Temperament

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Every understanding we come to about our child will
have a bearing on how we approach their education.
Understanding their temperament, and our own,
helps us better understand the interplay between us.

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Human Temperament is, of course, a huge area of study, and a great many researchers have done vast amounts of work to help us be able to recognise our own an other people’s personality traits. The different models used to describe human temperament are most often referred to as ‘personality typing’ or ‘temperament indicators’. Such studies aim to help us understand how we function in various areas.
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Articles in this section include:

 Myers Briggs DISC Modelling 4 Temperaments Enneagram

These articles include links to:

  • other online articles on the topic, including discussions of the development, methodology and application of such tests, as well as criticisms of findings and assumptions.
  • free on-line tests you can use to ascertain how each might apply to your child

There are plenty of other tools of similar ilk available. I’ve even heard of Personality Gems*, although there isn’t a lot of information available online, that I have been able to find.

(*This link is to a business website, but if you think of your child as the ‘client’ you’ll still gain insight, although you do have to scroll past advertisements in the midst of the text.).

Please use these links, or the tabs along the top of the page
and the drop-down menus to navigate your way around.
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Typically, these tools present four options as a primary personality or temperament, usually allowing a tendency towards a secondary type, allowing for individuality. Such tools can be a great tool in helping our understanding, of both our child and ourselves.
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What Is Addressed

Personality or Temperament testing tends to take into consideration several aspects of Self [1]:

Core Self

This is the immutable part of ourselves; the part that has been intrinsic to our personality since our genes began to come together. These tendencies are part of our DNA and influence not only how we behave, but also how we adapt, grow and develop.

This is the area where we must accept ourselves and our children as we, and they, are.
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Contextual Self

This is who we are, depending on the circumstances and what the current situation requires of us. Environment draws different responses from individuals, and we all express ourselves uniquely “in the moment”.

In this area, we seek to equip our children to cope well in all circumstances; to know when to adapt and when to stand firm.
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Developed Self

The habits of the contextual self are subject to change as we mature, but as these take shape and become settled, they become part of the developed self. Our choices and decisions influence our personality development, just as our roles and interactions do.

This is the area where home education potentially has the greatest influence on our children, helping them develop good life skills, communication skills, etc., and learn to make thought-through, wise decisions.
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Your Own Observations

Without any purposeful study at all, you will have observed, in your self and in your child from the moment they were first laid in your arms, that remarkable thing called Individuality. All human beings tend to vary in our basic mood and in our typical responses to situations and events involving challenge, restraint, and unfamiliarity.

We’ll notice differences in such qualities as fearfulness, irritability, fussiness, attention span, sensitivity to stimuli, vigour of response, activity level, and readiness to adapt to new events. These constitutional differences help make up what is called a child’s temperament. It is believed that many temperament qualities are mediated by inherited differences in the neurochemistry of the brain. [2]
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Personal Experience

Over the years, I have personally undergone each of the models of testing discussed on links from this page. Each one provided me with valuable insight into myself and those around me.

The best advice I was given regarding my response to such testing came from someone much older and wiser than I was at the time. “Great tools,” he said. “Have fun, and don’t let it dictate who you become. It’s not about confining you in a locked room, it’s about giving you more light for your journey.”
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Please remember that like all testing, information about Personality Types is intended to be a tool in your hands:

  • use the information wisely
  • don’t be a slave to any such kind of segmentation
  • always use in consideration of your child’s uniqueness

Continue your research by doing an internet search on personality profiling or personality types, behaviour models, temperament models, etc., and reading books, either those used in this research or one of myriad others on this fascinating topic.
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The principle of all successful effort is to try to do
not what is absolutely the best, but what is
easily within our power, and suited for
our temperament and condition.
~ John Ruskin
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[1] Adapted from an article on Best Fit Type, referencing a work by Linda v. Berens
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and Dario Nardi, “The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self Discovery“.
[2] Adapted from Encyclopaedia Britannica’s introduction to Temperament.
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