Nine Types of Learners: The Challenger

Welcome back to our series on the nine different types of learners that lies at the heart of Story-Based Learning. Every learner is different and needs tailored conditions if they are to learn and grow to their full potential.

Meet Caesar and Cleopatra. 

Assertive, intense, high-energy and demanding. 

They know what they want and they don’t stop until they get it. Anger comes easily to Challengers and they are often misunderstood because of their explosive nature. What may not be immediately evident is the huge heart that lies underneath this outer shell – a deep desire for justice and the protection of the helpless.

Learning Style

Challengers can be relentless in their quest to learn – discussing, debating, discovering the truth. Being in control is a huge factor for these students, and they aren’t afraid to direct those around them. 

Being engaged is a must. When bored, these students can become provocative and disruptive to everyone in the learning environment. 

Cleopatra and Caesar do best when they are released to learn independently, with minimal supervision. They follow the leads and channel their intensity and energy into the task at hand.

Environment

Caesar and Cleopatra thrive in a firm classroom environment, with clear boundaries and a big picture vision. If they detect that the system of authority is floundering, they will step up and take control. 

Being concerned about justice, these students need rules that are fair and enforced consistently. 

Challengers are more suited to be solo players more than team players, as they often struggle to see the needs of those around them. 

Tips

If you have a Caesar or Cleopatra in your life, you can help them in the following ways:

  1. Expect confrontation. Challengers need to test the limits of those around them so that they know if you are a safe place for them. Understand that fighting is a way for them to draw closer to you and discover the truth.
  2. Know that a response of anger is usually covering up a fear of rejection or a reliving of relational pain that may have happened days earlier. Help them figure out what is provoking these strong feelings. This may take time but it is worth the investment. 
  3. Do not engage in a power struggle. A Challenger finds it almost impossible to back down when challenged, leading to a no-win situation. Try to remain calm, take a break and then attempt to understand the situation from their point of view, validating their experience of pain. Then give them the power to make a decision about what they should do.
  4. Honour the truth. Be prepared to be bluntly honest, not manipulate or withhold information or make them feel as if you only love them when they behave well. 
  5. Encourage their heart towards the vulnerable and look for ways to allow them to practically express that deeply wired empathy. 

The Challenger possesses a number of formidable gifts to offer the world – with a propensity for action, leadership, strength, confidence, strategy, bravery and decisiveness, they really can be world-changers (if you just hang in there!). There are distinct battles that will inevitably follow the raising of a Challenger, but if you can press in, demonstrate unconditional love, stay strong and encourage them towards self-reflection, they will love and respect you for it. 

This category of learner has been based upon Type 8 of the Enneagram (or ‘The Challenger’). If you wish to delve more deeply into the psychology of the Enneagram, follow the links above. 

As the journey of self discovery is one best enjoyed by each individual, we suggest that you use this as an internal guide for yourself, rather than telling your children which type you think they might be. We do understand that each person is utterly unique and there will be variations within each type, but we have found this typology the most helpful for getting a basic understanding of human behaviour and motivation. 

Missed out on any of our previous articles? Check them out here:


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