Saturday, 22 September 2012

Kids ... MBTI ....Winnie the Pooh?

I was asked by one of my granddaughters aged 7 to do a test to determine my preferred learning style. Her school are using four characters from Winnie the Pooh to determine how best each child learns. Apparently this is universally adopted and as you go into a classroom you can immediately see the preference of each child. All the children know the profile of their teachers, plus the head teacher, and they even run sessions for the parents to find out their profiles.Rather cleverly they have used the middle two letters of Myers Briggs, known as the functions, to identify learning styles.

From wikipedia

According to the Myers-Briggs typology model, each person uses one of these four functions more dominantly and proficiently than the other three; however, all four functions are used at different times depending on the circumstances.

SN - Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted. Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible, and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches, which seem to come "out of nowhere".[1]:2 They prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. For them, the meaning is in the underlying theory and principles which are manifested in the data.

TF - Thinking and feeling are the decision-making (judging) functions. The thinking and feeling functions are both used to make rational decisions, based on the data received from their information-gathering functions (sensing or intuition). Those who prefer thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent, and matching a given set of rules. Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathising with the situation, looking at it 'from the inside' and weighing the situation to achieve, on balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people involved. Thinkers usually have trouble interacting with people who are inconsistent or illogical, and tend to give very direct feedback to others. They are concerned with the truth and view it as more important than being tactful.

As noted already, people who prefer thinking do not necessarily, in the everyday sense, "think better" than their feeling counterparts; the opposite preference is considered an equally rational way of coming to decisions (and, in any case, the MBTI assessment is a measure of preference, not ability). Similarly, those who prefer feeling do not necessarily have "better" emotional reactions than their thinking counterparts.

How does this translate into learning preferences?
Back to Winnie
Now as interpreted for children.

  • EEYORE - Rational. Based on Myers Briggs NT, students like serious, knowledgeable classrooms.

  • POOH - Idealist. Based on Myers Briggs NF students tend to like harmonious, nurturing classrooms.
  • PIGLET - Guardian. Based on Myers Briggs ST they like structured, traditional classrooms.
  • TIGGER - Artisan. Based on Myers Briggs SF, they like exciting, accepting classrooms
I think what a great way to make sure young minds are fully engaged in the learning process, and a superb way of enlisting parents as part of the overall nurturing process.

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