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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Helping Students Understand That Type is Not Meant to be a Trap – MBTI® Practitioner’s Field Guide Mini Blog Series, Part Two

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Written by Jim Larkin

What do you do to teach your students that their behaviors are not restricted to the definitions associated with their best-fit type?

One process that is often used when interpreting the Myers-Briggs® (MBTI®) assessment in a group context is using the Type Table to allow the group members a chance to see who shares their type and or even just one, two or three of their 4-letter type preferences. The Type Table is a great way to allow everyone to gain insights into their own preferences as well as the preferences of their friends or group.

Yet one common “pitfall” in trying to use the Type Table is that individuals feel trapped or labeled when they put their type in a “box” in the Type Table. One way to get around this response is to use the following activity which is included in the recently released MBTI® Practitioner’s Field Guide: “Sixteen-Room House Analogy for the Type Table”. This activity will help you explain type to your students and it should only take between 5 to 10 minutes.

Here is what you will need:

- Blank type table (you can purchase this, or simply draw it on a flipchart sheet)
- Flipchart and markers

Now tell your students that you know that many participants feel a little uncomfortable at this point because they feel like they are being “boxed in” once they are asked to sign in to their chosen best-fit type box. Let them know that this is not what type is about. Now simply draw a “roof” and a “chimney” above the type table once you have filled out each “room” with the 16 types (much like this example of a type table). You can then have your students enter their names to their corresponding box.

Next week in my last blog, I will provide some cues and advice on how this simple exercise will aid in helping to engage your students to better understand type.

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