Learning Styles & MBTI - S vs N orientation

Learning Styles & MBTI - S vs N orientation

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This is a discussion on Learning Styles & MBTI - S vs N orientation within the Cognitive Functions forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; hi. i'm an educator working in the domain of learning research. i came across this a couple of years back ...

  1. #1
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Learning Styles & MBTI - S vs N orientation

    hi. i'm an educator working in the domain of learning research. i came across this a couple of years back and found it incredibly insightful, so i'm posting the series here:

    MEET YOUR STUDENTS
    1. STAN AND NATHAN

    Richard M. Felder
    Department of Chemical Engineering
    North Carolina State University
    Raleigh, NC 27695-7905

    Stan and Nathan are juniors in chemical engineering and roommates at a large midwestern university. They are similar in many ways. Both enjoy partying, midnight pizza runs, listening to rock and watching TV. Both did well in science and math in high school, although Nathan's grades were consistently higher. Both found their mass and energy balance course tough (although they agree the text was superb), thermodynamics incomprehensible, English boring, and other humanities courses useless. Both have girl friends who occasionally accuse them of being "too logical."

    For all their similarities, however, they are fundamentally different. If single words were chosen to describe each of them, Stan's would be "practical" and Nathan's would be "scholarly" (or "spacy," depending on whom you ask). Stan is a mechanical wizard and is constantly sought after by friends with ailing cars and computers, while changing a light bulb is at the outer limits of Nathan's mechanical ability. Stan notices his surroundings, tends to know where he put things, and remembers people he only met once; Nathan notices very little around him, misplaces things constantly, and may not recognize someone he has known for years. Nathan subscribes to Scientific American and reads science fiction and mystery novels voraciously; Stan only reads when he has to. Stan has trouble following lectures; Nathan follows them easily, but when instructors spend a lot of class time going through detailed derivations or homework assignments he already understands he gets bored and his attention wanders.

    When Stan takes a test he reads the first problem, reads it again, and if the test is open--book tries to find an identical worked--out problem and copy the solution. If he can't find one, he searches for suitable formulas to plug into. He frequently rereads the problem while working on it and repeats each numerical calculation just to be on the safe side. When he has gone as far as he can go he repeats the process on the second problem. He usually runs out of time and gets class average or lower on the test. Nathan reads test problems only up to the point where he thinks he knows how to proceed and then plunges in. He works quickly and usually finishes early and gets high grades. However, he sometimes blows tests because he makes careless errors and lacks the patience to check his calculations, or he fails to read a question thoroughly enough and misses important data or answers a different question than was asked.

    The one place where Stan outshines Nathan academically is the laboratory. Stan is sure--handed and meticulous and seems to have an instinct for setting up and running experiments, while Nathan rarely gets anything to work right. Nathan almost had a nervous breakdown in analytical chemistry: he would repeat a quantitative analysis five times, get five completely different results, and finally average the two closest estimates and hope for the best. Stan, on the other hand, would do the analysis twice, get almost perfect agreement between the results, and head for a victory soda while Nathan was still weighing out the reagents for his second attempt.

    Stan did well in only one non--laboratory engineering course. The instructor used a lot of visual demonstrations---transparencies, pictures and diagrams, and actual equipment; provided clear outlines of problem solution procedures; and gave practical applications of all theories and formulas the students were required to learn. Stan claimed that it was the first course he had taken that seemed to have anything to do with the real world. Nathan thought the course was okay but he could have done with a bit less plug-and-chug on the homework.

    Stan is a sensor; Nathan is an intuitor.(1) Sensors favor information that comes in through their senses and intuitors favor internally-generated information (memory, conjecture, interpretation). Sensors are attentive to details and don't like abstract concepts; intuitors can handle abstraction and are bored by details. A student who complains about things having nothing to do with the real world is almost certainly a sensor. Sensors like well-defined problems that can be solved by standard methods; intuitors prefer problems that call for innovation. Individuals of both types may be excellent engineers: the observant and methodical sensors tend to be good experimentalists and plant engineers, and the insightful and innovative intuitors tend to be good theoreticians, designers, and inventors.

    The degree to which someone favors sensing or intuition can be determined with the Myers--Briggs Type Indicator, a personality inventory that has been administered to hundreds of thousands of people including many engineering students and faculty members. Most undergraduate engineering students have been found to be sensors and most engineering professors are intuitors. A mismatch thus exists between the teaching styles of most professors, who emphasize basic principles, mathematical models and thought problems, and the learning styles of most undergraduates, who favor observable phenomena, hard facts, and problems with well-defined solution methods. Intuitive students would consequently be expected to enjoy a clear advantage in school, and indeed intuitors have been found to get consistently higher grades except in courses that emphasize facts, experimentation, and repetitive calculations.

    For many sensing students, the disparity between the way they learn best and the way they are generally taught is too great: they get poor grades no matter how hard they work, become disillusioned, and drop out. Felder and Silverman^1 give several ways instructors can accommodate the learning styles of these students without compromising their own teaching styles or their ability to get through the syllabus. The accommodation is well worth attempting: sensors are sorely needed in industry and may do exceptionally well there if they manage to survive school.

    Postscript: 15 years later. Nathan graduated magna cum laude, went to graduate school and got a Ph.D., worked for several years in the research and development division of a major chemical company, got several important patents, moved to manufacturing, and ended up as a group leader supervising a team of designers and systems analysts. Stan struggled through the curriculum, graduated in the bottom third of his class, and got a production engineering job in the same company Nathan went to work for. His mechanical talents soon became apparent and he was put in charge of a trouble--shooting team that came to be in great demand throughout the plant. His managerial skills then led to a rapid series of promotions culminating in his becoming the youngest corporate vice president in company history. Among the thousands of employees in the branch he heads is Nathan, with whom he gets together occasionally to talk over old times. Stan thoroughly enjoys these meetings; Nathan also enjoys them but perhaps not as much.


    source
    Dear Sigmund, Tucken, Zero11 and 7 others thanked this post.



  2. #2
    ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers

    Well, good to know I have no potential to ever be as intelligent as an intuitor, or to be successful in anything that requires complex thought...

    I'm kidding, but come on...
    Alaiyo Sakuri, SinneDeelie, Spades and 1 others thanked this post.

  3. #3
    ENTP - The Visionaries

    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker99 View Post
    Well, good to know I have no potential to ever be as intelligent as an intuitor, or to be successful in anything that requires complex thought...

    I'm kidding, but come on...
    Not really sure you read that correctly. The article just said we do better in school because it's tailored to our strong suits. When it comes to actual application and detail orientation you guys have us beat.
    Zero11, Catfish, ertertwert and 1 others thanked this post.

  4. #4
    ENTJ - The Executives

    As an iNtuitive, I've always been frustrated with being taught the WHAT's and the HOW's, but not the WHY's. Personally I can very hardly understand anything without looking at the whole picture. My guess would be Sensors are more into the details and processes and less into the big picture.

    And also, I think there's a stereotype about N's and us being "academic". If you look at the ENTJ section, you can see many of us bashing college and talking about dropping out. We look for the higher and broader meaning of things, but that doesn't mean we enjoy academia as it is today. Personally, the conventionalism/isolationism I find in universities drives me insane.
    Paradigm, Nymma, Aelthwyn and 3 others thanked this post.

  5. #5
    ENTJ - The Executives


    Thanks caffeine-buff. I can relate to much of it. especially the part about not reading the questions thoroughly enough. I think intuitive s thrive on essay questions where we can elaborate and bring in information from everywhere.
    Catfish and caffeine_buff thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker99 View Post
    Well, good to know I have no potential to ever be as intelligent as an intuitor, or to be successful in anything that requires complex thought...

    I'm kidding, but come on...
    At the end of the article it said Stan became Nathan's boss. He was the sensor. It's not about intelligence, it's about how one gathers information. One is better suited towards one area and the other towards another. Just different ways of thinking.

    I thought the article was fairly unbiased.
    Catfish, NeedMoreKnowledge and mcstuart thanked this post.

  7. #7
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Hmm, interestingly I found I was better at doing written work than lab experiments. I might well be the same as Stan if I found lab stuff remotely interesting though, maybe it's just because I don't enjoy it that I suck at it.

    I do see their point about calculations, to an extent. There were times when I would just look for actual calculation examples, mostly because I hadn't bothered to learn the theory (I was very lazy with maths), I could take either Nathan or Stan's approach, Stan's was just easier when I wasn't interested enough to take in the theory I was learning. For Statistics I would take Stan's approach, Pure Maths I tended to take the Nathan approach, not sure what the implications for that are...
    Catfish and ertertwert thanked this post.

  8. #8
    ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers

    Sorry, I didn't mean to whinge about bias. It's just that I'm in my last year of high school and it's an enormous part of my life at the moment, it's what I focus all my energy on. I feel like my education is the only real purpose my life has at this point in time. (I know I have an incredibly limited perspective, but that's just the way it feels.) This article implies that a sensor couldn't possibly do as well in school as an intuitor, except for the few areas that are tailored to their specific skills (as a person, not as a sensor).

  9. #9
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker99 View Post
    Sorry, I didn't mean to whinge about bias. It's just that I'm in my last year of high school and it's an enormous part of my life at the moment, it's what I focus all my energy on. I feel like my education is the only real purpose my life has at this point in time. (I know I have an incredibly limited perspective, but that's just the way it feels.) This article implies that a sensor couldn't possibly do as well in school as an intuitor, except for the few areas that are tailored to their specific skills (as a person, not as a sensor).
    hey. fwiw, i wanted to share this: i am a global learner, not a sequential learner. i suspect many other INTJs are too - we tend to break down things and analyse them and start making connections between abstractions naturally. sounds good, right? BUT. through school i was pretty much an academic nonentity. schooling tends to be deeply biased towards sequential learners. the only subjects i used to ace in were the ones i liked, meaning i didnt pay much attention in classes and learnt them in my own fashion by myself. it was only in college that i slowly started figuring out this part of how my brain worked, and then i was the academic stud. :)

    more, even now, while i run rings around my colleagues when it comes to curriculum design, i still suck at the following conventions part of my job. in school, i sucked at the lab work: i could handle the theory but messing with all those things? meh.

    what i'm leading up to, is that you can deliberately use your strengths and consciously compensate for your weaker areas: nobody has the perfect deal in school or in the workplace. those of us who stand out are simply those of us who try harder and smarter. so no, you're not innately handicapped or something. our education system just sucks for everyone. there are in fact very few people whom it suits and empowers. there are simply more people who survive despite it than because of it.
    Dear Sigmund and Zero11 thanked this post.

  10. #10
    ENTJ - The Executives


    Once you know how you are wired then you can capitalize on it.Also what needs to be taken into consideration is learning styles, like in the multiple intelligences. I am a aural learner and pretty much talked my way through my schools. It made a huge difference. I focused on classes and majors that made use of that strength. Read: music and speech classes.
    ertertwert thanked this post.


 
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