Final Paper finished TWO whole days early…am I really still a P???

It is sometimes difficult to look back on a journey, having gained new perspective, and fully recall the perspective with which one began.  At the beginning of this course, I surely had an awareness of personality type, but primarily attuned to the Introvert/extravert dichotomy when it came to thinking about my students.  I suppose today this is still true, but I am beginning to attend to other type distinctions as well and am more conscious of implementing a variety of communication, planning, and activity strategies in my lessons each week.

One of the first takeaways that struck me, though it should have been obvious, is that it helps to understand my own personality type.  I’d been assuming I would learn about the types of different students and then figure out better ways to instruct to their particular type.  While this is certainly the case, I first needed to figure out what my own type meant for me as a teacher.  I had to suspend the notion that I teach by default in a type-neutral way.  Doing so enabled me to identify my own tendencies and preferences in order to then be able to build upon and deviate from them to accommodate a more broad span of types.

As a teacher, I identified my own type as INTP.  As an introvert, my preference is for a quiet classroom with one voice and one conversation going at a time.  I prefer smaller classes of students and long classes with no break to interrupt the teaching.  As a student myself in college courses (including this one) I’ve never understood the need for a whole-class break in the middle of a long session.  I’d have much preferred to keep plowing through, finish a few minutes earlier, and let anyone who needed to slip out to the bathroom or water fountain do it on his/her own schedule.  I understand that everyone doesn’t experience class time this way, and now I have a better grasp on why this is the case.  In structuring my own classroom, I value hands-on learning but like to provide copious structure beforehand and keep it confined to a tight schedule rather than provide extra time for investigation.  While these approaches may work for some students, it is clearly not a structure that leads to success for them all.  Throughout my teaching career it has been a challenge to structure lessons that were “extravert friendly,” allowing for movement and group work, making opportunities to talk whenever they like and interact with large numbers of classmates.  As I reflect on the lessons I’ve planned during the weeks of this class, I beleive I have shifted the frequency with which I integrate these opportunities.  Going forward, my challenge will be to make this shift the norm, as it is still not always my first inclination.

In reflecting on my tendencies as an intuitive teacher, I don’t see such a strong leaning to one extreme in the planning and structure of lessons.  I think I’ve always struck a good balance between providing structured assignments and practice on the one hand and emphasizing the big picture and application on the other.  If anything, I think my tendency is to stick with the fundamentals too long and not always provide opportunities for the intuitive students to exercise their imagination and critical thinking during some classes.  When I find things that work, I will use them over again.  Routines are good to have for all students because they make class more efficient.  When students know what the expectations are they can focus more on the academic content and less on figuring out the details of the task.  That being said, I like to balance repetitive routine with modifications and trying new things, particularly when I’m teaching a new subject or if I am not seeing success with the original plan.  I think I have always been able to strike a pretty healthy balance between flexibility and structure.

I am very much a stickler for rules and consistency in the classroom.  In self-assessing my type at the outset of the class, I conceded that this made the Thinking description describe me better as a teacher, although I was still hesitant to say so definitively.  What really tipped me over was having the instructor say she needed me to pick one, and that she thought Thinking seemed to make the most sense because I have a tendency to be critical.   Whether this criticism and rule adherence is a result of being a thinking type I’m not so sure, however.  

I’ve been reflecting upon this lately and realized a few things. First, logical criticism is often an emotional response for me.  Feeling conflicted about my own type and having a hard time wrapping my head around the alphabet soup had me reading the first few chapters with one eyebrow raised already.  My adherence to rules, similarly, is not necessarily my preference all the time as much as it is the need to clearly communicate expectations and support the expectations of administrators and other teachers in the school.  

My first year teaching I would give students gum to chew in math class if they got their homework done the night before.  There was no school policy against this, but months later at a faculty meeting my co-workers were all complaining about their gum-chewing students, the gum getting stuck under tables, and how “we never had this problem before.”  I just about sank into the floor.  That experience, along with a principal who walked into my classroom once to confront me with, “Why are you letting that student wear a hat?” made me into a rule-enforcer big-time.  The motivation for me to be like that wasn’t from my need to have rigid guidelines but from my fear that not setting expectations will cause problems with my colleagues and supervisors, and I can’t stand conflict with adults.  I can not count the number of colleagues I have overheard complaining that policies are not uniformly enforced, and that teachers need to do their jobs and not make up their own rules.  I am not one of the complainers.   I still remember the feeling of each of those moments. I’m the one worrying I’m being complained about.  This is definitely a primarily Feeling trait.  I’ve also been experiencing great stress in recent months over a few disconnects with students and coworkers.  If I was more Thinking I would likely be able to let this go more easily, but it still weighs on me deeply.  

On the other hand, as a scientist I value logic and analysis, and I keep rigor and competency as my top priorities in instruction.  I desperately want students to enjoy their experience in science, but at the end of the day I would sleep better knowing my students all learned the material whether or not they liked it than that they all liked the material whether or not they learned it – because the enjoyment part is not the essential element of the job description.  Of course, both are ideal and are what I strive for. So, I’m ending this course having come full circle, back to doubting whether I can call myself a T or F.  I’m both, and I’ve seen some evidence in my reading that validates this. “The distinction between principles and values is made in the type literature but may be a semantic rather than a real difference…” (Bayne, 34)  In the MBTI, thinking and feeling are opposite poles of a continuum. In reality, they’re independent… if you like ideas and data, you can also like people and emotions. In fact, more often than not, they go hand in hand” (Grant).  I know there are other (some say better) ways to parse personality in this area (5-factor theory, DeBono’s “6 hats:) and I would be very interested in learning more about them to help flesh out my understanding.  While I can’t see my own T/F type as one or the other, I Can recognize extremes in some of my students, and this will be my take-away for now.  Providing rationale and opportunities to experience success and leadership will benefit my students’ thinking type preferences, while integrating stories and personal connection into lessons will provide avenues for feeling students to connect and relate to content.

I have come to identify some of my perpetual struggles as a teacher as manifestations or my Perceptive personality type.  I can not for the life of me plan ahead more than a few classes. I’ve tried to do this for the last 18 years, both in my year-long curriculum planning and my week-long unit planning.  I am simply incapable of predicting how long something will take students to complete during class, how many repeptitions/review opportunities will be required to achieve mastery, or even gauge how much time I have left in a class period.  Rather than laying out a specific unit plan and then changing deadlines repeatedly, I have compensated by being non-specific and allowing for that flexibility up front: “The test is scheduled for the end of next week, but I may push it to Monday if we need an extra day. ”  I don’t know if this is the best compromise or not.  

One of the strategies mentioned in the text chapter on math and science instruction was to “Preplan both scaffolding techniques and extensions to keep all students engaged.” (Kise 133)  This is something I have been trying to do lately in my classes, but I am struggling with being overwhelmed in the management of so much extra planning and grouping.  I also don’t have a strategy for how to differentiate grading for the students who go ahead to enrichment level work or how to count the work students do by way of remediation.  In theory, the grade should be in the assessment of competency proficiency, but it also seems unfair to expect students who learn quickly to do enrichment work with no academic reward.

On the whole, I’m leaving this class with a lot more planning to do, and a lot more processing over how I can better serve the diverse set of personality types in my classroom.  I am overwhelmed by how much there is to keep in mind, and I am as yet unable to make quick assessments of students’ type (other than I/E) without the textbook cheat sheets in hand.  It’s hard enough just remembering what my own type is all about half the time.   I am glad to have had the time to process and re-process through the different types to help me down this road.

 

Works Cited

Bayne, Rowan. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: A Critical Review and Practical Guide. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes, 1994. Print.

Grant, Adam.  “Goodbye to MBTI, the fad that won’t die.” Psychology Today. 18 Sep 2013. 11 Feb 2016. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/give-and-take/201309/goodbye-mbti-the-fad-won-t-die&gt;

Kise, Jane.  Differentiating Through Personality Types: A Framework for Instruction, Assessment, and Classroom Management. New York: Skyhorse, 2006.

Reflection

 

Final Reflection Paper

 

What a journey this has been, from remembering my letters and what they mean to embracing their meaning and growing to understand the students around me. “WOW” It is true that “Who we are is How we teach”(Kise,10).  I am extroverted, I absolutely gain energy from the people around me, I will take a project and run with it. I find the students like me the easiest to work with. They converse easily and ask for help when they need it. There is no guessing. The introverted student is a bit harder. They tend to keep their thoughts to themselves. I have to ask many questions to find out what they may need help with.  

On page 15 of Kise, I checked off all the boxes for the Sensing types preferences. I find helping students that are sensing types easier to guide in an assignment. They will find enough information to finish the project fairly quickly, sometimes, they will also have a timeline to complete it on time. The intuitive student will start the project before knowing the direction it will go in, and usually at the last minute. I am having a nervous condition worrying if it will be turned in on time and if will it match the directions.

I am a mix of Thinking and Feeling. I make decisions first by looking at things logically, finding what is right and what is wrong with a choice. Then, I think sympathetically, does it touch my heart?  Then there are the people that surround us, how does this choice affect them? Are their feelings safe? At school I love science and math. I want to know how the world works. I am sometimes too rigid. I have been called the gestapo by one student a few years ago. I can easily be pulled into a non-productive conversation by students who do not wish to be working. I have also been known to give praise to students who need a push when a small accomplishment has been reached.

Page 20 in Kise gives the choices of Judging or Perceiving. I have checked most of the Judging boxes. I once heard my mother say that people in community groups look for the busy person to ask to help you when a job needs more help. These busy people must be Judging types. They seem to be able to finish all the old projects and the new ones they take on. I am very much like them. I was always the President of the Navy wives clubs I belonged to. I am also ahead or on time with most of my assignments when I take class. The same is true with quilting. If my project is self directed I can start and finish on a schedule and it will be beautiful. If I buy into a Mystery project where only the organizer knows the plan, it is hard to choose the fabric. It is good there is a timeline built in, I would never get the fabric cut never mind pieced. These few projects have also become beautiful.  I think this makes me a bit  empathetic toward the Judging student who needs clear direction for an assignment. This course will help me be  more patient with the perceiving student. I find myself getting frustrated with the student that spends many study dates with me looking for information, but never chooses what to actually work on to completion until the last day possible.

Having taken both the Multiple Intelligences class and Differentiation through Personality types class, I will be a better paraeducator. Knowing how and why people learn the way they do, and being able to differentiate for the differences can benefit the student’s interest in learning. The assignments focused on the stronger skills and intelligence will attain positive accomplishments and the weaker skills and intelligences can become stronger when the weaker sides are stretched.  The teacher will also get a benefit. The student will have less negative behaviors. There will be a much nicer learning environment and relationship between the student and teacher.

Classroom Management

If I Were in Charge

I am in four Physical Science Classes. In one of these classes there are two groups of four students on diagonal opposite ends of the room. Now there are not a lot of choices for moving the desks around. There are Lab benches and a Promethean board that squashes the desks on one side of the room. I would move the students so that both of these groups would no longer be able to spend most of the class lectures or seat work time talking about things other than science work. These students, all eight of them are passing with good grades; however some students around them are struggling to stay on task. The majority of this groups grades are passing. I would place students one and two at least three desks apart and move student seven into student one’s seat. Student  five would move three seats away from student eight. There are enough vacant seats in the center of the room so that none of the students in the center would need to move more than one seat in any direction near the seat they are presently seated in. These extraverted male students would be allowed to work on Labs in groups of two. I  would not allow all four to be at the same lab bench across from each other. They have too much trouble focusing on the assigned task in a group of four. These boys would rather play than work at school. The girls; however can stay focused on a lab in a group of two or four. The girls usually finish their labs in a timely manner; yet the boys are lucky if they get all their data finished before the end of class. I think some of the boys difficulties have as much to do with immaturity as it does with extraversion. 

The teacher took my suggestion and made a new seating chart. It will be implemented on Wednesday.

 

 

Classroom Management

Just like Andrea, I am also an aid, therefore, not in charge of the classroom and sometimes treated like a non-entity by the students. But I feel that behehavior management falls to me occasionally because while the teacher is teaching I can see what is happening around the room. There are times I will ask students to put their phones away or stop talking to pay attention. You should see the glares I get! Many times the students will pull their phones out right in front of me!!

In the 10th grade Humanities class that I go to we have a new teacher. We have talked about classroom management and personality types and she has graciously said she’d put into practice some of the ideas from the book. It is worth noting that she took this class a couple years ago.

Clear Listening Time Boundries: Our Humanities class is full of talkers:) Boy, do they love to talk to each other. Ms. Miller and I discussed using this stategy of letting them know how long she will talk at the beginning of class before they get to “have the floor” during their seat work. But after a few classes I noticed that she didn’t use this strategy. What I did notice is that the students are getting use to the routine in class, therefore, managing better at listening at the beginning of class.

Group Grading: This pertains to not working well in a group. After a group project on “Hall of Fame/Hall of Shame” (Emporer), Ms. Miller handed out a self-evaluation for the students to fill out with 2 categories: Work Load and Partner Cohesion and there was a place for comments. Four pairs graded themselves the same on the rubric. One pair matched up perfectly where J felt he had some issues with his partner and G admitted he completed a smaller amount of work because of computer and internet issues at home. Another pair was a little different also: D said he had issues with his partner but T liked working with his partner because it helped him get the work done. I think this is an evaluation that could be used to help students really look at themselves and how they work with others but another thought is to use it to create partnerships for future projects.

All-Share: We will try a version of what Ms. Miller is calling “entrance slips.” This strategy will help when we get unequal participation in class. It’s almost like a KWL to build background knowledge. But because of  her schedule and this class schedule I am unable to report how this went over, so to speak.

Unit plan using Graphic organizer (The Four Learning Styles)

The current unit covers both scientific method and the physics of simple motion.

Lab #1 was used to walk students through the scientific method, making a hypothesis, identifying variables, collecting data, and comparing results with the hypothesis.
I differentiated this lab in several ways, breaking it into two parts:  First, for the Intravert-Sensing students I provided the procedure for the first part of the lab. in writing, and we demonstrated the procedure, which had a simple prediction to make and an easily predictable answer.  Students then read through a scenario about another student who took the next step, modifying their technique to study a different question.  After responding to this hypothetical scenario, students were given the opportunity to test it out for themselves in the second part.
The second part of the lab provided students with two options. The first was a guided inquiry task, in which the procedure was scripted for Sensing students to follow, while the other option was an open inquiry task, allowing the Thinking students to choose their own independent and dependent variables to employ, while still assessing the same learning targets

The first week of the physics unit seems very easy for many students, but it is crucial as a foundation for later learning.  I began several sections of the unit with an admonition to be sure they didn’t take these early weeks too lightly, explaining how they fit into a bigger picture, which the Extravert-Sensing students are looking for.   After introducing concepts of distance and displacement in class, students engaged in a lab activity that allowed the students (E-S) to apply the learning immediately, moving around and working in groups.

When students in one class largely did not complete the weekend assignment, I gave a review/reteaching task and allowed them to choose to work alone or in groups to finish it, allowing both Introverts and Extraverts to engage it in their preferred method, either independently or corporately.  Students who had completed their assignment were allowed to choose to either do the review task or work together to begin the evening’s speed/velocity questions, even thought the concepts had not yet been introduced.  This gave them a chance to try to do the learning on their own if they chose, before the rest of the class caught up with them at the end of the period.

It seemed as thought these lesson plans worked fairly well with the targeted groups in terms of in-class completion of assignments.  With some classes, poor work ethic keeps them from doing anything once class is over, so it’s hard to tell whether a benefit was seen on those assignments.

Classroom Management Strategies

I have one class in particular that is stacked with a good number of freshmen who have yet to develop the study skills and self-discipline expected at the high school level.  They tend to do little homework, seldom attempt to prepare for upcoming assessments outside of class, and have tepid response to instructions to transition in class (take out your notebooks, move to this location, put on safety glasses, etc.)

Several of the strategies for “students that struggle to complete work” were similar to a strategy I already had attempted, having them set their own new year’s resolution after doing some reflection on their past performance.  I have not seen a notable change from most students, so I’m reluctant to try a similar thing again.  I may, however, have them write down their choice when given options on future assignments, which was another recommendation.

In order to prompt this slow-moving class to transition more urgently, I tried drawing the “if there’s time” line on the agenda in the class, with the rewarding promise of a video if we were efficient in getting the other work done.  Long story short, it didn’t work.  Not only did we not get past the “if there’s time” line, the students were so unprepared for class and had such poor recall of the previous week’s lesson and activity that we weren’t able to accomplish even the first item on the agenda.  We were supposed to prepare students with information to be used on a lab the next class, and we had to bump the whole plan another class ahead.  None of them argued when I announced it  or complained about missing the movie, but I don’t know if this was the result of the agenda.  Regardless, I’ll be trying this one more in the future.

With the same class, I gave a remediation activity for them to work on in small groups.  Because many of the students tend to dally and not begin work in that class, I set an end time for them and also used verbal progress markers, noting out loud where most of the groups were in the process and giving cues to skip to the the next section, even if they weren’t finished the current one, so they could get some experience with different problem types.  This seemed to be really effective.  They all seemed to move through at a similar pace and got the gist of the skill being assessed.

Graphic Organizer

I made a graphic organizer that could be used as a paper quiz, or a laminated study tool for the scientific method. Unfortunately it won’t copy and paste from google or Word into the blog.  This will be brought to our next class if it will print.