The Teacher Is In: Personality Edition



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    Nice post!

    Personally I find the ideas of

    Kieran Egan:

    and Lev Vygotsky:

    to be very interesting.Report

  2. Avatar Morzer says:

    Myers-Briggs is a notoriously silly way of assessing personality, which, when you consider how it originated in crude dichotomies concocted by an unqualified mother-in-law, is entirely unsurprising. Presumably none of those touting it have ever stopped to wonder why Myers-Briggs never gives anyone bad news about their personality. Frankly, you might as well whip out a deck of tarot cards as put any stock in its Chicken Soup For The Credulously Self-Assessing Soul.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Morzer says:

      In response to Jaybird’s request, I took an unofficial Myers-Briggs test online. I hated that the format was all “Yes/No” as a lot of my answers were “Well, it depends…” My wife was frustrated by it because she felt that she displayed one personality in her professional life and one in her personal life so it, too, was hard for her to answer without nuance. I will say that when we read the results, there were some uproariously hilarious accuracies, but overall, it read much like a horoscope where there was just enough of everything to read into it and make it seem highly personal.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Morzer says:

      I like Myers-Briggs. It’s only a first approximation, obviously, but it does lay out how different aspects of a personality can interact with each other.

      No bad news? I don’t think that’s true at all. SP’s are depicted as trouble-makers, SJ’s have a stick up their tochas, NF’s are basket cases, and NT’s are dead inside. I exaggerate, but it really does depend on how you look at it. The fundamental insight of personality typing is both optimistic and pessimistic: we really do approach things so differently that it takes an effort to even comprehend another person’s though process, but it is possible to comprehend it.

      I think that for me, as an NT or an intellectual or whatever you want to call it, it helps to have a mental chart. A more emotionally-oriented person could look at Myers-Briggs and laugh at it, but that’s because they’re better able to intuit other people’s thinking.Report

  3. Avatar mike shupp says:

    Morzer & Kazzy: I think you’re asking for a bit much here. The whole point of Myer-Briggs “analysis” is to drop people into a dozen or so (well, 16) “crude” categories based on simple dichotomies. You’re an ENTJ! So maybe it means something, and maybe it’s like saying “Oh, you’re tall and literate and athletic and homoerotic”!

    I’m sure you’d like to believe you have other defining characteristics, and nobody is denying that. Expecting a quick and dirty half hour self exam to reveal “bad news” about one’s personality in some sort of detail seems unreasonable.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to mike shupp says:


      As noted in the post, I wasn’t really familiar with MB until getting this question outside of knowing that it was a form of a personality test. Your assessment of it seems fair. My criticism of it would be less of the test itself and more of those who hold it up as more than it is, which is the impression I’ve gotten from some of the literature. It’s not the tool that is the problem, but how it is wielded.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to mike shupp says:

      You obviously have never scored highly on the Suspicious of Tests scale.
      There are plenty of tests that give bad news (you’re paranoid, you’ve got anger issues, you’re scoring highly on Type A hostility, it’s heart attack central for you).Report

  4. Avatar ktward says:

    Awesome post, Mr. Kazzy.

    First, the bulk of my curriculum is focused on social-emotional development. I view this as my foremost charge in the education of young children. Helping them develop skills related to self-advocacy, conflict negotiation, problem solving, frustration tolerance, fostering positive social interactions and relationships, managing emotions, etc. is core to my work. As I learn each student, I must tailor how I teach them these skills accordingly.

    Indeed. You’ll correct me if I’m wrong of course, but I’m betting that class size is your number one concern.

    By now, you’ve probably learned that MBTI has zero application to kids. It’s administered professionally and largely used to help assess “fit” of a potential employee. There are other applications of MBTI, but none of them involve kids.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to ktward says:

      Hey Kay-Tward 🙂

      Thanks. Class size is a tricky element. On the one hand, a smaller class allows me to get to know each student better. However, too small a class and the social opportunities available to the students is limited and the ability for any one child to domineer or tip the social dynamic too far is too great. At my current school, I’ve had 13 kids each of the three years I’ve been there. To me, that is too small. I just think you need to see a certain critical mass. Elsewhere, I’ve taught classes of 15, 18, 18, and 17. The 15 number has always felt perfect. Eighteen was very workable at one school, where I was well supported to support and know all my students. At another, it was a nightmare, because I was overwhelmed by the individual and collective needs present in the group and given no support to meet them.

      Now, to many, these numbers might seem like a pipe dream. I don’t know a lot of numbers on public prekindergarten programs because there aren’t a ton of them, but it isn’t uncommon for public kindergartens to push into the mid or even high 20s. Or some of the smaller programs are often half-day programs, where a teacher will actually have two different classes, one in the AM, one in the PM, each smaller but less time overall.

      All of this is to say that, yes, class size matters, but there isn’t a true magic number and that there are a variety of other factors that factor in. And less is not always better.Report