After reading Chapters 1 through 3, I will never look at alphabet soup the same way again! I too, will be making up some flash cards to help me sort this information out. A matching exercise with graphics should be helpful. We’ll see how that goes. . . Big ideas. The bigger question is, will I follow through?
Being a newcomer to all this information, and having to figure out where I fit into the scheme of differentiation, little did I know that, yes, I will follow through with this plan and assignment because of my personality type. After all these years I understand why I constantly hounded both daughters about the importance of their homework assignments, and now continue the inquisition with both granddaughters. As best as I can discern from Chapters 1 through 3, I am this: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging. And it seems as if I am in good company. On page 21 of Kise’s book, the graph (McCaulley 1993) shows that 17.9% of elementary teachers and 13.8% of the general population share this combination of attributes – the largest statistical group on the page. So then I asked myself (a sprinkling of thinking and intuitiveness playing into my understanding), is being part of the largest population of similar personality types a good thing for education as a whole?
Analyzing the rest of the data, I am thankful that there are some respectable percentages of extraverts (12.4% ESFJ and 10.2% ENFP) thrown into the academia mix. Further number- crunching led me to this: Adding up the data totals and comparing teacher percentages to the percentages in the general population delineated just through Introverted and Extraverted types, the results were almost 50/50 for both: General population: I = 50.7% E = 49.4% for a total of 100.1% and Teachers I = 48.3% E = 51.6% for a total of 99.9%. It’s interesting to see that humanity is evenly split on the playing field no matter where we are when it comes to this generalization, but the driving forces in creating our multi-faceted beings are the dominant functions: Sensing, Intuition, Thinking and Feeling (Kise 21). I am still not quite there in sorting out the information in the footnote at the bottom of page 21. Alphabet soup. Perhaps this matching exercise I think I’m going to do will help me with that!
After working in the Weare school system over half my life, I know the extraverts and introverts (past and present) well. Their contributions to our school community were and are laudable, but for some, I would label them (gasp) NI for needs improvement (myself included). Call me judgmental, but there’s always room for improvement. This is true in any profession. What matters is if people are willing to enhance and expand their social and professional skills through open-mindedness and self-discovery. It can be uncomfortable and unnerving, but what better way to start on this journey than knowing what makes you tick.
The data on the graph clearly indicates that collaboration among educators can be and is contentious at times when opposite personalities try to hash out methodology and best practices, for example. I have helped students and worked side by side with teachers in classrooms where interdisciplinary teams were very tight-knit, trusting, and collaborative. I have also walked on eggshells among teaching teams whose relationships were cordial, at best. Throw a paraprofessional into the fray, and it can make for a very long year for all involved- especially the students! Talk about perception. The kids see it, feel it, and are affected by it. This is an enigma that has always been a head-scratcher for me – If the teachers and paras have difficulty respecting each other, working collaboratively and being receptive to new ideas, how on Earth do they expect their students to pull it off? Becoming familiar with the complexities of personality types would certainly help in classroom dynamics and give everyone (hopefully) what they need to be successful partners in a professional learning community.