Learning by “Talking Things Out”—Interpersonal Learning

children together

I have to admit that, as an introvert (technically speaking), I tend to cringe a bit when a facilitator or speaker tells us participants to turn to a neighbor or group of neighbors and engage in discussion. It’s just not my style. Of course, when I do follow instructions, I find that I meet some wonderful people and learn some amazing things!

At the other end of the spectrum are people who are eager to interact with others and can’t wait for the segment of a presentation when they get to turn to a neighbor and engage in conversation! These folks thrive on interpersonal learning—one of the multiple intelligences identified by Dr. Howard Gartner. As catechists and teachers, we need always to remind ourselves to engage folks according to their learning styles and not just settle for teaching the way that we ourselves learn.

If you have interpersonal learners in your group (and you do!), here are some insights about them as well as some tips for more effectively engaging them. Interpersonal learners…

  • …tend to be verbal.
  • …are often sensitive to and cognizant of the moods and feelings of others.
  • …thrive on and are energized by social interaction.
  • …make friends easily.
  • …work well in cooperative learning environments.
  • …are good collaborators.
  • …respond to lively interaction and dialogue.
  • …are often eager and willing to teach others.
  • …tend to be capable of seeing things from various perspectives.
  • …show potential for leadership.
  • …learn best in group settings or one-on-one settings.
  • …enjoy interviewing others.
  • …enjoy speech, drama, and debate.

What are some of the ways you engage interpersonal learners?


Explore active-learning opportunities in the Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts program.

About Joe Paprocki 2380 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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