Personality Dimensions® – Circle of Teaching
Personality Dimensions® is a method of presenting theories about personality temperament. It helped me to understand not only my preferences in terms of learning and teaching, but even more so, this tool helped me to construct my lessons with diverse learning styles in mind.
This system helped me to understand the different temperaments that students may have, and their preferred methods of learning. As a starting point, it helped me to be more aware of the differences between introverts and extroverts in the classroom. Being an extrovert myself, it was enlightening to see things from a new perspective. The system poses four colours to describe temperament preferences: Inquiring Green, Authentic Blue, Resourceful Orange and Organized gold. Everyone poses each of the colours to varying degrees, and knowing your own colours helps to plan lessons and projects that will appeal to all learners. This tool helped me to understand myself and my biases, and adjust them accordingly to appeal to a wider audience of students.
Describe your design. How is it similar or different from your personal circle How does it inform your teaching style so far?
My design is very blue unlike my initial personal design. With students I find that I am a lot more sensitive to their feelings and emotional needs and I display a lot more patience than I have for adults’ emotional needs (Michael Tudor, Practical Classroom Strategies p.78). I also get very emotionally attached to my students, especially the under achievers and disadvantaged students. For this reason, the main colour in the centre of my picture is a blue heart. My lessons are very organised and are completed well in advance. I never try to wing things. My gold tendencies are very strong when it comes to work and school, however gold was my least dominant temperament on my personal colour spectrum (Tudor p.78). In other areas of my life I often fly by the seat of my pants, but when it comes to teaching I often plan in advance for months at a time. This is reflected in the yellow background and gold star. My lessons also reflect my green temperament as they are really focused on looking at the big picture, thinking critically and applying the lessons to their lives in an interesting fashion (Tudor p.78). This is why green is also dominant in my picture. Green is my most dominant temperament in my personal circle, and I would say is tied for dominance with blue when it comes to my teaching style. Finally, orange which is my second most dominant temperament in my personal circle is now my least dominant. I do believe to some degree that school should be structured and have routines and this has caused my gold and orange temperaments to swap dominance on my teaching circle. The green thought bubble represents my focus on making clear links between curriculum and real life, much like greens like to do (Tudor p.78). It begs the question “so what?!” and it is important for me that students know why they are learning a particular topic. The gold star also represents my desire for them to learn the importance of being organised and taking initiative and ownership of their learning (Tudor p.78). Lastly, I want them to explore their own unique personalities and think outside the box, which is represented by the powerful lightning bolts and orange at the centre of the heart. The blue heart is the largest shape as I want to help them be sensitive and kind to each other, and to create an atmosphere in which they can thrive knowing that I care about them as individuals and respect their feelings. I take great personal interest in the lives of my students and this is represented by the blue (Tudor p.78). Essentially, my personal circle indicated that green followed by orange are my dominant colours, with blue and gold falling behind in that order. My teaching circle has very strong blue temperaments that are closely tied to green, followed by gold and finally orange. For that reason, my designs are very different, almost the opposite from one another in certain aspects.
Describe the area of teaching you have enjoyed the most so far.
My favourite area of teaching is the interaction with the students and creating interesting, relevant and stimulating lessons. Sitting in class and observing for the first two days of practicum was absolutely painful for me as I was just yearning to get to know the students and take an active role in their learning. I leave a class feeling accomplished after my students have a rigorous debate or discussion that allows them to develop critical thinking skills and that forces them to question things that are presented as facts. I try to bring in as much outside information, and pieces that demonstrate various and often extreme opinions just to get them talking and rattle them. I aim to present it in provocative and engaging ways so that students want to pay attention. It is in high school that I found my passion for development students and human rights, and I would love to be able to spark that kind of emotion in my students. I absolutely love to see them get excited and witness the light bulbs start to go off. I enjoy the curiosity that comes with teenagers and their unapologetic honesty; it is refreshing and often allows me to go home and smile upon reflecting on the day.
Identify any connections you see between this area of teaching and the strength and preferences of your colour spectrum or plaid.
My preferences seem consistent with my green temperament. Michael Tudor states that greens often bring in outside research and utilise a lot of discussion (Tudor p. 78). It also aligns with the statement that greens expect and encourage critical thinking (Tudor p. 78). In terms of connecting with students I also really emphasize relationships with my students and this is consistent with blue teachers (Tudor p. 78). The agenda may get sidetracked if good discussions and learning are taking place. I value their opinions and want everyone to feel cared about and special in my class, which aligns with a blue temperament.
Describe any teaching responsibility or situation you don’t like so far.
The situation that I find myself most uncomfortable when other teachers or administrators talk negatively about students. It breaks my heart and makes my blood boil when people write off students without really getting to know what is going on in their lives that may be causing their unpleasant behaviour. I found a lot of teacher talk and complaining about various individuals and their “inability” to perform up to their imposed expectations. Some children will never be valedictorians, but they can be confident and proud young adults that are sent into the world with their heads high. Teachers play an active role in shaping students’ lives. I know this because it happened for me. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable to see veteran teachers talk so negatively about the profession. I realise that I am a fresh new teacher and come in with a blank slate, but I have worked in the private sector and know that no job is perfect.
Identify any connections you see between this situation and your spectrum or plaid.
Having a somewhat snobby and sarcastic green temperament I can understand these thought processes and the need of teachers to vent (Tudor p. 83). However, I think that children and teenagers should be immune from judgement and criticism as they are not fully formed and still very impressionable. I never thought that my blue temperaments would shine through so strongly when it comes to dealing with students. I have heard a lot of teacher talk about students being “write-offs”, “hopeless” and unmentionable cuss words. This unwillingness to dig deeper into the lives of students is what truly makes me uncomfortable around a group of teachers discussing their classes. I tend to reach out to the “challenging” or “weak” kids and try to get to know them as people and really take a personal interest in their growth and motivating them. I care a lot about their feelings and really try to appreciate them, thank them and make them feel special because you never know what is going on at home that makes a student act out (Tudor p. 83). Being of a green temperament also perhaps makes me take a more firm stance against this kind of talk, as greens can be opinionated and come across as cold (Tudor p.83). I find it hard to respect those that trash children and the profession.
Relate an incident or situation in which a knowledge of Personality Dimensions® assisted you during your practicum.
During practicum is the first time I actively observed and could categorize the students in my class to varying degrees based on their dominant temperaments. I realised that I need to work hardest to connect with Gold and Orange students. Gold students are a little too serious for me and also are very overly cautious when participating for fear of doing something wrong (Tudor 83). I tend to joke around in class and take a less serious approach, therefore I made a conscious effort to make them feel praised and give them positive reinforcement for the tasks they were working on. I also made sure that they could access all class materials at their leisure from home so that they didn’t feel overwhelmed at school. At the other end of the spectrum, Orange students wanted everything to be fun and active (Tudor p. 83). While I wholeheartedly agree that learning should be fun, there is just some material that frankly is boring and must be taught. I found it a struggle to engage them when I had important information I had to deliver lecture style in preparation for an upcoming test. Learning about the various temperaments has helped me to recognise student needs and realise that if one approach is not working, then I can try a variety of others that may click with the student. I am more aware of myself, my biases, strengths and weaknesses and I undoubtedly believe that learning about Personality Dimensions® has helped me create better lessons that are more widely useful and helped me to better understand the needs of individuals in order to help them reach their full potential.