Breaking Through Walls

Preface to this and future entries:
Please indulge my rambling imagination and desire to express myself genuinely.

My brain is spinning:

absorption into group work
article critique~comprehension!
linking readings to lectures but still behind on reading
challenging myself in social contexts
peer feedback/connection building
quiet reading breaks at lunch
shared enthusiasm/sense of adventure
I laugh a lot 🙂


During small group discussion this morning, I explained that I feel as though I am finally growing out of a 35 year identity crisis which has been an amazing journey so far.  This week, I have been shaken by the awareness of how little I actually know and how much I have unintentionally become entirely self-absorbed.  Being with 25 professional peers with eclectic life experiences has only served to increase my awareness of personal lack of knowledge.  As I write this, I feel by heart-rate increase slightly and whispers of doubt try to creep up.  I am optimistic that as I accept being open to everything being offered to me intellectually; the more fortuitously I will grow into myself.

This morning we completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.  My frustration levels rose as I read through and struggled to answer each of the questions.  Now, does not feel like an appropriate time for me to be making assessments about who I am, based on how I feel about my progress in personal growth.   It only took a short conversation with my partner to realize that my frustration lies in being forced into a ‘type’.  In the eyes of people who know me, I have been many ‘types’; it is only recently that I have begun to develop the confidence to break out of the boxes I feel as though I forced myself into based on the influence and expectation of others.  This morning; my personal bias with ‘types’ was preventing me from realizing the genuine, non-judgmental value in an assessment like the MBTI.  This evening, we took some time to read the supplemental information that I received from Hilary and, with a chuckle, my partner responded “I don’t know; that pretty much sounds like you.”  The irony in this, is that I was worried that the MBTI would place me into a box that I am in the process of growing out of; I struggled over many of my answers and still doubt the authenticity of many of them.  I have come to realize that the types I am associated with highlight my strengths in such a way that instead of feeling constrained by the walls of a box I feel empowered by my freedom to move between a variety of them.



  1. susanfisher said,

    July 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Hello Sheena

    How very interesting that the tool (Myers Briggs) which was used to assist us by illuminating character traits, should cause such stress in all of us. Perhaps it is because that we understand the importance of context in critical thinking and the notion of context is not considered in Myer’s Briggs. Brookfield indicates that “Critical thinkers are aware that the practices, structures and actions are never context free” (Brookfield, S. (1987). Developing Critical Thinkers. San Francisco. Josey Bass.). To do a quantitative test without context leaves the person being tested uneasy. Does our individualism get challenged; do we seek to explain ourselves in a context? Once the results are reviewed, there were no surprises for me, and I suspect for you.

    What I found much more useful than Meyers Briggs, was undergoing the Kolb testing a few years ago. To know my learning style opened up huge thought processes and learning channels for me. I had been unaware of how I learned and I felt isolated in my learning and “different”. To be able to address my learning needs empowered me to learn the way I felt best.

    You may never be an extravert, but to learn how this may affect your learning and teaching would be valuable to you, as well as the other members of your teams.

  2. rharmon said,

    July 29, 2010 at 5:35 pm


    I too felt conflicted by by Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. I was trying to over analyze the questions to figure out how the answers would affect just who I am. (Or who the test said I would be)

    I was very uncomfortable reading a description of “me.” Not because that I did not like what I read, but more the fact that it would be difficult for me to change.

    Along with this, the sibling order activity reiterated what the EMTI showed for my personality and how I act with others.

    I am now looking through different eyes working in a group environment, and I will take a back seat to let introvert people “Lead the Pack.” 🙂

  3. kjlemieux said,

    August 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    You write so beautifully! Now that that’s out of the way I’d like to agree with you that this residency, for me, has been a process of opening up to the res’s wonderful intellectual offerings, and accepting the growth (the fortuitous growth, I think you said) that will come as a result of this openness. I think of the constructivist belief that an authentic learning situation must elicit some degree of discomfort in its learner. I can attest to the fact that this past week (and a bit) has been very uncomfortable. Still, a part of me celebrates this discomfort as I recognize its fortuitousness :).

  4. sheena4rru said,

    August 4, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you all for your feedback and deeper discussion.

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