Thursday, April 27, 2006

ADD and the xNxp

Learning about Myers-Briggs has given me some interesting insights.

For one, while doing a search on my personality type, I came across a website about ADD (attention deficit disorder) which stated that a majority (90%?) of the site visitors who believed they had ADD were of the xNxp personality types, which include INFp, INTp, ENFp, and ENTp. These are the Intuitive-Perceptive types (only about 10% of the population), the abstract, idea-oriented people. I am one of them. While I haven't put a finger on exactly which one of these I am (and it seems to vary), I am a strong N-P.

N-Ps are often the gifted students who can never seem to live up to their own standards within the school system. I believe that part of the problem is that primary and, to a lesser extent, secondary schools are dominated by xSxj (sensing-judging) personality types, who want things done a certain way and by a certain time. This doesn't bode well for the N-Ps who have an innate need to try new ideas and work at their own pace, often which is defined by bursts of creativity rather than a steady flow of productivity which the SJ teachers are used to and expect. But the student needs to understand what he's doing. To know the "why" more than the "how." Busy work is the bane of the intuitive-perceptive student's existence, yet he sees students around him getting good grades simply because they memorize their study guides without ever understanding!

Fortunately, I had a fairly positive experience in school. I had teachers throughout who took special notice of my talents (I wonder if my parents were more involved than I knew) and gave me a chance to use them, while giving me some leeway on my weaknesses so that I would still enjoy school. AP classes were an important part of that. And yes, there was about a year after I started college when I was convinced that I had ADD. I'm now in a place where I can use my ideas and creatively solve problems, and I've realized this is extremely important for N-Ps. Give them a chance to thrive outside of the bureaucracy of education, and they will!

The moral of the story is this: teachers ought to be sensitive to needs and differences of students. There is a small percentage of gifted students who need to be noticed and given a chance to develop their talents. These are the people who change society with their ideas. Einstein & socrates=intp, Shakespeare & homer=infp, Mark twain & Dr. Seuss=enfp (well, they make us laugh!), Walt Disney & Thomas Edison=entp.

Let's give these people the opportunity to thrive so America can benefit from their novel approach to life and not go the way of the Roman Empire!


beckalippy said...

Chris, way to go with your analysis of the system. I took a spiritual gifts test and found that my gift is that whole exhortation thing. And as I read my personality profile, it totally maded sense. ENFJ, all the way. Have you taken any psych at Poly? I heard the personality class is really interesting.

Chris said...

You know, I took one psych class at cuesta and thoroughly enjoyed it.

As to your gifts, that's really cool! Knowing more about ourselves through personality tests really can help us to understand ways in which we can be used in the church. I love meeting with Ben and thinking up new ideas for celebration and foundry (and MayDay!!!) God is using my inborn desire to make positive changes.