Font Size: 
So What Do Your Students Really Know…About Themselves?
David Vincent Rudd

Last modified: 2011-09-08


The admonition to “Know Thyself” is inscribed on the walls of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in ancient Greece. It has been ascribed to a number of Greek philosophers including Socrates and Pythagoras. While the Bible does not record Jesus as having said “Know Thyself,” there are numerous passages leading the reader to conclude that self-knowledge is an important basis for the development of judgment and wisdom. The resiliency mandala from the Project Resilience, co-directed by Sybil Wolin, Ph.D., and Steven Wolin, M.D., shows seven resiliencies that humans develop in varying patterns to help cope with and succeed in the wider world. Among these is Insight, defined as ‘asking tough questions and giving honest answers.’ Among the knowledge that one might expect college students to have about themselves is some feel for their preferred learning styles and personality structures and the driving force behind their current value system. The author collects unaided, self-reports from students in sophomore and junior level marketing classes on these three elements of self-knowledge. In addition to using the self-reports as part of the group selection and formation process, students are later offered the opportunity to voluntarily take the Kolb Learning Styles Inventory and Value Systems Inventory to get a measure of their primary and secondary learning style preferences and their current value system. From a sample of 139 subjects from fall of 2009 through spring of 2010, only 12.5% self-reported their primary and secondary learning style preferences in the order shown in the measured results. From a sample of 50 students from fall of 2009 through fall of 2010, about one-third (34%) of the self-reports matched the measured results on the value systems profile. The author explains the conceptual use of the three self-reports (learning styles, personality structure, and value systems) in the formation of groups and proposes the formative use of individual assessments of this nature to assist students in knowing themselves.