If you can Reach Them You can Teach Them!

It amazes me how far and wide the Type message can spread and how valuable it is to so many. The Association for Psycholgical Type’s aspirations to ’value difference and realise human potential’ is at its most potent in the classrooms of New Zealand, and around the world, where young minds are developing and our future generation is maturing under the guidance of their teachers. What a responsibility!

It takes only a slight tickle on the surface for the type related memories from our own childhood schooling to emerge. This tickle can have us smiling, giggling, rolling around laughing, or rolling our eyes, cringing or weeping at the recollections of how Type clearly affected our lives in these early stages.

Ask any group two simple questions, “What did you enjoy about school?” and “ What got you into trouble?” and a wide range of memories will be jolted and experiences shared.

For my own part I think I was born for school. I loved it from the start. The routine, the schedule, the system, the goals measures and targets, the class full of people. I was as happy as a lamb in springtime. My favourite day was the day we were given our timetable for the year – yay! I now knew where I would be on each day. I even took a brief case to primary school with my pencil case all sorted with pencils and felt tips all in order of colour. I didn’t think there was anything strange about this until two years ago at the APTi conference in Dallas I happened to mention this to Jane Kise, a lovely lady and a specialist in teaching type to educators. She leaned forward, her jaw had dropped slightly, her eyes twinkled, and she said in her lovely soft American accent “Can I use that one?” I gave her my permission, of course. Needless to say you may all ‘use it’ too as I’ve now realised how chronic my ESTJ behaviour truly is!

What did I get in trouble for? Well I remember being sent off the netball court because I thought the umpire hadn’t quite mastered the rules of the game (which I had) and she wasn’t appreciating my suggestions to do some revision. Can anyone spot some extraverted thinking in there somewhere? Well…perhaps just a little.

What makes my school experience all the more interesting is that my twin sister is an INFP who hated school as much as I loved it. Can you imagine how difficult this was for her? Sadly this passed me by (more ESTJ behaviour) and I have since apologised for being so hopelessly inconsiderate of her feelings (for which I have been forgiven!).

Another activity which I love doing with teachers is to ask them to look at groups of words which motivate sensing students and words that motivate intuiting students. Then ask the two groups to scan the words of their opposite preference and explain which ones makes them shudder, and why. Take a look at the lists and try this out before you read on.

Sensing – Motivating Words:

Identify List Label Describe
Name Notice Observe Apply
Analyse Graph Examine Work
Prepare Sort Organise Complete
Answer Listen Build Demonstrate
Assemble Make Show Figure out
Touch Solve Construct Examine

Intuiting – Motivating Words:

Design Consider Evaluate Speculate
Dream Predict Pretend Brainstorm
Create Elaborate Illustrate Connect
Compare Contrast Compose Discover
Generate Visualise Experiment Hypothesise
Invent Develop Find a new way to…

Here are some comments I have had in the past from those who prefer Intuiting about Sensing words:

  • List – Yuk, tedious. Bored already.
  • Complete – What? You mean now?
  • Indentify –Isn’t it obvious?
  • Examine – For heaven’s sake!
  • Sort – It just makes me feel nauseous.
  • Observe – And then what?

Here are some comments from those who prefer Sensing  about Intuiting words:

  • Pretend – Oh puh-lease!
  • Discover – Why don’t you just tell me the answer, I’ll memorise it and then I’ll pass the test – easy!
  • Create – From what? How?
  • Find a new way to… – Why?
  • Visualise – Can’t you just show me? That would work better!
  • Predict – Do you mean guess? How is that going to work?

It is often said that “When the pupil is ready the teacher appears.” It is worth giving this a little thought. In my experience of working in schools, teachers are ready to learn about Type. When they hear about it for the first time they are like sponges soaking up this information, in many cases somewhat bewildered that they haven’t come across this before. They love their work. Let’s face it, most of them are not in it for the money, and they love knowing about a reliable personality framework that helps them connect better with the kids and that improves their ability to learn. However the opportunity to take this valuable knowledge on board and incorporate it in their already hectic schedule has not been available to them. I would so love this to be available to the teachers of New Zealand. The title of this article and of my presentation goes for the teachers as well as the students “If we can reach them we can teach them.” Reaching them is the challenge that I will continue to take up. If anyone wishes to join me then please be in touch, it would be great to have some company on the journey. There is so much to do!