Personality Dimensions® Re-Aligned My Life

Every Personality Dimensions® Facilitator Has A Story

We all have a past and a present that points to a preferred future. That story becomes the lens by which Personality Dimensions®, and other assessments are focused. The primary focus when I use Personality Dimensions®, both personally, as a career consultant or in my Leadership & Team training is ‘Alignment’.

I’ve been a Personality Dimensions® facilitator from its launch in 2003 and used another similar tool prior to that. Before being trained as a career counsellor, I went through the process of being counselled as a key part of my career transition. This temperament or behavioural study became the tipping point, the fulcrum of my life before and after my transition. 

Here’s my story in a nutshell

I’m a Preacher’s Kid, and before I was eight years of age, my mother suddenly passed away. This caused me to cling to dad, my surviving parent. I, too, chose to be in the ministry. Being so young, I both watched and listened to my father closely, so I could be like him, a very loved pastor. I desired the same outcome. The problem was that we were very different people. What he taught me was his way of doing things…on my part, learned behaviour. It wasn’t bad or wrong, just different from who I really was. Unfortunately, he taught me how to live as a workaholic because that was how he dealt with the loss of his beloved wife. Yes, I was successful in ministry but there always seemed to be a level of discomfort. After 25 years, I hit a wall and really wasn’t certain what to do with my future. The transition process was slow, ten years slow. It wasn’t one I ever thought I’d go through, but I cautiously decided to check out another world. This brought me face-to-face with temperament, type, and interest studies.

When You Are Successful

Though I did things the way my father did, in retrospect, my most successful ventures in ministry were the ones that I did out of who I really was.  This happens when the real you, subconsciously, kicks in. This became evident during my counselling process when we discussed past successes. Getting a grasp of the Patterns of Human Behaviours, which Personality Dimensions® does, was a great awakening for me…a series of Ah-ha moments which introduced a process I call ‘Life or Personal Realignment’. As important as ‘understanding who you are is’, equally important is ‘understanding who you are not’. If you’re living too much of life in the latter, Personality Dimensions® is my tool of choice for ‘Life Alignment’. This happens when you bring what you do in line with who you are, your hardwiring. Not once did I have to comply with the Personality Dimensions® result. I saw the pattern it presented and ‘there I was’. I released the dominance of well learned behaviours (which I still use), and fully embraced the real Murray that was quietly working in behind them.

One Thing That Always Amazes Me

When I was in my mid to late teens two things happened. Someone introduced me to the book, Transformed Temperaments by Tim LaHaye. It fascinated me. I always wanted to know what made people tick so I could impact their lives. In Grade 10, I had to write an essay on a topic of my choice. I wrote it on, How to Find a Career. Thirty years later, I became an ‘Assessment based Career Development Practitioner’. When I realized this, it blew me away. Do I regret those 25 years in ministry? Not in the least. Those years provided me with all the illustrations that make the concept of Personality Dimensions® a reality. What really stands out is the consistency of how I have lived life. Whether the teen years, the ministry or the years since transition, the attitude and way that I do things, while tweaking on the fly, has remained constant.

Personality Dimensions® Plays Out This Way In Me

Within me is a deep NEED to make a difference…an Impact. I call it my helium balloon that does what is natural…Goes Up! There is my Introverted Resourceful Orange. That has never changed. Pointing back to this is the way I COMMUNICATE, by sharing with others what I know, not only with academics, but with the wealth of what I have learned in life experience. That is my Extroverted Inquiring Green. That is what people see, but not what really drives me. What my dad taught me well was the Organized Gold factor of how to work well within organizations, the ENVIRONMENT in which I work. And finally, he taught me how to treat people with respect, dignity, and compassion, because PEOPLE ARE IMPORTANT…Yep, my Authentic Blue. There is ‘My Plaid’. Whatever I do, that is the way my pattern of human behaviour has always played out, and there is no reason to think that will change.

Have you taken a deep dive into your pattern? It is MORE than worth the effort. (Reach out if you out need help)

Murray is a husband to Heather for 46 years with 2 adult children, a Papa to 4 Boys, Personality Dimensions® Level 2 Trainer, Career Consultant, Leadership & Team Developer since 2001, and loves life. He is the creator of online video training, and owner of and

“Ew, David!” Personality Dimensions® on TV with Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek, created by Eugene & Daniel Levy is a brilliantly created story, depicting the tale of a well-to-do family and their downward spiral due to a crooked accountant. Many recurring characters have allowed for an ample opportunity to review their individual personalities, and how they interact with others.

Johnny Rose
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Johnny Rose
Personality: Organized Gold 

The patriarch of the family is an exemplary businessman. Turning $2,000 into a thriving, national video rental business (only second to Blockbuster), he also showcases superior budgeting skills by trying to negotiate the best possible price for the family car. Johnny also spends a lot of time coming up with new business ideas with sound independent research (i.e., no Bob’s Bagels will be happening here!) and is also very family oriented, as seen by his caring deeply for his wife and children’s wellbeing. He loves engaging in traditional family celebrations (both Christmas and Hanukkah), helping David prepare for his job interview as a bag boy, and begging Moira to swallow her pride to accept a cheque from her sister during the family’s most difficult financial times are all key examples that highlight the Organized Gold’s personality type beautifully!

Moira Rose
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Moira Rose
Personality: Organized Gold /Authentic Blue

Moira is also a detail oriented individual as we see her keeping a spreadsheet to track all her wigs, ensuring that the cheese is folded into her prized enchilada recipe properly, and detailing the requirements of a contract to film the latest instalment of “The Crows Have Eyes 3: The Crowening”. Disarray causes her a lot of distress—where is her brown bag exactly? Organized Golds value belonging dearly amongst their family and peers, and not belonging or “feeling relevant” also caused her to hide in a closet for multiple days.

A close secondary colour for Moira would be Authentic Blue. While organized, structured, and wanting order on the movie set, Moira is a very creative individual. She enjoys the creativity with her wigs, directing Cabaret, and shows her warmth towards her husband, children, and neighbours in later seasons.  

Alexis Rose
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Alexis Rose
Personality: Resourceful Orange

So, like, have you downloaded the latest Bumpkin app? Time to have an impromptu, small, like, little motel party? Sure, we missed ONE little text message from David; besides, who has time for taking care of 6 Tamagotchi’s at the same time anyhow? This resourceful orange also was able to keep it cool and collected to get the family out of the escape room in record time in order to answer Johnny’s phone call immediately!

Alexis tells us all about her adventurous trips around the world, needing fake passports at the last minute to escape palaces, and wanting the freedom to date (without being tied down to just Ted…or Mutt…or?). We see Alexis’ stress about being tied down with being married to the same nice, albeit kind person and the thought of divorce really spooking her out!

Alexis is the epitome of our Resourceful Oranges; and how well they can adjust to difficult surroundings (albeit resistantly!)

David Rose
Personality: Organized Gold 

Who has time to curate a mood board for a shopping trip exactly? And Patrick’s parents showed up a whole 11 minutes early? How dare they!

From organizing bottles on a table according to size (and labels in the same direction), ensuring even numbers of participants arrive for game night for the “optimum game play experience”, and re-organizing your knits in your new cedar chest, David showcases the Organized Gold personality type perfectly!

Organized Golds’ value of belonging is essential for them; and when David did not feel like he belonged in his family anymore; he fled the town. Also, he revealed to Stevie that she was his only friend and saying that out loud was “very dark”.

Patrick Brewer
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Patrick Brewer
Personality: Inquiring Green

Our Inquiring Greens are keen to get big picture outlooks and logically sound reasonings to their decision-making. We see this very beautifully done with Patrick! He was able to gather all the information that David shared over his 12 voicemails to complete David’s business application, inquired about purchasing a dream home that David wanted because of their future together, and Patrick knows all the detailed rules of baseball games to teach them to David for the baseball tournament.

Inquiring Greens are fierce competitors; and we see this with Patrick and Ronnie during the baseball game competition. Greens are often their own worst critics; and we see that with Patrick being disappointed with himself during their hike and picnic together to the top of the hill. In the end, Patrick was able to put everything into place, and have his happily ever after!

Stevie Budd
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Stevie Budd
Personality: Inquiring Green

Stevie was quite difficult to figure out! However, I came to the conclusion that Stevie is an Inquiring Green. She exemplifies the aloofness that Inquiring Greens are often accused of being. She went to college to improve herself, wonders what she is going to do with the motel long term, expanding the business to other motels, and being worried she’s going to wind up like Aunt Maureen one day. She wants to do the best job performing Cabaret by rehearsing her lines over and over again, and spending time after official practice with Patrick to nail down the dance number.

Ted Mullens
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Ted Mullens
Personality: Inquiring Green

Ted’s desire to consistently improve himself with veterinary conferences, and his desire to see exotic wildlife while working with the indigenous fauna of the Galapagos Islands, Ted showcases the exact qualities of our inquisitive Inquiring Greens very well. Always seeking answers to improving his relationship with Alexis, Ted is very future focussed and desires to understand himself and his relationship with Alexis as best as he can.

Who do you think are the Authentic Blues in Schitt’s Creek? Maybe Bob? Twyla?

What about some of the other regular characters? Ronnie? Jocelyn? Mutt? Or even Roland? Which types do you think they showcase?

What do you think? Was I “on brand”? Or was I a “write-off”?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Nancy Tavares-Jones

Nancy Tavares-Jones, MC, RP, CCC, DCP (in progress) is a registered psychotherapist in Ontario and an Authentic Blue/Resourceful Orange. She has a thriving private practice, and is an on-site trauma responder for organizations needing immediate on-site support.  She is a self-proclaimed “personality type geek” and loves to help folks learn more about themselves and others.  Feel free to visit and connect with her at

Healing Relationships Through Personality Dimensions®

As many of us have realized through COVID-19, our core relationships are very important to us, whether they are with parents, siblings, friends, or co-workers.  What is puzzling, however, is that these relationships can often cause us the greatest stress.  Personality Dimensions® gives us a lens to examine these important relationships and find ways to improve them.

One of the ways that a knowledge of Personality Dimensions® can be useful is by helping us understand that personalities can be quite different – even within the same family. It acknowledges that there are four different temperaments, and each has both strengths and challenges. Once we understand that people are not being difficult, rather they are behaving according to their innate preferences, it generally leads to a greater tolerance of difference. To show how this works, lets look at a mother-daughter relationships that had challenges. Amelie, a 19-year-old, has had a strained relationship with her mother since she became a teenager. Amelie thrives on variety and loves change in her life. She is very creative and is pursuing a Diploma in visual arts at a local community college. She is not quite sure where it will take her, but she is spontaneous, fun loving and likes to go with the flow. Her mother, Maria, seems almost the opposite. Maria is structured and orderly and likes to make life as predictable as possible. She is an excellent planner and believes that you should work first and then play. She loves her daughter tremendously but worries about her because she is disorganized and seems to let life happen to her rather than to plan for it. She also worries because Amelie seems willing to take more risks than she would like. She wonders how a visual arts certificate will ever lead her daughter to a nice secure job. Amelie for her part, often feels constrained by her mother’s “shoulds” and “oughts” and frequently feels that she cannot be herself around her mom.

A breakthrough came in their relationship when Amelie attended a Personality Dimensions® workshop as part of one of her community college courses. She realized that she was a Resourceful Orange and that her mother was very likely an Organized Gold. She took this knowledge back to her mother, explained the four dimensions, and her mother agreed with Amelie’s assessment. They had a good chat about both their similarities and differences, and recognized that they needed to be more tolerant of each other in the future. While they both realized they had a long way to go to rebuild their relationship, they felt that this was an important first step in understanding each other better.

Susan Geary PhD. is a Personality Dimensions® Master Trainer and co-author of two books on Personality Dimensions® – Colour Savvy: Helping you Achieve Success in your Work Life and Your Personality Unlocked: Living Life to its Fullest. She has over 30 years experience as a management and communication Skills facilitator, and training consultant. She has facilitated Personality Dimensions® workshops to over 1,000 participants in all walks of life. Susan can be reached at

Never Say Never – Personality Dimensions Pandemic Pastimes

By now, many of you will already know Susan Patterson, the author of this week’s contribution to Personality Dimensions® Pandemic Pastimes with Master Trainers, from her work in creating Virtually Everything – A Building Blocks Companion Guide. A lot changed between when she first began to dip into the virtual world of training and when Virtually Everything was published, so much so that when we asked her about writing the adjunct piece to Building Blocks – which became known as Virtually Everything because that’s how we kept referring to it in the office – she quickly responded with her delightful sense of humour and threatened to send me glitter pens since I’m woefully unprepared in that area it would seem (I didn’t even know they existed until then)! Enjoy Susan’s recollection of her response to the pandemic and how it has, and continues to, changed her Personality Dimensions® presentations.

Yours from the back office,

Denise Hughes

Never say Never

COVID hit and face to face workshops and training sessions got cancelled. I waited – certainly there would be some notice if this was a serious thing. Workshops and Training Online – Never – this will not be a thing.

The World told me a different story, and before I knew it I was online having my first Personality Dimensions® event. It was not hard. I was surprised. Is there a chance you will make some errors? Absolutely. Don’t sweat it, all online platforms have many tutorials to learn how to do it. And our Colleagues and Clients shared ideas because we are all learning.

Now I have to smile to myself, by saying Never, I would have cheated myself out of this experience. Personality Dimensions® is adaptable equally in a virtual setting as it is in a face-to-face setting. And wow what a Virtual experience it has been – I have met amazing people, some who would never have had the opportunity to take this Learning if not for online training. With a bit of tweaking and adjusting the materials we have,
it has been truly successful.

Saying Never sets up resistance, challenges and closes doors. Most of us are proficient with Personality Dimensions® face-to-face, and we will have in-person workshops and training again. It might not look the same. Our new reality is Change and different experiences.

So why not offer both? Reinvent your practise. Take advantage of the number of great new resource available to make Personality Dimensions® work with both venues.

With this experience, I have to say I will never work off-line again … well, never say never….

Susan Patterson is a Personality Dimensions ® Master Trainer and Author of Virtually Everything – A Building Blocks Companion Guide. She is the owner of SPG Consulting and can be contacted through

Still More Personality Dimensions Pandemic Pastimes

Many of you will recognize the name of the author of this week’s instalment of Personality Dimensions® Pandemic Pastimes with Master Trainers: Sandra Summerhayes. Sandra has put her Resourceful Orange to good use, helping many facilitators over the hump of embracing the world of training Personality Dimensions® virtually. She not only offered the Delivering Personality Dimensions® in a Virtual World training, but has worked with us on updating many resources and Toolkits to include virtual applications. I think she was a little surprised when we spoke over a year ago, and I asked if she could come up with a training program that would launch a month later – and at that moment her summer plans were changed! I hope you will take Sandra up on her challenge to share with all of us what your biggest takeaway was from the COVID-era.

Yours from the back office…

Denise Hughes

Has COVID Impacted Your Business?

COVID-19 was the end of my business…or so I thought. As an Extraverted Authentic BlueResourceful Orange, the lack of interaction with people left me wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt… for about 3 weeks. Then my Resourceful Orange took over, and I decided to learn everything there was to know about virtual training using Zoom – a platform I had never used before. People came together and shared their knowledge and expertise freely to help everyone transition to this new reality we were facing. I went from knowing virtually nothing (pun intended) about Zoom to teaching others how to use it. My biggest takeaway was the understanding that almost anything one can facilitate in person, one can facilitate virtually. Delivering Personality Dimensions® in a Virtual World training and so much more stemmed from that.

What is your biggest takeaway this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sandra is the founder of Sandra Summerhayes & Associates Professional Training Group. She is a Personality Dimensions® Master Trainer in addition to being a facilitator, human resource specialist, employment counsellor, and laughter leader. Find out more about what Sandra is up to on her website,

Even More Personality Dimensions Pandemic Pastimes

Next in our series of Personality Dimensions® Pandemic Pastimes with Master Trainers is Michael Tudor and Larry Konyu. I remember very well the concerns that were expressed by a lot of trainers about how well Personality Dimensions® would work online and Michael and Larry were no exception, as their note will tell you.

And yet, just today, I got some program evaluations from them for their most recent Level I training, done virtually, of course, and here’s a bit of what they shared with me. ‘Again, it is amazing how this works online… We had some difficulty ending on time because of all the stories/anecdotes. So much fun. Doesn’t seem like work.

Here, in their own words, The Virtue of Going Virtual with Personality Dimensions® Virtuously (I think they had some fun with that!).

Yours from the back office…

Denise Hughes

A little more than a year ago, we were reluctant to take Personality Dimensions online. “Can’t work in that environment,” we said. “People won’t buy it,” we continued. “The software, bandwidth, and methodology will require new skills and techniques which will take too much time!” – we exclaimed.

The pandemic changed all that. Covid-19 forced us to rethink our modus operandi. Being sequestered at home, we began to seek face-to-face contact with family and friends. Along came ZOOM! Family and friends were reluctant learners – afraid to try something new. Once tried, we couldn’t get them to end the session. It was easy. It was fun.

So, we thought this could really work with Personality Dimensions®. Still skeptical, we began to brainstorm how we might structure our 3-day Level I training program. We took a course by Sandra Summerhayes and discussed methodologies with other instructors. While in this phase, we began getting requests for workshops and training!

There is nothing like the prospect of earning money – “Show me the money!” – we said, that inspired us to launch into full design and planning mode. We had nothing else to do – talk to each other all day? Oh, how boring! We needed to spice things up a bit.

We started with one person who really enjoyed the program. But more than that, we found it worked! It was refreshing. Then we had a participant from South Korea. Wow – “the world is our oyster” – we thought. In spite of the time difference, we made it work and it was fantastic.

Then we did a workshop with 4 people, learning how to navigate breakout rooms, whiteboards, Kahoot, videos, audios, etc. We were amazed how easy and fast it was to adapt our materials and PowerPoint to this new environment.
Moreover, our clients gave us the accolades that we shall cherish. No longer are we unbelievers – we have been converted, maybe never to return to the past ways of doing things.

Here are some comments from our clients:

“Exploring and understanding the possible functions of different group set-ups really hit home for me. This idea really has me thinking about the positive self-exploration that can be done in these different set-ups.”

“The material covered is what it says it is… a tool. A tool that was given to me by my knowledgeable facilitators. It not just a bunch of facts that are going sit in my brain and rot, it’s something I will use.”

“The facilitators were, knowledgeable and presented the workshop in a manner that was both interesting and informative. Also, their openness in discussing and sharing their personal situation created a more relaxed environment, which in turn made it more comfortable for me to share.”

Michael Tudor & Larry Konyu are level 3 Master Trainers in Personality Dimensions®. Their company, Kondor Enterprises, has been active for the past 25 years. They can be contacted by visiting their website, or by email at or

Personality Dimensions Pandemic Pastimes

What an interesting time we live in! There have been so many changes in our lives in the last 16 months or so and for some of us that means that we’ve become less and less connected than we otherwise would be. The same is true of our Personality Dimensions extended family.

So… I asked our active Personality Dimensions Master Trainers to take a few minutes and put together a brief note that could be posted on the various Personality Dimension online groups. It didn’t need to be any ‘latest and greatest’ tips and tricks; it could be a fond memory of something that happened at one of their Personality Dimensions workshops, or perhaps an “Aha moment” that has stayed with them. Or they could just let the rest of us know what they’ve been up to during the pandemic.

Over the next several weeks we will be sharing with you their responses. The first person to respond was Wayne Jones and he has shared with us some insights into what he has been doing during the pandemic. Enjoy this brief insight into Wayne’s world.

This is an open invitation – we want to hear your Personality Dimension stories and special moments too.

Yours, from the back office,


Being an Introverted, Organized Gold individual, my mind immediately went to two places:

  • what is Denise’s deadline on this delightful task (so I can submit it ahead of time and check it off my “to do” list?
  • what is the best organizational format that will allow me to be succinct, yet somewhat pithy?

I decided, then, to divide this brief summary into two sections: Professional and Personal.


Like most of you, my professional interests are diverse, and Personality Dimensions certainly holds a key position in that portfolio. I enjoyed doing some virtual online training with Sandra Summerhayes. Lifelong learning is so important! As Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  I recently was asked to be one of the speakers for the 2021 Virtual Conference of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education. My webinar “Victorious Living! Victorious Parenting!” was based on temperament and has now been posted to YouTube. All conference participants received a parent toolkit package which included a copy of our book “Great Parenting Skills for Navigating Your Kid’s Personality”.

My other professional role is a Faculty Advisor with Nipissing University, in which I monitor the progress of 24 students, about half of whom will enter the teaching profession next September. With the many changes in the Ontario educational landscape this year, we all learned to pivot quickly and adapt to emerging realities. Many of these students also contributed their thoughts on the challenges of online teaching and learning, which were embedded in the recent 4 blog series found earlier on this page.


Of course, family and friends are the most important facets of my life (even though the Authentic Blue part of me is my least dominant). With my daughter and two grand daughters living with me, and my other daughter’s family ten minutes away, we are in constant contact!

My other two big personal interests are running and records.

I have always enjoyed sports and physical activity. In the past fifteen years or so, I have focused more on running – doing 5 and 10K races from time to time. After Kate’s passing, my daughter and I ran the New York Marathon in her memory (well, we walked and jogged). I decided that I could actually “run” a marathon, so just before the pandemic, I ran one in Celebration Florida, and was fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I was accepted, so on October 11th, I will be running the Boston Marathon – another bucket list item to be checked off.

My other hobby is record collecting and selling, and I have over 3000 records (mostly classical and jazz). I have about 750 listed on  for sale, and I’m always looking for interesting vinyl to add to my collection. I recently purchased a 1919 Victrola to play the 78 rpm records I have.

So, that’s my story in a nutshell. I look forward to reading the stories of my colleagues.

You have to go to School, You’re the Teacher! -Supporting Online Learning with Personality Dimensions Pt. 4

Part 4: The Teacher

“Education is NOT preparation for life; education is LIFE ITSELF.” ~ John Dewey

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

John Dewey was the most significant educational thinker of his era and, many would argue, of the 20th century. His profound influence extends through to the present day. As a philosopher, social reformer and educator, he changed fundamental approaches to teaching and learning.

As we discovered in the previous three blogs in this series, understanding the personality patterns of the parent and the student and how they interact can help propel a child’s educational journey forward, or conversely, if misunderstood, hold back progress. The final critical component in this triad is the teacher. Over the past pandemic year, the role of the educator has changed dramatically as school boards implement new policies around virtual online learning and teachers (and their unions) attempt to put all of the pieces of this complex puzzle together in a way that will benefit the student. Today we take a brief look at the changing role of the teacher and how personality may impact the instructional process.

As a teacher in the elementary and secondary panels, I found that I had the most instructional impact when I really knew and understood the learning needs of my students, and under what conditions they might thrive. Sure, this might seem obvious, but “knowing” them meant understanding their particular personality profile – their core needs and desires, and how they might achieve their individual goals. If I understood this concept, I could then open the door for their learning to grow exponentially.

As we have seen in my previous blogs, there are four personality dimensions, and we are each a unique blend of these. Teachers are encouraged to understand the learning style of each personality so that they can adjust and target instruction accordingly. And to add value and impact to this process, a thorough understanding of your own personality, so you can adjust your instructional methods as required. It’s all about teaching (styles) and learning (styles).

So, as a teacher, how do I know who’s who in the personality spectrum? And what are they looking for? Can you give me a brief summary to get me started, and then a great resource for follow up? Glad you asked!

The Organized Gold student values belonging, orderliness, responsibility, system productivity, efficiency, fairness, security, stability, duty, tradition and accuracy. You might want to picture them as industrious beavers.

The Authentic Blue student appreciates cooperation, teamwork, creativity, individuality, self-actualization, optimism, generosity, relationships, sensitivity, harmony and personal growth. They might be pictured as playful, friendly dolphins.

The Resourceful Orange student values action, freedom, variety, speed, high impact, agility, precision, excitement, fraternity and spontaneity. You may want to think of them as a fox – ready to turn “on a dime” to seek the next adventure.

The Inquiring Green student appreciates autonomy, privacy, independence, logic, competence, objectivity, ingenuity and future orientation. People often picture them as wise owls.

As a teacher, ask yourself – what personality am I and how does that impact my teaching style? Do my lessons serve the needs of all personalities, especially on line?

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words, so let’s let the following graphic guide your thinking about implementing these ideas in a virtual environment.

7 Tips for Remote Teaching
(Graphic used with permission of Wendi Pillars and Larry Ferlazzo)

Part 4 ½ :  The Last Word is Yours!

I began this four-episode blog series with ideas put forward by parents, students and teachers. It is only fitting, then, that they have the last word. (Examples used by permission.)

From a Teacher Candidate:  Teaching Online

  • Virtual teaching is most definitely a challenge, but it’s something I have personally enjoyed so much! I found it to be more time-consuming in terms of preparation, especially if I wanted activities to be fun, interactive, and visually creative. However, it was very worth it when I saw students were engaged and enjoying the lesson.
  • Routines:
    • When teaching virtually, I found that one of the most important things was establishing a consistent routine. We had a schedule in place with time blocks set up for each subject and break.
  • I made sure to split up direct instruction with lots of interactive activities to get students to actively engage with the material (instead of passively listening).
    • I also made sure to include a brain break every 35-40 minutes, such as a brain teaser or short DPA. For DPA, we did Zumba, stretching, and kickboxing.
    • There was also a consolidation block in the middle of the day, where students had a work period while I met with individual students or small groups to check in and provide additional support.
    • Thanks to this routine, students knew exactly what to expect and were provided with lots of opportunities to work both independently and cooperatively. This routine also allowed us to start and end each day on a positive note.
  • Camera/Microphone:
    • Another important aspect was establishing clear expectations in terms of participation. In our class, students were required to keep their cameras on throughout the whole day. If a camera was off and the student was not responding via microphone, parents were called. Unless a student had communicated with us that they were experiencing technical difficulties (and found other ways to participate – such as via microphone or chat), the whole class knew that the expectation was to be present and participating with cameras on.
  • Student roles and responsibilities:
    • Students were given rotating classroom roles (i.e., updating the virtual agenda, checking to see if everyone is in attendance, preparing the opening exercises, etc.). These roles helped create a better sense of community and allowed students to feel like they were contributing to the classroom, even though it was online.
  • If technical difficulties occurred (i.e., a video wouldn’t play, Google Slides wasn’t opening, etc.), we always had a few back-up plans in place so that we could quickly provide a different option for students to work on while we tried to sort out the issue.
  • For students on IEPs requiring modifications, Google Classroom was great because it allowed us to create a separate folder for each of these students. We could then post modified work and activities to a specific student’s folder, without it being visible to the rest of the class.
  • Google Forms was a great tool that allowed us to receive some feedback from students regarding what they were enjoying, what they didn’t like, or what they would like to see/do in class.
  • We provided detailed feedback in the comment section of every submitted assignment or project. Individual reminders and meetings were set up for students who weren’t submitting work or not meeting expectations.
  • Personally, I feel as if I was able to get to know the students much better through virtual teaching than when I was in a classroom face-to-face. It’s probably because there were fewer distractions; there was much more direct dialogue between me and individual students. While I can’t wait for things to return to normal, it was an interesting experience to see how much I was able to learn about the students’ interests, personalities, and preferences through a virtual setting. Surprisingly, students got to know each other pretty well too, as a lot of them connected outside of school hours (we even had a few students who became best friends, even though they never met each other in person). Despite the challenges of the virtual learning world, I really do think we were able to create a positive and supportive community, for which I feel so grateful!

From a Grandparent:  Virtual Kindergarten

“I was impressed with the program the Kindergarten teachers put together. It was very detailed and had timelines attached to it. There were synchronous periods of learning which had movement breaks in them. The asynchronous learning times were adjacent to nutrition breaks, so the children usually had an hour to an hour and a half away from the organized classroom, three times a day. The teachers were very patient. The children were not always good with using the computer mouse. They had to be reminded each time to unmute and then mute their microphones. Often, they were off topic, which was listened to, and then they were gently brought back to the topic at hand. I found I had to be with Jill (name changed) continually as she needed help with the mouse at first. Then when doing asynchronous activities on the computer, I had to read the label of the activity and show her how it worked. One problem I found with the asynchronous learning centres, was that we could not hear the instructions, or the stories being read as the other children had their microphones on, so that there was absolute chaos. During the teacher-led time, some of the children were doing other things, such as jumping on the bed, playing with the dog etc. The teachers would try to draw the child back but did not force the point. We tended to drift to other activities off the computer during these asynchronous times.

I found two days in a row particularly exhausting. Jill, however loved it. It was me, who found it exhausting. I did hear a couple of parents at different times, expressing frustration with the online learning. They were obviously trying to work from home and finding they had to help their children more than expected. One was quite vocal about the skills the children needed – mouse skills, including drag and drop, plus being able to read to complete the activities. Another vented that the children were not learning anything, and it was useless. I did not agree with that, but I did agree that an adult was needed to help navigate the sites and activities.

I also noticed that on the computer, the children did not talk to each other but only to the teachers. They would talk to the group about activities or objects they were showing the class, but no back-and-forth conversation. This is what Jill was so pleased to have, when she returned to school. It has been quite an experience.”

Wayne Jones, M.Ed. is an experienced educator, having taught students from Kindergarten through secondary school as well as adult education. Wayne has been a principal in the Peel District School Board and is currently a faculty advisor for Nipissing University. Wayne draws on over 30 years educational practice and numerous life experiences to enrich his writing and workshop presentations. A proud parent of two, with four grandchildren, he enjoys spending quality time with family; biking, hiking, running, and attending live arts productions. His passion for music and athletics fuels an active, healthy lifestyle.

I Want to Watch a Different Movie Now – Supporting Online Learning with Personality Dimensions Pt. 3

Part 3: Supporting Students

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

“Good morning, Grade 9s. Welcome once again to online math where today, we are going to look at some exciting algebra facts! As you can see, example 1 shows the exponents…..” “Oh great! Another boring lesson from a teacher who has not really connected with me yet. Well, at least we can keep our screens off so s/he won’t see me in my pyjamas and I can text my friends when things get difficult.”

“Hey, my happy grade 1 friends. It’s time to wake up our bodies and minds with some movement. So, get up from your chairs, follow the action on the screen, and do The Body Boogie with me ( Let’s go! Let’s rock!” “This is the best part of the day! I love dancing with the music and watching the action, and then learning other things from my teacher. S/he lets us talk to each other on our devices at the end of each lesson.”

For some students, virtual online learning can be the best way to learn, and for a few, it may be better than actual physical in-class schooling. For others, though, remote learning (asynchronous or synchronous) can be fraught with challenges. In this blog, we will explore how students exhibiting different personality patterns may deal with different virtual learning scenarios.

Jill is in grade four and starts her online school every morning at 8:45 AM. She is quite pleased with the way things are going thus far. Here’s why. Jill enjoys the daily structure of the learning environment as her teacher always begins by greeting each student by name. This is followed by opening exercises which include the national anthem, the reflective quotation for the day, and an individual wellness check-in, using a unique system of emojis. The instructional day always begins with mathematics, followed by language. Once these content rich subjects are done, it’s time for “recess” which is an activity-based program of movement, dance and aerobics. Prior to lunch, the class learns a second language and music. After lunch, (which Jill has with her mother, who works from home and her brother who is in grade six in the same school), the afternoon learning follows with much of the same pedagogical structure in place. With each subject the teacher allows the students to pose questions and have some time for small group interaction (using breakout rooms). At the end of the day, Jill feels as if she has accomplished something positive and is ready to resume her learning journey the next day.

Jill’s personality profile leans heavily towards the description of an Organized Gold personality. School is an example of an institution that is inherently organized and structured, which suits the Organized Gold personality group well. Jill respects the teacher, not only because she may be well-qualified, but because she occupies a position of some authority in the education hierarchy. Whether it is online or in-class instruction, Jill strives to always be prepared and will complete assigned tasks on time and to the best of her ability. The Organized Gold student is very capable of following directions and gathering good information through attentive listening and logical problem-solving. Using a computer to learn can be an effective tool as its vast resources allow the Organized Gold student to plan, collect and synthesize data in meaningful sequences.

So, on first examination, it would seem like Jill and virtual online learning are a great match. In fact, this is largely the case. However, the Organized Gold student (and their parents and teachers) should be aware that there are some areas that can cause frustration. Jill, and others sharing her personality profile, need to feel as if they belong to an organization or group (class, family, team); they need to be a contributing member of something worthwhile. The good teacher and parent will recognize their value to the organization, often by giving them some special added responsibility. At home, Jill will benefit by having a learning space that is free of clutter and where “there is a place for everything and everything is in its place”. The Organized Gold personality also appreciates concrete rewards (as long as it is truly merited), which can be a challenge in a virtual learning context.

Navdeep is in the same class as Jill, but his educational, social and personal needs are quite different. Navdeep’s personality profile is an Authentic Blue. He is all about relationships, and virtual online learning has had some different opportunities and challenges. First of all, he really enjoys his teacher as he perceives her caring, supportive personality through her online presence and teaching style. He feels he has made a connection, even though he is not in a physical classroom teaching space. What Navdeep enjoys most about the instructional day is when the teacher places students in breakout rooms. While they do share information and answer questions, he values the interaction time with classmates as he strives to create strong bonds of friendship and shows concern for their learning journey. In addition, because he is an optimistic creative thinker, he will often suggest novel ways of solving problems and then strive to get consensus through encouraging others.

Fortunately for Navdeep, the inherent structure of the instructional day helps with time management, which can be a bit of a challenge as he may focus on people more than process. Navdeep is learning how to distinguish between content and conscience. His understanding teacher has realized that approval for recognition for his work in this area is a great personal motivator. Unlike Jill, who enjoys tangible rewards, Navdeep thrives on verbal praise and acknowledgement of his special talent of being a group catalyst.

Navdeep is not thrilled with the online “recess” concept of getting up and doing movement, dance and exercise. He finds it all too structured, and if he is going to move, he is going to do it creatively – let his mind and imagination lead his body. From time to time, he may even pull out his pastels and continue work on his private artwork. Lunch is a time to completely relax from the structure of school. Fortunately, he is part of a large family so he can interact with “real” humans (not faces on a screen), have in-depth conversations (often quite animated and expressive).

Navdeep’s parents have discovered that the best home learning environment is one in which materials for Navdeep’s many creative outlets are readily available. The room is comfortable and inviting – sufficient lighting, well placed to support academic rigour, but also some “mood” lighting when he wants to “escape to his own private world” to relax. The parents also encourage his friends to come over on a regular basis and have “social distance visits” to satisfy his need to interact with others and even meet new people.

Mei goes online every morning at 8:15 AM as she is now in high school (grade 9). All of her courses are virtual online ones (math, language, business studies and science). She has two subjects in the morning and two in the afternoon. There is a ten minute break between subjects and a forty minute lunch. It is the same schedule every day of the semester. The math and science teachers are very structured in their approach to learning. Each day is a new lesson, built upon information learned the previous day. There is always a homework assignment with each lesson (roughly thirty minutes in length) and a quiz to start the next day’s lesson to check for understanding. Students do not turn their cameras on. Occasionally, students will be assigned to breakout rooms for group problem solving, but this is rare and this is the only time students turn on their cameras. The language and business studies teachers take a different approach to virtual learning. They ask students to keep their cameras on (respecting privacy, of course) for the whole lesson. They encourage dialogue as much as possible during the lesson, using a hands up feature or the chat box. The technology can get cumbersome at times, but all participants have learned how to adapt to this reality.

Mei enjoys the approach taken by the language and business studies teachers, even though she is not particularly strong in these subjects. Mei’s personality profile is Resourceful Orange. Her core needs are freedom, variety and activity. As a result, when the teachers allow for input and discussion, she is quick to jump onboard as she thinks quickly and acts just as fast. This helps keep discussions animated and lively and she is often the centre of attraction. Her persuasive nature and clear communication style allow her to influence others and her strong negotiating skills help others connect with her. She does not hesitate to tackle challenging issues. Her teachers have realized this and they often ask her to be a group leader or spokesperson (sometimes to the chagrin of others in the group).

Even thought she is academically gifted in these subjects, math and science are much more challenging for Mei’s Resourceful Orange personality which may struggle with rigidly enforced procedures. She finds that she quickly “zones out” when repetition of content is perceived. As there is little opportunity for feedback during class and cameras are turned off, Mei often fills her class time by texting her friends, getting up and moving around, and finding other activities to keep her stimulated. On most days, she completes the daily homework, but is not overly concerned if she does not get it done that day. She may wake up a little earlier the next day and rush through it to submit prior to the daily morning quiz. A regular school routine is not in her wheelhouse. And Mei doesn’t really care that much. She likes to improvise and may be a tad impulsive so may miss some of the important details of the assignment or quiz. While those with a Resourceful Orange personality often learn by experience, this is a skill Mei is still developing; she is also going through early adolescence which is another complicating factor to be aware of.

Mei’s perceptive parents have learned that Mei acts quickly and decisively, and their communication with her is often brief and to the point. When presenting options (which is a great strategy), they allow her to decide on her own (with tidbits of guidance when appropriate) and try different strategies. Mei’s “home school” room may look messy on the surface, but Mei knows where everything is and how it may be used. In fact, she often likes to try using some things for purposes for which they might not have been designed. She is creative and inventive and likes to be rewarded for her ingenuity.

Pierre is in the same classes as Mei, but his perspective on these virtual online classes is quite different. Pierre’s personality profile is that of the Inquiring Green. His favourite classes are science and math. Not only is he strong academically in these areas, he really enjoys the online learning experience with the two teachers. As the Inquiring Green core needs are knowledge and competence, Pierre feels he can excel in these subjects. He enjoys the logic of the curriculum and its structured implementation by these teachers. Pierre enjoys science in particular as the teacher illustrates both micro and macro concepts for the class, and Pierre absolutely loves to do in-depth research in both. While he finds the rigid structure (time, content) he does realize that this helps keep him organized and focused, as he has a habit of “going down the rabbit hole” when intrigued by an idea. His science teacher recognizes this and from time to time will give him an additional “bonus, above level” project to explore, but with few timelines for completion “etched in stone”. Doing the extra project in itself, is an internal reward for Pierre. The math teacher uses similar strategies for motivating this Inquiring Green personality.

Unlike Mei, Pierre finds the lack of structure and emphasis on group interaction in language and business studies to be a hurdle to overcome. He would much prefer to work on his own, allowing himself time to drill down in topics of interest to him. He requires a good chunk of private time to process his thoughts and he rarely gets this in language and business studies. He also questions the abilities of these two teachers as they seem to allow so many ideas of the students and not contribute enough of their own professional knowledge. Pierre needs to have his teachers earn his respect if he is to be engaged and contribute more fully. He often complains for being bored.

At home, Pierre is often given the time and space to explore his interests, and his parents encourage and compliment him on his progress. They have provided a home study room which reflects his passion for science in particular. Prominently displayed are his models of molecules, space craft and satellites, and a good computer with two screens. The books he has collected are primarily scientific journals and periodicals.

Jill, Navdeep, Mei and Pierre – all demonstrate very different learning styles, according to their personality profiles. All are equally valid and valued, and parents and teachers will benefit by recognizing the strengths and challenges of each, and adjusting their parenting and teaching strategies accordingly. We all need to adopt a “not one size fits all” approach as we encourage social/emotional learning.

Wayne Jones, M.Ed. is an experienced educator, having taught students from Kindergarten through secondary school as well as adult education. Wayne has been a principal in the Peel District School Board and is currently a faculty advisor for Nipissing University. Wayne draws on over 30 years educational practice and numerous life experiences to enrich his writing and workshop presentations. A proud parent of two, with four grandchildren, he enjoys spending quality time with family; biking, hiking, running, and attending live arts productions. His passion for music and athletics fuels an active, healthy lifestyle.