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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

6 Results tagged "Encouragement"

Learning Styles
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TAGS: Procrastination, Class Participation, Differences, Encouragement, Homework, Learning, Problem Solving, Self-Management, Teenagers

Learning Styles – Meeting the Needs of the Student

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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In addition to being a parent, I am a teacher. I taught middle and high school for several years. Math and Health were the main subjects assigned to me. Everyone loved health class, as we could talk about so many topics relevant and important to the kids (the Alberta health curriculum rocks!).

Math on the other hand was always a challenge. Not every child likes math. My philosophy and mission was that math is fun and it was my job to demonstrate that to the students. Often it was the kids who struggled to understand math concepts who hated it, so how could I better help them to learn those concepts?

I developed several math games (ex: GeoGolf which taught geometry through game play), brought in cross curricular projects (ex: math poetry), and most important of all, reminded them consistently that if they were really trying and still didn't get it, that it wasn't them, it was me.

As a teacher, I firmly believe that I need to teach in a way that reaches each student. In other words, I need to teach you in the way you learn best, which means I need many tools in my math tool box to express a concept in a variety of ways. I still remember Ryan. Ryan needed extra time to complete tests. I knew many teachers at the time who enforced "when time is up it is up," regardless of whether you had finished. I could never understand this, since we were testing an understanding of the concepts and not how fast you could process the questions.

For Ryan, I gave extra time, and anyone else who might have needed it, but for him, this made the difference between passing or failing. Much of math is formulaic and laid out in a structured way. Some kids loved this and if I could give them step by step directions, they excelled.

Not Dean. He spent more time coming up with creative solutions to those same problems, finding the right answer but in a completely different way. I loved his imagination and the ingenuity of his solutions. Rather than knock him for his creative methods, I would have him explain them, at times even to the whole class, which not only gave him confidence, but also helped others who needed a different approach to aid in their understanding.


Homework was another potent topic. Why do hundreds of questions if you already get the concept? Some kids needed repetitive practice to drive home the process, whereas others got it quickly. Giving plenty of class time to complete work, allowed many students to finish before heading out to extra-curricular activities and other after school commitments.

There is a balance. If you choose to waste time in class, then time will be made up at home completing those assignments. My point in all of this is just how important it is to honor different learning styles through an understanding of personality. Some kids need to see the value in solving math problems, whereas others enjoy the analytical experience.

Formulas, step-by-step details, and facts appeal to some, whereas an imaginative approach with many possibilities excites others.

Time management is a big deal in school, especially considering the incredibly busy lives so many of our kids lead. Clearly, some kids like structure, using a planner to organize their daily activities and homework assignments, and we know many who don't. I have both in my house! I will be honest, as a planner myself, I find those kids the easiest to work with in helping them succeed in school.

Yet I do admire my more spontaneous kids who tend to take it all in stride, procrastinating until the final moment then pulling off a dynamic feat in the end. As frustrating as that can be for me, I can't help but appreciate this talent and ability. Until... their brilliance culminates and finally bursts forth a plan, only to realize that the items needed are still in the stores, which closed hours ago. Sigh... There is never a dull moment, as a parent or a teacher! Appreciate differences, appreciate differences, appreciate differences: my daily mantra.


You can learn more about the individual personality type of your kids and students by having them take the MMTIC® assessment. Get a better understanding of your own preferences by taking the MBTI® assessment.



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TAGS: Encouragement, parenting, Resilience, Self-awareness, Self-Management

Monday Selfies: Telling Children They are Wonderful without Teaching Them How to Become Wonderful is Unfair

Elizabeth Murphy, Ed.D.
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Ed.D., is a psychologist and type expert whose research focuses on verifying the development of normal personality differences according to the theory of psychological type. She works extensively with families and teams of people to improve communication and resolve relationship needs.
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We tell children so often that they are wonderful just being who they are but they don't always feel wonderful. Many worry greatly about how others perceive them and do not have a sense of what others see.

Some children focus only on their flaws. Others notice only their strengths. Development means we all may have moments when our way is a perfect match for the situation. Then there are the times when our way does not work well for the task at hand and we must accommodate.

Telling children they are wonderful without teaching them how to become wonderful is unfair. We are all born with potential but it needs nurturing.

Children make comments like, "I can't watch me because I am sure I am horrible" or "I don't know if I played well or not; what do you think?" These comments signal a need to help the child develop a realistic perspective of his or her strengths and stretches.

Child comments like these typically evoke parental responses such as: "No, you did a great job" or "Of course I thought you were great. Don't you realize how good you are?"

These comments may be reassuring but do not help the child to develop a personal sense of self-awareness. Instead you might respond: "I accept your self-perception. My impression was different but you have a right to your viewpoint. Tell me, what was good about your effort and what is one thing you would do differently if you had the opportunity."


Some children will start with the negative first and list 10 things. Take them back to one. Ask them to mentally rank everything and share the one thing that limited their success. Then go on to naming what the child thought was well done. Some may hesitate here. Try turning it into a game.

Ask the child to pretend he is the teacher and he has to give feedback to another child (not him). As the acting teacher, it is his job to notice both the positive points and the areas for further development. He must name at least two positive areas.

No matter what the child says, accept it. Some may be sarcastic at first and say things like "he had a cool hat" or "his pencil was sharpened." Accept it. Say that you might have noticed something else but this is observation and it is his observation that will matter most.

The lesson is, good self-evaluation matters. Even if a child gets an A on a paper you can still ask her to name what she did well with her studying and what she might change next time, if anything. The entire conversation should only take three or four minutes, so it will not exhaust the child, and the talk can be frequently repeated.

If the child does not want to pretend to be the teacher, ask them to pretend they are their grandmother/father, or aunt/uncle, or neighbor. What would they observe as the strengths and growth areas of the performance. Children can sometimes see things through another set of eyes better than their own at first, and this gives them a safe outlet. Let them choose.

What if the child never identifies anything that is positive? He says he "cannot think of anything." First, divide the task into domains. If the task was reciting a poem before the class, the domains to consider could include:
  1. Comfortable stance and presence
  2. Accurate recitation of the content
  3. Connecting with the audience with eye contact and tone
  4. Appropriate closure including acknowledging audience reaction
Pick one area for focus. Say: "At your next presentation I want you to pay attention to one of these domains. You must be able to say two positive comments and one growth comment."

That way you can start by focusing on a specific area rather than responding to the overall performance. Children with a Sensing preference might find this easier because it gives direction and a frame for the process. Remember, the ultimate goal is that the child is able to identify the good, the bad, and the ugly that go with almost every performance, whether it is a science fair project, a musical performance, or an athletic performance. This will happen throughout their lives.

There are "Monday morning quarterbacks" for football games. Parent can have a "Monday (or any other day) Selfies" where the child evaluates the positive and the challenge of a particular task. After the child gets in the habit of identifying personal strengths and stretches you can move to help fine-tune the accuracy of his or her self-awareness.

Learn more about your child's type, and how that might impact their "selfie."




End of school...please!
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TAGS: Guiding, Procrastination, Boundaries, Encouragement, Homework, Learning, parenting, Teenagers, Testing

End of School, End of Report Period, End of Patience

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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There is nothing I hate worse than seeing potential wasted. Getting that dreaded email or phone call from an exasperated teacher certainly does not help the situation. 

Our school district has an online Parent Portal where parents can log in and monitor their child?s grades throughout the year. Now with five children this can become a full-time job in and of itself, so thankfully over the years there has not been a big need in my family to utilize this site, except with one child in particular. However, at the times I have checked all has seemed in order, then wham, near the end of a reporting period and definitely year end, chaos erupts! 

Year after year this has been the pattern with my daughter. Incredibly bright and high-scoring on standardized tests, yet negligent on doing homework or worse yet, doing it and not handing it in. As much as I appreciate her rationalization that doing homework is a waste of time when she already knows the material and can ace the exams, it does not help the grades. 



So far, she has been fortunate that teachers have allowed her to hand in assignments late, bringing a grade of D up to a B, although she is more than capable of an A. The anxiety in our house on that last night before graded assignments are due goes through the roof! To her credit, she will stay up all night long and get it done, but this Mom, who prides herself on structure and getting things done on time, preferably early, goes crazy in the process.

Dad, however, gets it. He has always been a procrastinator with little desire for schedules. Dad also recognizes, however, that there are times that structure and schedules are needed, and he often learned the hard way. His patience astounds me, and I for one am grateful to have him around especially at the end of the school year! 

Our daughter is going to be a Junior in high school this year, and I fear the leniency of teachers will diminish as she heads off to school, so perhaps like her dad, she will have to learn the hard way. In the meantime, I will continue to check Parent Portal and continually remind her to complete assignments and hand them in, encouraging her to keep track of assignments and due dates, and work a little each day to stay on top of things. 

Although she naturally waits until the last minute to get things done, she can learn to do them sooner, with a lot of guidance on our end. There will likely be some tough lessons in the future. But I will say this, I do admire her ability to take things in stride and get things done, even if at the very last minute.


You can learn more about the individual personality type of your kids and students by having them take the MMTIC® assessment. Get a better understanding of your own preferences by taking the MBTI® assessment.


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TAGS: Boundaries, Competition, Encouragement, Self-Management

The Challenge to Win Fairly and Lose Friendly

Elizabeth Murphy, Ed.D.
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Ed.D., is a psychologist and type expert whose research focuses on verifying the development of normal personality differences according to the theory of psychological type. She works extensively with families and teams of people to improve communication and resolve relationship needs.
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All children in elementary schools have to learn how to “win fairly and lose friendly.” The task is harder for some children than it is for others. To learn the lesson, beginning in preschool, there should be moments for winning and moments for losing. When teachers try to create an environment where “everyone wins,” children lose the opportunity to learn this skill.

The competitive child struggles most because many people misinterpret the spirit of the competitive child. They are usually not competing with the classmate as much as they are competing with themselves. It is difficult for these children to lose. They try so hard to do well and set high standards for success for themselves. When luck is involved (as it is in many card games and board games), they feel helpless to control the win. Their joy is not beating others. Their joy is in meeting their personal challenge. They want to be the best and they can become emotionally upset when they begin to lose. They are frustrated with their limitations and may react with an attack on others with comments like: “You must be cheating. This game is stupid. I don’t want to play anymore.” Losing friendly can become a real challenge.

They may need a moment alone to regain their composure when their frustration threshold is exceeded. They need to be taught that it is OK to feel badly, but there are expected social responses we need to share with the winner. Then ask if they would like to talk about a strategy to improve their chances next time. One such child was very upset playing “Clue” with the family because people were making special marks on their paper to help with guessing the solution. He did not know what they were doing or how to do it but he realized it put him “behind” in being able to guess the answers to the game of who did it, where did they do it, and with what weapon. Not being able to compete equally was frustrating. He needed to be taught the strategy of asking the right questions and keeping track of the information. Such a child would not enjoy playing a game he did not have an equal chance to win. 

Sometimes the young child will look like they are so upset. If you correct their attitude by saying, “No, you need to be able to lose sometimes because everybody loses sometimes,” that won’t comfort them. Instead, approach losing as a problem to be solved. Use active listening to hear the emotion the child is sharing. “So, today wasn’t your best day ever. If you were going to do the same thing tomorrow, what would you do differently to get a better outcome? What would you change about it?” We want them to feel empowered to manage their life and take charge of what works and what does not. Luck will be a factor they must address. With children who have a private nature, they may not be ready to talk when they are most upset. Tell them you will teach them about strategizing when they are ready and give them a code word to say (“hint”) when they are ready to discuss strategies. Avoid discussing the loss other than to identify critical elements to change. Talk about winning ways for the future.

What if the child is still frustrated? Give them time to calm down. The critical communication is: there are ways to win using strategic approaches but there is also luck, which cannot be controlled. Luck is what gives some games a bit of the unknown and a bit of fun. Teach them a simple social phrase to say in the moment but recognize that is only a part of the process of learning how to lose friendly. The other part is learning how to play fairly but smartly.

Keep the phrase “win fairly and lose friendly” as a guidepost in the moment. Take time to strategize for future games. Respect that losing for this child is a more difficult learning experience than it is for many other children.


Class Participation: Type Tip #1

Measure class participation by acquired content rather than who spoke aloud. At the end of the lesson have students, write, draw, or tell a partner three things they learned from the lesson presentation. If they can identify three pieces of content, they participated. Introverts may choose to participate by listening while extraverts may choose to participate by sharing. Letting each student participate in their best way honors differences.

Note: The skill of public expression is different than the skill of participation in a lecture or class presentation.


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