The Type Eight Student: The Protective Challenger

Driver:  Anger that the world is not a safe place
Motivation: to protect themselves and be in control
Focus: power and justice
Strategy: assert their independence


  • protect themselves
  • protect those too weak to protect themselves
  • take charge
  • test fairness of the teacher

Communication Style

  • direct, brutal, honest truth
  • state opinion as fact
  • hate when they can’t add their opinion to class discussions
  • precocious with profanity

Learning Style

  • independent, minimal supervision
  • enjoy class discussions, especially debates
  • prefer the practical to theory

Work Ethic:  Finding ‘The Truth’

  • rules are seen a limit to independence
  • unfair rules are challenged
  • unenforced rules “don’t exist”
  • push boundaries
  • intensity makes Eights feel alive and real
  • work with energy while work is challenging
  • when bored, tend to look for trouble
  • uncomfortable accepting new ideas passively
  • need to challenge what they learn, seek proof to back it up

Ideal Classroom

  • authority, confidence, and vision
  • high engagement atmosphere of bold action
  • vigorous debates
  • fair class rules and clear consistent boundaries

Personality Cluster

Wings:  Enthusiast (7) and Mediator (9)

Stress Arrow:  Observer (5)

Withdraw, defeated, depressed. Self-loathing. Defensive and overreactive.  Passive-aggression. 

Security Arrow:  Helper (2)

  • Encourage concern for welfare of others eg by giving them responsibility
  • Accept them as they are and help them to feel safe so they can reveal soft, gentle, caring side
  • Help them understand ‘direct’ can be intimidating

> Unspoken Words – a case study

>  The Type Nine Student

>  Enneagram Personalities of Students

>  Home Page

with thanks to Rob Fitzel


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