First thoughts about Type Theory

The first three chapters of Differentiation through Personality Types by Jane Kise were very insightful. I could not agree more with the idea that you cannot teach until you know yourself as a learner. I always thought I was one type of learner, but as I have grown and matured I have finally found what I thought was my niche, but it just ended up being my type.

I found my type to be ENFP or extravert, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. I completely agree with Kise’s assessment of how teachers teach the way they learn. I find myself reflecting on my teaching daily now. I am now aware that I am most likely reaching the students who are my type, and only checking in with others. I am making it my goal to push my comfort zone and reach all of my students at least one of their preferences each class.

 I have a unique situation where I teach three students, and work as a paraprofessional with a dozen others closely. For these fifteen students I now have the ability to see how type really works on a small, zoomed in frame. Rather than having fifty to one hundred students I can start to experiment with type in my daily tasks and see what works and what does not work. I am always working on new ways to differentiate, what better way than to play into student preferences to improve student learning and help them better than achieve flow in their academics. I am hoping to use type to help me implement better techniques for classroom management, academic enrichment and accelerating, working with challenging students and building relationships with students.

“Type theory holds that we have similar personality preferences for how we gain energy, take in information, make decisions, approach life”. (Kise, p. 10) I now see this in my students every day, even in myself. I am an extravert, and I gain energy from being outside, from being in the middle of an activity, from teaching and having my controlled chaos. Even on days when I am just exhausted from everything, I get into school and love having all of the noise and students completing their morning or afternoon routines, running around at recess, or hard at work in the classroom.

Type is already opening doors to paths for differentiation I would have never thought of on my own. Sometimes differentiation can seem like a huge daunting task, but Kise puts it in a way that makes it simpler to look it. Kise has created a framework to be implemented and tailored to fit in every classroom. I am glad to have the opportunity to start using it in mine.

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3 responses to “First thoughts about Type Theory

  1. You’ve said some things in your post that delight me, and that reveal great insights into your teaching. First, I love this: “what better way [to differentiate] than to play into student preferences . . .” The key word there is PLAY. When brains are at play they will learn well; it doesn’t get any better than that.
    I’m glad that you find Kise’s instructions helpful and easy to follow. Remember that there are more extraverts in the world than introverts, so you are already reaching many of your kids before you begin changing anything. It sounds like you are headed for really rewarding experiences in your classroom — keep on going!

  2. Peggy Shafer

    Your statement “Remember that there are more extraverts in the world than introverts” made me laugh. When I was a beginning teacher the noise in the classroom exhausted me and I guess it still does but to a lesser degree.
    Being an introvert there is nothing better than the quiet at the end of the day.

    Reading through the chapter “Who You Are is How You Teach” I found that I definitely teach to my type more often than not. The unexpected thing is that I’ve also found that I have adjusted my teaching to include the other traits that are foreign to me. I still require quiet as I am giving instructions but I’ve added a “word of the day” for students to understand when I’m done. I’ve found it helps them to focus on the instructions and gives them the signal to begin the work of the day. I always give a quick overview of the activities of the day and I find if I have to give more than two or three sentences (remember I am a computer teacher so many days are a “get to work day”) I will mention that I need 5 or 10 minutes to give instructions. Student who can see the clock easily do check the time and can get irritated if questions from other students make me go over time. It was nice to recognize that I have changed for student needs but there is more work still to be done.

    These are the traps I still fall head first into. I chose one from each personality type:
    Offer too much nonspecific praise
    Mistake the Extraverted need to share thoughts as rude blurting-out
    See a student’s need for clarity as a lack of creativity
    Under or overestimate how long activities might take

    Even after almost 27 years of teaching I find that I still need to improve but I don’t find it irritating. I believe that I’m a better teacher because I enjoy the process of meeting more of the students needs.

  3. The biggest surprise about type theory for me is that I am actually an introvert. I love the hustle and bustle of the classroom and enjoy interacting with my second grade students. Noise doesn’t bother me at all. Marilyn pointed out to me though that because I grew up in a large family I was used to all the chaos……

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