Academic Lens: Finding Our Center

Posted by Scott Allenby

01/24/2015

I had the privilege of sitting in on Lynne Kenney’s Leadership and Ethics class yesterday. Over the past few classes, retired Learning Specialist, Ellen Yenawine, has worked with students to identify their Myers & Briggs type using the MBTI. For more than two decades, Ellen utilized the insights gained through the MBTI to help her Learning Skills students better understand themselves as learners.

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In Lynne’s class, students are using their self-analysis through the MBTI to better understand individual leadership styles, and to identify strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies in how they interact with others.

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Alexis (above), as an INTP, knows she is almost the exact opposite type of personality than Abbie (below), as an ESTJ. But both articulated the need for varying personality types in their lives, for to surround yourself with others who are exactly like you is to limit your potential as a leader.

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For homework over the weekend, students will read a piece called “In the Grip”. It is an exploration of the idea that sometimes our personalities go into a response pattern that can be characterized as “in the grip.”  The grip response occurs when we’re at a low ebb, experiencing fatigue, physical or psychological stress, illness or life transitions. Students are to think critically about what may cause them to fall into one of these ‘funks’, and then what brings them back to center based on their Myers & Briggs type.

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As a school, we can learn much from this Leadership and Ethics assignment. We know every school year ebbs and flows. We know challenges arise internally and there are moments when we each feel as though we are swimming against a strong current. We feel the pressures of an ultra-competitive marketplace closing in on us, and feel as though we are ‘in the grip’. And it is at this point we press pause.

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Challenges will arise and new opportunities to evolve will present themselves. However, it is our faith in our core identity as a school that brings us back to center.

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And so it is on this late January morning. With the deadline for applications for the 2015-2016 academic year just around the corner (February 1), we are confident prospective families understand our unique educational model; a model that recognizes learning happens best at the intersection of individualized academics and experiential learning, never underestimating the support of a strong, nurturing community. We know this model stands out and we know this model works. It is a model that has transformed thousands of lives over the years, and will continue to do so into the future. 

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