Teaching Student Leadership with the Enneagram Test

The Enneagram defines nine interconnected personality types that every student leader can use to change the world.

According to Truity, the Enneagram is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how people conceptualize the world and manage their emotions. The Enneagram model describes nine different personality types and maps each of these types on a nine-pointed diagram which helps to illustrate how the types relate to one another.

Why use the Enneagram?

High school student leaders come to our classrooms with a set of ideas about the world and how they fit into it. By using the Enneagram test, we can help them understand their strengths and weaknesses and how they should approach tricky situations. And, knowing the half the battle!

The Enneagram also teaches them about other personality types and how to interact with those types. Since Enneagram scores are all interconnected, students realize that you can't deal with everyone in their life the same way. You don't always need a hammer when a screwdriver would work best.

What are the nine Enneagram types?

Each type is represented by a number and a name that describes the dominant trait of that personality:
  1. The Reformer: Seeks improvement and perfection
  2. The Helper: Seeks to help, to love and be loved
  3. The Achiever: Seeks success and validation
  4. The Individualist: Seeks individuality and uniqueness
  5. The Investigator: Seeks knowledge and understanding through the observable
  6. The Loyalist: Seeks firm beliefs and trust
  7. The Enthusiast: Seeks satisfaction and pleasure
  8. The Challenger: Seeks self-sufficiency and control
  9. The Peacemaker: Seeks harmony and wholeness
Each type also has a 'wing'-- which is the trait of one of personality types directly next to yours on the Enneagram chart. So a type 9 might have a type 1 or type 8 wing.
Administering the Test:

When I administered the Enneagram to my student leaders, I didn't tell them what it was for, about, etc. I simply provided them with a link to take two free exam online and told them to let me know when they were done so I could record their answers.

Students took the Fast Enneagram Test and the Eclectic Energies Test on their Chromebooks. The Eclectic Energies Test is longer, but both should return similar results that validate each others Enneagram type. Should your students get different results, simply have them choose another free Enneagram test and confirm those results.

This will likely take one whole class period to complete, especially if you have students who need to take a third test to validate their results. Even if students get done with their tests and have time remaining, do not go further until the next class period.

Analyzing their results:

Now that students know their Enneagram Type, it's time to dig in and allow students to see how much their type matches their personality. Here are my suggestions for next steps:

  1. Direct students to The Enneagram Institute website and have them click on the type that matches their results.
  2. Have them take out a sheet of paper or start a new document on their computer and title their paper "The Achiever" or "The Challenger" or whatever the name of their Enneagram Type is named.
  3. Have them write/type the following:
    1. The short definition and the key words that describe their Enneagram Type
    2. The basic fear
    3. The basic desire
    4. Key motivators that ring true with them
    5. Any of the people that they admire that are their same Type
    6. Any information that rings true under the "Overview" section (this should be quite a few items since this section is quite large)
This will likely take them half of a class period, so wait until all students have finished, then:
  1. Group students based on their Enneagram Type
    1. If you have a small group, then skip step 2
  2. Have them compare notes and share what they wrote down
  3. As a group, question each person about what they wrote down
    1. Make sure they announce their type before they begin sharing

Josh DeLozier

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