Differentiating learning is used to try and create learning that meets the needs of a variety of students. Sometimes however hard one tries, there is still the student or students that seem to be unreachable. They are the students that make it hard to “get” what it is that they don’t “get”. This is frustrating. It may be that the teacher hasn’t figured out what makes that student learn, or maybe it’s because that teacher’s learning style is so different from the student that they can’t seem to find common ground to move forward on. Differentiating using personality types may be a model of instruction that could bridge that gap.
My teaching experiences include teaching 2nd and 3rd grade in elementary school, grades 5, 7, and 8 in middle school. Although I spent time teaching all core subjects I spent most of my time teaching 7th and 8th grade science. Currently I teach middle school health. I see every student throughout the year. All classes are heterogeneously grouped. All assignments are done in class. No intervention time is provided and no homework is given. Still, under these circumstances engagement and learning must take place.
Looking at personality types is an exciting new way to think about differentiating instruction. It will challenging but intriguing to watch my students and try to determine how they gain energy, take in information, make decisions and approach life. Even more interesting will be in understanding my preferences and watching how that effects my interaction with students who share similar preferences as well as those who don’t. Lessons can then be adjusted and created to hopefully create that “flow” that Kise describes in chapter 1.
I’m concerned that I will not spend enough time with all the students to be able to determine their personality types. I see 160 different students every two days. Each student only spends 30 days each year in my class. That’s 120 days in four years. I’m already finding it difficult to retrieve their names on a daily basis. This will be a challenge. Regardless of whether or not I can match personality types to the personalities; I can begin to restructure lessons that allow for accommodating the different personality types.
I’m still struggling with the results of my own personality type. I can’t decide how correct it is. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a natural personality type, one that describes me as a student, and I have a learned one that describes me as a teacher. The MBTI assessment is mostly correct. According to Kise these results are not black and white. I may be mostly judging in that I like clear expectations, guidelines and goals so that I know what to plan for, yet I tend to wait until the last minute to complete projects like a perceiving type. That pressure of a deadline close by seems to drive my creativity and decision making. I believe I am an introvert as the assessment says, yet as a teacher I tend to have many extravert tendencies. If you were to ask those that work with me they would laugh to think of me as an introvert. As I further understand this personality “map”, I will be able to define it more carefully as I consider how my preferences play out in my teaching.