Do you have a family member going to school? Or maybe, you are getting ready to head back to the classroom yourself to teach or continue your education? I have two children going off to high school, and I want to make sure I notice the signs of fears being triggered by observing their behaviour. 

As someone who helps teams, organizations and individuals understand behaviour, I thought I would share with you how to recognize fears being triggered at school and what that may look like, using the DISC method for personality assessment. 

For context, DISC personality assessment is a widely used tool in psychology and human resources that aims to uncover an individual’s behavioural tendencies and communication styles. The acronym “DISC” stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness, representing four primary personality traits. Through a series of carefully designed questions and assessments, individuals’ responses are analyzed to determine their dominant and secondary traits, helping to understand how they interact with others, approach tasks, and handle challenges. This assessment provides valuable insights for personal development, team dynamics, and effective communication strategies in various contexts, such as workplaces, interpersonal relationships, and leadership roles.

The first part of this blog will highlight HOW the fear can be triggered and the second part will focus on how it can show up in a classroom. 

  1. Dominance (D):

Dominant students are often driven by the need for control and results. They fear being taken advantage of or losing control of situations. Triggers could include:

Being assigned group projects where they feel their ideas aren’t being considered.

Feeling like they are being micromanaged or not given enough autonomy.

Facing criticism or failure in front of their peers.

  1. Influence (I):

Influential students seek social interaction, recognition, and approval. They fear rejection, being ignored, or losing their social status. Triggers could include:

Not being invited to a popular event or party.

Receiving negative comments or criticism on their social media posts.

Being excluded from a group or feeling isolated.

  1. Steadiness (S):

Steady students value stability, harmony, and strong relationships. They fear conflict, change, and being separated from their social circles. Triggers could include:

Experiencing conflicts or arguments within their friend group.

Facing sudden changes in their routine or schedule.

Being asked to speak in front of the class or perform in a way that draws attention.

  1. Conscientiousness (C):

Conscientious students are detail-oriented, analytical, and prefer accuracy. They fear making mistakes, being unprepared, or being judged for their competence. Triggers could include:

Receiving a lower grade than expected on an assignment they put a lot of effort into.

Being asked to present or give an answer without having sufficient time to research and prepare.

Feeling overwhelmed by disorganization or a lack of clear instructions.

Now let’s see how this can manifest in a classroom setting.

  1. Dominance (D):

Classroom Participation: Dominant students might dominate discussions, potentially overshadowing quieter students. They could fear being perceived as passive or not in control if they don’t actively contribute.

Group Projects: They may push their ideas forcefully and resist compromise, fearing that their ideas won’t be considered or valued by the group.

Reaction to Authority: They might challenge authority figures like teachers if they feel their ideas or suggestions are dismissed or ignored.

  1. Influence (I):

Socializing: Influential students may be very talkative and social in class, fearing being left out or ignored. They might initiate conversations with peers or the teacher to seek recognition.

Attention Seeking: They could seek attention through humour, drama, or attention-grabbing behaviour in order to receive validation and avoid feeling unnoticed.

Group Dynamics: In group projects, they might focus on maintaining a positive and social atmosphere, often prioritizing group harmony over task completion.

  1. Steadiness (S):

Group Interactions: Steady students may avoid conflicts and go along with the majority to maintain harmony, fearing that disagreements might lead to strained relationships.

Change and Adaptation: They could struggle with sudden changes in the classroom routine or curriculum, preferring stability and predictability.

Teacher Expectations: They may worry about not meeting the teacher’s expectations, leading them to be hesitant to ask questions or seek clarification for fear of appearing inadequate.

  1. Conscientiousness (C):

Homework and Assignments: Conscientious students might over-prepare for assignments and spend extra time perfecting their work due to a fear of making mistakes. They might also fear last-minute changes or lack of clear instructions.

Class Presentations: They could feel intense anxiety about speaking in front of the class, fearing they might forget their points or make errors.

Peer Evaluation: They may be concerned about how their peers perceive their work, as they fear negative judgement for any perceived imperfections.

What I really want you to take away from this is the importance of understanding WHY someone may be behaving a certain way. It is so easy to look at someone and judge them based on what we see, but there is always something driving what we see. If you really want to connect with someone, seek to understand them first. A lot of us are operating from a place of fear and for students, the above can be seen. If we simply “see” the behaviour, we can misread that student and assign character traits that are not true. But if we do our best to understand that student in front of us, we can truly start to see the incredible human before us and help them turn those limitations into strengths!

Be someone who places a 10 on the heads of others, start to see them for their potential and see how they start to rise to that.

If you would like more information on how DISC can help you connect and communicate with those you work with, lead or live with, please reach out!

Team Engagement Catalyst | Organizational Health

Tessa Kampen Consulting

Tessa Kampen is a Speaker, Trainer and Team Engagement Catalyst helping teams and organizations create spaces of psychological safety where team members feel valued, heard and most importantly understood. She is inspired to show others how to be authentically and seen. She is passionate about helping teams build strength based cultures and free thinking leaders.

With over 10 years of experience in coaching and personal development, she helps individuals lean into their strengths, improve communication, understanding and trust, using her creative experiential learning model. Her ability to quickly connect and relate with her clients is her superpower and it allows Tessa to quickly build strong relationships and trust with those she serves. She is trained with the largest leadership team in the world, the Maxwell Leadership Team is inspired to inspire transformation in the hearts of those she meets and serves.