Answers ... & ambiguity LO6759

Malcolm Burson (mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU)
Wed, 17 Apr 1996 18:21:17 -0500

Replying to LO6627 --

Responding to Rol's request for information about Myers-Briggs data on
classroom teachers, LO 6627:

There is a fair amount of well-validated data on the teaching profession
in the Myers-Briggs literature. Two sources that come quickly to hand
are: David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, _Please Understand Me: Character
and Temperament Types_ (Del Mar, CA: Prometheus; 4th ed., 1984), pp.
155-66, "Temperament in Teaching;" and, for the statistical work in the
field, Isabel Briggs Myers and Mary H. McCaulley, _Manual: A guide to the
Development and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator_ (Palo Alto, CA:
Consulting Psychologists, 2nd ed., 1985), pp. 133-36, "Type in Teaching."
As a quick summary, at least half of elementary school teachers (dropping
to 42% for high school) fall into the SJ preference. These folks
understand the teaching role to develop the usefulness and place of
students in society. They rely on class routine; and traditional
"objective" measures such as tests and quizes, oral recitation for
evaluation. They tend to have high expectations of classroom behavior,
and value obedience highly. Learning takes place best, they believe, in a
stable, predictable environment.

The next largest preference group, NF (27% in elementary, rising to 33% in
high school) have different value sets. They share with SJ's a commitment
to students, but are more likely to value teaching methods that foster
creativity such as group projects, discussion, games, etc. Classroom
routine is less important than an atmosphere that encourages flexibility
and variety.

The remaining two preference groups (SP and NT) are very under-represented
in most classrooms.

In answer to your query, the first and predominant teaching group is
composed of persons who tend to be uncomfortable with ambiguity, and
unlikely to foster its tolerance in their pupils.

Hope this is helpful, and you may want to pursue this further with MBTI
folks more knowledgeable than myself. Deborah Heller, are you there?

Malcolm Burson<
Community Health and Counseling
Bangor, Maine


"Malcolm Burson" <mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU>

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