Last week I read a guest post by Tara Ziegmont on The Pelsers' blog about getting to know your homeschool student. Specifically, it asked the question "do you know your [child's] learning style?" I, unfortunately, had to respond in the negative. These past few months of pseudo-homeschooling while we just live life I have not taken any steps to learn what learning styles even are, nor how to focus what SC's are into a better educational experience for her.
Since this year I really want to take a serious look at whether or not homeschooling is the best choice for our family, at least for the near future, I spent some time reading up about Myers-Briggs typology, analyzing myself, analyzing SC (analyzing AC, of course, too), and trying to use this new knowledge to apply it back toward my teaching plans for this year.
This week, for the "Top Ten Tuesday" linkup, I have decided to apply my new knowledge and understanding, and create a list of the top ten challenges I will face this year with SC. First, however, I must state that after analysis of us both, I have a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) INTP, while SC has a MBTI of ISTP. Though these are quite similar, there are a few differences between us that will make for some big challenges for me as a teacher, as I attempt to adapt to SC.
1. Theoretical vs. factual: My inclination to indulge in intellectual exploration and theoretical avenues are at cross purposes to SC's desire for solid facts and evidence. I think this will manifest itself in almost every area, which is why I think it will be the biggest challenge I will face. It will require me to literally remove myself from the way I think about everything and attempt to see it how SC might perceive it.
2. Kinesthetic vs. reading/writing: This challenge is almost as difficult as number 1, because this is another major area where INTP and ISTP personalities differ. SC will need as much kinesthetic/hands-on activity in each subject area as I can create, but since I am a reading/writing focused learner, I am going to have to do more research and utilize the ideas of others to make this happen. Luckily, this is one area that I had already observed, so our curriculum plans include programs that have quite a bit of hands-on activities that directly accompany the subjects.
3. Journey vs. goal: For an INTP like me, the most important part of learning is the journey. It does not bother me if I never get to solving the problem as long as the journey is enjoyable. However, for an ISTP like SC, the most important part is the solution. This will be a challenge for me to remember not to think only of the journey, but to know there needs to be a concrete and practical outcome that SC needs to reach with each lesson.
4. Self-interests: ISTP personalities typically struggle in most school settings because they can be single-minded, only focusing on what interests them. My challenge here will be to make new subjects and lessons interesting to her. However, this blends into challenge number 5.
5. Teacher as obstruction: When ISTP personalities are presented with information that is not part of their current interest area, they will go around or ignore the teacher completely in order to get to the information they want. This will be a challenge to both motivate her within her interests, but keep her learning in other areas as well.
6. Time regulation: SC already wants to do things when she wants, where she wants, with her own goals in mind. My challenge will be to help her regulate her learning into realistic day-to-day activities, so that she progresses well in all subject areas. I also will have the challenge of really getting on a schedule that is manageable for us, as I tend to allow interruptions that do not really need to happen. I hope to print out an easy-to read graphic schedule for SC so that she can also keep track of what we are doing when.
7. Complexity: ISTP personalities learn best when the subjects they are learning are technically complex. This predisposes them for STEM subjects. While I have a solid understanding of certain STEM areas, I would not call my knowledge base complex by any means. The challenge here, though probably not immediately at a K4/1st level, will be to push SC forward in these areas even as she leaves me behind. At some point, I will have to rely on her self-interest and desire to increase her practical knowledge to guide her toward what she needs to be learning in those areas.
8. Social issues: The "I" from ISTP stands for "introvert," which is definitely a characteristic that SC and I both share. For both of us the challenge here will be to make sure we are making the most of social times, including in our out of the house activities (her dance classes, gymnastics and piano lessons), as well as meeting up with other homeschooling families that live in the area.
9. More social issues: Though ISTP personalities are introverted, they connect best with people when they are involved in kinesthetic activities together rather than simply a dialogue-based relationship. At SC's young age, however, she has a hard time understanding personal space, that pushing and shoving are not acceptable, and that she can hurt people.
10. Have fun!: Maybe this one should have been at the top. In everything we do, I need to remember that SC is only four years old, and that she needs even her learning time to be enjoyable.
Any comments, advice or opinions are welcomed. Don't forget to check out other "Top Ten Tuesday" posts here.