After reading about the preferred learning styles of children, it got my brain churning about the Myers-Briggs personality test my cousin did with me a couple of years back. The Myers-Briggs personality test assesses you based on your instinctive preferences. As with all things, we can all modify our behaviours to adapt to different situations that life presents us though we may not prefer to do so. For instance, an introverted person could learn to speak well in public and seem at ease doing so but that doesn’t change the fact that the introverted person would prefer not to speak in public. Based on the Myers-Briggs personality test, that person would still be identified as introverted because that is his or her inherent personality.
Although we can all learn to adapt, we can safely assume that we would very likely perform better in areas that meet our preferences and find it a lot easier. The benefit of understanding your Myers-Briggs personality is that you can maximise your potential by utilising learning methods that appeal to your personality type, or select careers that you are most comfortable with. This is similar to how understanding your child’s preferred learning style can help you present new materials in the manner which they absorb best.
Based on the Myer-Briggs personality types, my cousin illustrated the differences between her daughter, A, and her nephew, J, who were only one month apart in age. A adored reading books and was very creative in her perception of objects. For instance, she would look at a pear and say it was also a “hot air balloon” because a pear turned upside down had a similar shape to a hot air balloon. J, on the other hand, hated books, but he loved doing things with his hands. From an early age, he could operate the TV, DVD player and most other electronic items when other children would be baffled by all the buttons.
It is worthwhile assessing your child’s Myers-Briggs personality type because it helps you figure out what methods of learning works best for your child. This will also help you understand why your child might be experiencing learning difficulties in the school system although he or she is bright. Unfortunately, IQ tests and the school system tend to favour the learning styles of certain personality types over others. This causes the children who do not conform to appear “less intelligent” when it isn’t necessarily true.
For instance, children who learn best through “doing” may find it difficult to learn in an abstract environment of text books that present concepts and ideas. While those children who are primarily visual excel in IQ tests which present information that caters to their preferences.
To extrapolate this even further, let me use an example of something I heard a while back. While researching early childhood education programs, I came across the flashcard methods of Glenn Doman and Shichida. The idea was to capitalise on the right brain usage of young children by present flash cards with information in rapid succession. This in turn stimulates the neurons in the brain to form connections (connective pathways) which translates to “intelligence”.
A friend of mine related to me how she knew a mother who used the Glenn Doman method with her children. The interesting thing was that her son lapped up the information really well but at two years old, her daughter started begging her mother to stop the flash cards because she hated them.
The Glenn Doman philosophy is that you should only present the flash cards when your child is receptive and not force the learning process if your child is not enjoying it. From this, you could assume one of two things:
1. The mother presented the flash cards in a manner that worked with her son but did not agree with her daughter; or
2. Her daughter’s personality type did not like new information and material presented in such a manner. Perhaps she is a tactile individual who learns better through “doing” rather than “seeing”.
Unfortunately, the Myers-Briggs personality test is not very accurate for a young child. There is an online Myers-Briggs personality test for children which is recommended only for children age 7 to 12 years old. That said, you could still take a guess at what your child’s personality type might be tending towards. Alternatively, you could refer to the more simplistic method of identifying your child’s learning style.
What do you think is your child’s personality type?