted teachers and found the majority of them to
have NT as their primary mental functions. In contrast, educa-
tional leadership majors are distinguished, along with special
education students, by significant contribution to the ESTJ type
model in the current sample. Alternately, however, they also
had the largest contribution to the ENTJ type (Table 2).
Table 2.
Chi-square models (main MBTI type X program).
Iteration 1 2 1 2 3 1 2
Eled Eled Eled Eled Eled Eled Spec
–1.3 –.08 –2.5 –2.0 –3.7 8.6 –2.4
Spec Edld Spec Edld Echd Spec Edld
2.9 –.08 2.9 2.8 –1.2 –3.9 –3.8
Edld Echd Edld Echd Mat Edld Echd
–1.0 3.5 2.1 –1.3 5.1 –5.2 5.6
Echd Mat Echd Mat Echd Mat
2.5 –.08 –1.5 1.3 4.3 0.6
Mat Mat Mat
–1.1 0.5 –3.8
df, n 4, 368 3, 326 4, 368 3, 326 2, 289 4, 368 3, 231
χ² 18.831 14.021 23.292 16.268 9.329 19.324 15.585
p .002 .003 .000 .001 .009 .001 .001
Iteration 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2
Eled Spec Eled Eled Eled Eled Eled Eled
1.5 –.3 1.3 5.7 –2.0 –1.1 –1.6 –1.1
Spec Spec Spec Spec Spec Spec
–.08 –2.0 –.05 –.8 5.3 –.9 –1.2 –1.0
Edld Echd Edld Edld Edld Echd Edld Echd
–2.3 –.4 .7 1.7 –1.3 –.8 2.6 0.7
Echd Mat Echd Mat Echd Mat Echd Mat
–.08 1.5 1.5 –6.7 –1.2 2.2 .4 1.4
Mat Mat Mat Mat
.05 –2.2 .4 .8
df, n – 3, 231 4, 368 3, 335 4, 368 3, 326 4, 368 3, 331
χ² 10.498 7.618 10.861 8.620 37.096 7.592 12.343 5.062
p .033 .055 .028 .035 .000 .055 .015 .167
Note: Standardized residuals are below program variables, and indicate the extent to which each program contribute to the model. p is initially significant
at .05 level and at .025 and at .016 levels for second and third iterations, respectively. Eled = Elementary Education. Spec = Special Education. Edld =
Educational Leadership; Echd = Early Childhood Education. Mat = Master of Arts in Teaching.
2In this case we used standardized residuals.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 19
Analysis of mental cognition sub-types shows that special
education was the major contributor to the NT (Intuiting/Think-
ing) chi-square model, and grouped together with educational
leadership students under ST (Sensing/Thinking) (see Table 3).
The other three programs contributed to the SF (Sensing/Feel-
ing) model.
These findings suggest that three separate groups of teacher
education students self-select to a particular program depending
upon their Type. The largest group of students chose elemen-
tary education and scored higher on the Introverted, Sensing,
Feeling and Judging (ISFJ) scales with the mental functions
being SF. Those students who were more interested in working
in special education in general scored higher on the Introverted,
Intuitive, Thinking and Judging scales (INTJ) and had mental
functions of NT. Further, the education leadership candidates
leaned toward the Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging
(ESTJ) Myers-Brigg’s typology and preferred Sensing-Think-
ing (ST) as their dominant mental functions, with Intuitive
Thinking (NT) as a close second. Finally, the scores for the
Early Childhood pre-service candidates suggest a preference for
the Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging (ENFJ) as well
as the ISFJ shared with the elementary education students.
Early childhood teachers have their own unique mental func-
tions (NF). The four different groups of students in education
resulted in four different typologies. Interestingly, the Masters
of Arts in Teaching students that is, graduates whose first de-
gree were in a separate program and then later decided to be-
come a teacher, showed type preference but were scattered
among all 16 types.
Before embarking on a discussion of the three dominant
Types reflected in this study (ISFJ, INTJ, and ESTJ) a discus-
sion of shared attributes among the groups is warranted. In each
case, a preference for Judging was found. This last dichoto-
mous function reflects an individual’s “attitude” toward how he
or she perceives the outer world (Lawrence, 2009). Judging
types have a preference to live their lives in a planned, orderly
manner. In general, they want things presented in a linear, or-
ganized, and decisive way. Lawrence (2009) suggests that indi-
viduals with a Judging preference work towards an end result
and require closure on one task before beginning another. It is
necessary for today’s educators to make hundreds of decisions
daily, be well organized and be able to plan effectively. It
would seem a natural extension that both teachers and adminis-
trators would have a preference for this attitude, as indicated in
this study. On the other hand, Rushton et al., (2006) and Rush-
ton et al., (2007) research on both Teacher of the Year recipi-
ents and the Florida League of Teachers, deemed to be the
“best” educators in the field, showed that these teachers had a
preference for P over J. Perceptive types tend to be more will-
ing to look at new ideas, be creative and flexible in their teach-
ing, and look to change the status quo. Judging types, in general,
do not like change and prefer to keep things as they are. Other
than the works mentioned above, the majority of studies relat-
ing to teachers (i.e., Lawrence, 2009; Reid, 1999; Sears et al,
1997), as well as the findings in this study, show that Judging is
the primary preference for teachers.
Both the elementary education and childhood education pre-
service students shared the Feeling (F) function, whereas, spe-
cial education students and educational leadership graduate
students preferred Thinking (T) as a means of decision making.
In general Feeling Types prefer to base their decisions on sub-
jective, people-centered values, and aim for harmony, mutual
appreciation, tact, persuasion, and humane sympathy (Quenk,
2009). According to Myers & McCaulley’s (1985) Manual, A
Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator, 68% of females prefer the Feeling function as a
means of decision making. In the process of making decisions
Feeling types will select for harmony within the group first and
foremost. They are often deemed to have a passionate quest for
meaning that appreciates human qualities with warmth (Berens,
Cooper, Linda, & Martin, 2002). In contrast, those individuals
who utilize Thinking (T) as a preference for decision making
are often seen as being objective, impersonal, analytical, and
logical (Lawrence, 2009). Thinking types aim to understand
cause- and-effect relationships, seek for clarity, fairness, firm-
ness, and truth. Sixty-one percent of men prefer the Thinking
function (Myers & McCaully, 1985). Thinking is a detached
process, which focuses on objective expression of “what’s
right”. They require order to function effectively. Instead of
sorting information for the harmony of the group, they prefer to
sort for honesty and truth over harmony.
Table 3.
Chi-square models (MBTI mental cognition type X program).
Iteration 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3
Eled Eled Eled Eled Spec Spec Spec Eled Eled Eled
–2.3 –1.8 –1.1 1.8 –.9 –.7 1.2 –2.0 –1.7 –1.2
Spec Spec Echd Spec Edld Edld Edld Spec Edld Echd
2.7 3.2 –.02 –1.4 –2.5 –2.4 –1.3 1.9 2.3 –.6
Edld Echd Mat Edld Echd Mat Edld Echd Mat
2.8 –.6 1.3 –2.9 1.4 1.7 2.0 –2.0 1.6
Echd Mat Echd Mat Echd Mat
–.9 .4 .8 1.2 –1.1 1.0
Mat Mat Mat
–.02 .1 .5
df, n 4, 368 3, 331 2, 289 4, 368 3, 231 2, 198 1, 79 4, 368 3, 326 2, 198
χ² 24.598 16.534 3.408 22.912 15.683 12.800 3.528 15.627 11.579 5.053
p .000 .001 .182 .000 .001 .002 .060 .004 .009 .082
Note: Standardized residuals are below program variables, and indicate the extent to which each program contributes to the model. p is initially significant at the .05 level and
at .025 and at .016 levels for second and third iterations, respectively. Eled = Elementary Education. Spec = Special Education. Edld = Educational Leadership. Echd = Early
Childhood Education. Mat = Master of Arts in Teaching.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
It is clear that Feeling and Thinking types have distinct styles
in making decisions. Generally, classroom teaching requires
being thoughtful of group dynamics and making decisions that
involve many individuals. Both the early childhood and ele-
mentary education pre-service students had a preference for the
Feeling function in their decision making. Principals are often
required to make large scale, system-wide decisions that affect
the operation of many individuals. When planning schedules
for buses, lunch rotations, teacher breaks and class rotations, a
clear analytical decision making process may be a better match.
The special education pre-service teachers also leaned toward
the Thinking function. Perhaps the need to be somewhat de-
tached from the particulars of working with special education
students requires a more analytical perspective. These findings
supported Mills (2003) study which examined 63 gifted teach-
ers and discovered that they had preferences for combined NT
mental functions. Mills suggest that the combination of mental
functions (NT) seek “abstract themes and concepts, are open
and flexible, and value logical analysis and objectivity” (p.
The remainder of the discussion will look at each of the three
distinct types: Pre-service elementary and child-hood education
students (ISFJ); pre-service special education students (INTJ);
and graduate students in the education leadership and supervi-
sion program (ESTJ). The students in the Masters of Arts in
Teaching programs showed no significant type preference.
The ISFJ Elementary Teacher
Twenty-eight percent of the students in this study had a pref-
erence for ISFJ and consisted primarily of elementary and early-
childhood pre-service students. Our results support findings by
Lawrence (2009), who indicates that the SFJ profile represents
over 32% of elementary school teachers and 30% of early
childhood teachers. Martin (1997) states that the ISFJ teacher
personality is someone who has a deep respect for working in
harmony with others and desires to complete tasks one at a time.
ISFJs are known to have an organized and realistic approach to
life. Further, they have a keen respect and command for facts
and enjoy focusing on details in order to complete a specific
Fairhurst and Fairhurst (1995) outline the personality prefer-
ences of the ISFJ teacher as being considerate, dedicated and
service minded. Further, they suggest that the ISFJ teacher seeks
to establish a calm atmosphere at work leaning toward being
pragmatic, highly conscientious, and works well when rules are
clearly established (p. 97). The ISFJ educator does not lean to-
ward a free-flowing, spontaneous classroom. Such educators
have a propensity to use workbook assignments via pencil and
paper drills, with a “quiet desk work approach” to learning as
their main means of teaching (Hirsh & Kummerow, 1997). Fi-
nally, the ISTJ educator is known to create a protective learning
environment, one that stays constant and where change is kept
to a minimum. They have a strong need to keep things in order.
The INTJ Special Education Educator
According to Lawrence (2009) only 4 percent of elementary
education teachers are considered INTJ’s. Lawrence’s study
provides no percentages for special education teachers who are
of this type. However, over 10 percent of university professors
fall into this category. Fairhur stand Fairhurst (1995) suggest
that this is due, in part, to the NT’s desire to master specific
areas of study. At the college level they prefer to teach one or two
subjects in which they are highly competent. They can be single
minded and use this strength to understand complex systems.
They have an internal desire to understand truth. In many ways
this would fit the special education teacher profile. Within the
field of special education are separate and unique fields of in-
terest (e.g., gifted education, specific learning disabilities).
Elementary education teachers are required to learn all content
areas whereas the special education student can focus on a
unique, often complex discipline.
The intuitive-Thinking (NT) educator is considered to be the
rational teacher and prefers autonomy and encourages indi-
vidualism among their students. The INTJ educator is also thought
to be among the “most directive of all types”, is highly self-
motivated, often visionary, and is persistent in the desire to
refine and improve knowledge. Lawrence (2009, p. A-8) sug-
gests that INTJ types in general, who find a career that appeals
to them, are highly motivated and can be skeptical, critical, and
independent. Special education teachers are often seen as sepa-
rate from the main body of teachers within a school and require
a certain level of autonomy. They often have complicated stu-
dent profiles that may require complex individual educational
The ESTJ Education Leadership Educator
The ESTJ profile is distinctively different than the previous
two Myers-Briggs Types. Hirsh & Kummerow (1997) indicate
that some characteristics that define this Type are: industrious,
matter-of-fact, responsible, and efficient. Fairhurst and Fair-
hurst (1995) suggest that the ESTJ teacher is found more in the
middle and high school levels and less in the primary grades
where students are dependent upon the teacher and require
more nurturing. These types are known for their ability to eco-
nomically manage resources well, logistically be able to plan
efficiently by setting realistic goals, and, enjoying making deci-
sions (Lawrence, 2009). Given their unique strengths, ESTJ’s
often become school administrators at all levels (i.e., in ele-
mentary and secondary schools, colleges, and technical intui-
tions). It is not surprising that 32% of the students in this study
who are returning to graduate studies in Administration and
Supervision follow the STJ profile. There does not seem to be a
preference for either Introversion or Extraversion with this
group of graduate students.
Limitations of the Study and Future Directions
A number of interesting questions arise from this study. The
variety of Type preferences within this group warrants further
investigation of the characteristics of special education and
educational leadership students, for example. Our specific demo-
graphic data on the current sample were limited, so further
comparison by gender, age, or other demographic variables was
not possible. Future research should aim to address this issue.
A few other features of the study limit the conclusions that
can be drawn. The participants were not randomly selected
(they were selected from the particular courses they took), nor
were they representative of teachers-in-training in general. Thus
the nature of the sample, including its size, affects generaliza-
tion of the results. Another limitation is that data on more de-
tailed characteristics of the individuals were not collected, such
as socio-economic status, prior education, or prior employment
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 21
experience. For the graduate students in particular, a more ex-
tensive knowledge of prior background might provide a deeper
understanding of reasons for their program choices.
Finally, our measures of personality traits merit more exten-
sive measurement and triangulation of data sources to gain a
broader picture of these variables. Comparison of findings with
use of the McCrae and Costa’s (1989) five factor model, for
instance, could yield valuable comparative results on the re-
search questions studied. This study addresses two succinct
research questions about phenomena that occur along the path-
way to teacher effectiveness, but a multitude of individual fac-
tors along that pathway that conceive of personality in a broader
way merit examination.
Today’s teachers face some formidable challenges to effec-
tive practices. These include adjusting to a change in the demo-
graphic characteristics of the students they teach and to height-
ened performance goals required by policy makers. A key way
in which teachers can respond to these challenges is through the
way they interact with students. Learning to understand one’s
unique qualities, temperament, and attitudes is an important
part of the education process, yet it is one that is not generally
part of pre-service training. Because the teachers’ personalities
have an impact on how they interact with students, and thus on
student achievement, much more attention should be given to
Knowledge of students’ personality traits is important for
teacher-educators. Just as school teachers’ knowledge of their
students’ personalities helps them to teach them more effec-
tively, teacher educators are well equipped when they under-
stand the strengths that their own students (i.e., pre-service
teachers) are bringing to the table. Colleges of education will
similarly benefit by knowing the types of students who are
attracted to their teacher education programs: They can then
better design programs in accordance with students’ needs, and
consider how to attract a diversity of students to the profession.
It would serve those of us working in teacher education pro-
grams to better understand our own unique personality traits,
because they impact our style of teaching. As with students,
different professors of education (i.e., those teaching in Early-
childhood, Elementary, MAT, and Educational Leadership
programs) are attracted to a particular field, so more diversity
may be required in teaching our pre-service students. This may
have implications for how we organize our colleges of educa-
tion. More research could be conducted looking at professors of
education and their Types and the programs they serve. Also,
implications regarding such programs could be addressed at the
district and school level. Schools are grouping children with
similar ranges of abilities and preferences. Knowing one’s type
might further aid this learning process. Working with compara-
ble Types might be more productive in that, those who interpret
the world and process information in the same manner may find
working together more stimulating. On the other hand, placing
different types together can also be most supportive in teaching
for diversity of thinking.
In all cases, becoming an outstanding educator does require
the ability to reflect on one’s teaching and thinking. How we
make decisions, based upon what facts we perceive, can influ-
ence how we organize a room, what curriculum we choose, and
ultimately, how we teach. Knowing one’s Type helps support
educators as a first step toward this goal.
Bayne, R. (2005). Ideas and evidence: Critical reflections on MBTI
theory and practice. Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psy-
chological Type.
Berliner, D. C., & Biddle, B. J. (1995). The manufactured crisis: Myth,
fraud, and the attack on America’s public school. Reading, MA: Ad-
Bransford, J., & Darling-Hammond, L. (Eds.). (2006). Preparing tea-
chers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able
to do. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Capraro, R. M., & Capraro, M. M. (2002). Myers-Briggs type indicator
score reliability across studies: A meta-analytic reliability generali-
zation study. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 62, 590-
602. doi:10.1177/0013164402062004004
Copple, C., & Bredekamp S. (Eds.). (2010). Developmentally appro-
priate practice in early childhood programs serving children from
birth through age 8 (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: NAEYC.
Costa, P. T. Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). NEO PI-R professional man-
ual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Darling-Hammond, L. (1999). Teacher quality and student achievement:
A review of state policy evidence. Washington, DC: Center for the
Study of Teaching and Policy.
Daub, C., Friedman, S. M., Cresci, K., & Keyser, R. (2000). Frequen-
cies of MBTI types among nursing assistants providing care to nurs-
ing home eligible individuals. Journal of Psychological Type, 54, 12-
Decker, L., & Rimm-Kaufman, S. (2003). Personality characteristics and
teacher beliefs among pre-service teachers. Teacher Education Quar-
terly, 35, 45-63.
Devito, A. J. (1985). Review of the Myers-Briggs type indicator. In: J.
V. Mitchell (Ed.), The Ninth Mental Measurement Yearbook (Vol. 2,
p. 1000). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska.
Descouzis, D. (1989). Psychological types of tax preparers. Journal of
Psychological Type, 17, 36-38.
Fairhurst, A. M., & Fairhurst, L. L. (1995). Effective teaching effective
learning: Making the personality connection in your classroom. Palo
Alto, CA: Davis-Black.
Francis, J. & Wulff, K., & Robbins, M. (2008). The relationship be-
tween work-related psychological health and psychological type
among clergy serving in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Journal of
Empirical Theology, 21 , 166-182. doi:10.1163/157092508X349854
Grindler, M. C., & Stratton, B. D. (1990). Type indicator and its rela-
tionship to teaching and learning styles. Action in Teacher Education,
11, 31-34.
Hanushek, E., Kain, J., & Rivikin, S. (2004). Why public schools lose
teachers. Journal of Human Re s o ur c e s, 2, 326-352.
Jung, C. G. (1971). Psychological types: The collected works, volume 6.
London, UK: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Keirsey, D., & Bates, M. (1978). Please understand me. Del Mar, CA:
Prometheus Nemesis.
Kent, D., & Fisher, D. (1997). Associations between teacher personal-
ity and classroom environment. Chicago, IL: Paper presented at the
Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association,
ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 407395.
Lawrence, G. (1979, 2009). People types and tiger stripes: A practical
guide to learning styles. Gainseville, FL: Center for Application of
Psychological Type.
Macdaid, G. P., McCaulley, M. H., & Kainz, R. I. (1986). Myers-
Briggs type indicator: Atlas of type tables. Gainesville, FL: Centre
for Application of Psychological Type Inc.
Meisgeiner, C. H., & Richardson, R. C. (1996). Personality types of
interns in alternative teacher certification programmes. Education
Forum, 60, 350-360.
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1989). Reinterpreting the Myers-Briggs
type indicator from the perspective of the Five-Factor model of per-
sonality. Journal of Personality, 57, 17-40.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 23
Markowski, E. P., & Markowski, C. A. (2009). A systematic method
for teaching post hoc analysis of Chi-Square tests. Decision Sciences
Journal of Innovative Education, 7, 59-65.
Martin, C. (1999). Looking at type: The fundamentals. Gainesville, FL:
Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
Marzano, J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction
that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achieve-
ment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Mills, C. J. (2007). Psychological types of academically gifted adoles-
cents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51, 285-294
Myers, I. B., & McCaulley, M. H. (1985). Manual: A guide to the de-
velopment and use of the Myers-Briggs type indicator. Palo Alto, CA:
Consulting Psychologists Press.
National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. (1996). What
matters most: Teaching for America s future. Washington, DC: Gov-
ernment Printing Office.
Oswick, C., & Barber, P. (1998). Personality type and performance in
an introductory level accounting course: A research note. Accounting
Education, 7, 249-254. doi:10.1080/096392898331171
Quenk, N. (2009). Essentials of Myers-Briggs type indicator assess-
ment (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Reid, J. B. (1999). The relationship among personality type, coping
strategies, and burnout in elementary teachers. Journal of Psycho-
logical Type, 51, 22-33.
Rigden, C. (2009). Careers and occupations: Type as a part of the
whole. TypeFace, 20, 28-30.
Rivkin, S. G., Hanushek, E. A., & Kain, J. F. (2005). Teachers, schools,
and academic achievement. Econometrica, 73, 417-458.
Rockoff, J. (2004). The impact of individual teachers on student
achievement: Evidence from panel data. American Economic Review,
94, 247-252. doi:10.1257/0002828041302244
Roscoe, J. T., & Byars, J. A. (1971). An investigation of the restraints
with respect to sample size commonly imposed on the use of the
chi-square statistic. Journal of the American Statistical Association,
66, 755-759. doi:10.2307/2284224
Rushton, S., Jackson, M., & Richard, M. (2007). Teacher’s Myers-
Briggs personality profiles: Identifying effective teacher personality
traits. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 432-441.
Rushton, S., Knopp, T. Y., & Smith, R. L. (2006). Teacher of the Year
award recipients. Myers-Briggs personality profiles: Identifying tea-
cher effectiveness. Journal of Psychological Type, 4, 23-34.
Sanders, W. L., & Horn, S. P. (1995). The Tennessee value-added
assessment system (TVAAS): Mixed-model methodology in educa-
tional assessment. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 8,
299-311. doi:10.1007/BF00973726
Sanders, W. L., & Rivers, J. C. (1996). Cumulative and residual effects
of teachers on future student academic achievement. Knoxville, YN:
University of Tennessee Value-Added Research and Assessment Cen-
Sears, S., Kennedy, J., Kaye, J., & Gail, L. (1997). Myers-Briggs per-
sonality profiles of prospective educators. The Journal of Educa-
tional Research, 90, 195-202.
Sprague, M. (1997). Personality Type matching and student teaching
evaluation. Contemporary Education, 69, 54-57.
Thompson, B., & Borrello, G. M. (1986). Construct validity of the
Myers-Briggs type indicator. Educational and Psychological Meas-
urement, 46, 745-752. doi:10.1177/0013164486463032