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Personality and Context Follow-up

Last week, I quickly finished Rita Carter's book that inspired the previous post.  Although I found the first half of the book informative and inspiring, I was disappointed in the second half, which functioned more like a self-help book of getting in touch with your other personalities.  As an advocate of the skeptical movement, this half of the book rubbed me the wrong way.  It reminded me of plotting my astrological star chart, which I used to do in my undergraduate years.  Granted, there is much more science behind Carter's guidance than astrology.  However, she urged her readers about the fuzziness in implementing and interpreting personality tests like the Big Five Personality Traits (OCEAN) Test in the first half of the book.

I suspended my disbelief and took the test here for each of the roles I play in my life from father to PhD candidate to friend.  Most of this exercise confirmed what I already believed, but I learned that I could not pin down one specific personality for the role of teacher.  As I stated in my previous post, my teaching personality depends so much on the context of the schooling and the culture in and immediately outside the classroom.  I believe what drove me to read this text was to discover either my core teaching personality, which I'm not sure I or anyone has, or my various teaching personalities, which I learned are not as fully developed as many of my other personalities.  What makes it harder is that I am not currently teaching, so I have several teaching contexts to reflect upon.  So although I enjoyed taking a different perspective on teacher dispositions, I was disappointed with the book as a whole.  It really is only half a book.

So what?
It seems to me that a teaching philosophy is more of a constant than a teaching personality.  Perhaps for some teachers they are nearly the same as in being a kind and friendly teacher.  However, I argue that how we exhibit kindness and affability depends on the context.  Perhaps my experiences have made me more aware of this as I have found that eye contact, smiles, and laughter can carry different meanings across different cultures.  This is something I'd like to investigate more closely.



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