The enneagram. Yep, that’s our subject for today. But this is not, I repeat not, a personality test lesson. However, if you’ve never done a personality test day in class they are really fun! That’ll have to be a future blog post, for sure. Noted.
No, today is for discovering how to describe different personality types according to the enneagram. What’s the enneagram? In a few words, it’s a tool that proposes 9 types of different personalities. Everyone (including you and me) corresponds to one of these types. I dunno about your country, but personality typing is a huge phenomenon in the states. Most people are dying to tell you whether they are a 3, a 7, a total 2, or even an INTJ, ENTF, XXYZ, etc. It can be overwhelming! But, it can also be a great tool for self-development or understanding why your mom, dad, sister, spouse, neighbor are so freaking weird.
We will use the following video as authentic material for our resource. FYI: Target© is a retail chain in North America where you can buy most everyday products including food, furniture, toys, groceries, clothes, etc.
Hand out the resource to your students (it can be double-sided). Let them take a look at the vocabulary list. First, watch the video without the sound. Once in its entirety and another time stopping after each number to let your students reflect on the 9 characters’ behaviors, attitudes and interactions with the products. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.personality-english-esl-expertz
Take time letting students share their first impressions. This can be one of the most interesting parts of the activity. To facilitate discussion, ask a student to say an adjective (or adjectives) out loud they associate with one of the characters. The others guess which character they are talking about and justify their response. This gets your students to practice describing people in ways like “yeah, you know, the one who looks cheerful and helpful.” Because we have no dialogue to go on, it can be difficult to describe these characters, but that’s the point! Be sure your students are able to describe them well enough that others can understand and point them out.
Once the decisions have been made, watch the video with the sound on. Does what your class hears match what they were saying before? Let groups rediscuss their findings. Once they have finished, discuss as a class the changes that were made or go deeper into their descriptions.
This leads to the second activity where students try to match the enneagram names to the characters. You can take as much time as you would like on this part, but the main focus should be on the first part of the activity. The answers are:
1 4 7
2 5 8
3 6 9
This activity can lead to discussions about personalities in general or those of the group, HR tools, personality tests, the enneagram, and the like. You might even have your students associate a certain number of adjectives from the list with each personality type or have a student describe another student’s personality and have the others guess who they are talking about. It’s up to you!