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Posts Tagged ‘myers-briggs

Ugh, I heard an intelligent and educated person on a podcast interview talking about how he took the Myers-Briggs inventory. I know that people are bored during a COVID-19 lockdown, but resorting to that con job is a new low.

This “personality test” is still used in some schools here for career guidance. But this is an uncritical practice that perpetuates myths from its proponents and profits for its snake oil sellers.
 

 
Such tests should come with warnings. You know, like the ones on cigarette boxes or packages of medicine.

Here is my stab at a first draft: The following test was not created by psychologists and is neither valid nor reliable. It does not benefit the user beyond strengthening confirmation bias or creating self-fulfilling prophecies. Its continued use will perpetuate pseudo-science and uncritical thinking.

This timely tweet reminded me to ask some questions.

Other than “learning styles”, are career guidance programmes here going to keep wasting taxpayer money on Myers-Briggs tests for students and the same training for teachers?

Are people who claim to be edtech, change, or thought leaders still going to talk about “21st century competencies” and “disruption” this decade?

Might people keep confusing “computational thinking” or “authoring with HTML” with “coding”?

Will administrators and policymakers lie low in the protection and regulation of the privacy and data rights of students?

Are vendors going to keep using “personalised learning” and “analytics” as catch-all terms to confuse and convince administrators and policymakers?

Are sellers of “interactive” white boards still going to sell these white elephants?

Are proponents of clickers going to keep promoting their use as innovative pedagogy instead of actually facilitating active learning experiences?

I borrow from the tweet and say: Please don’t. I extend this call by pointing out that if these stakeholders do not change tact, they will do more harm than good to learners in the long run.

If you found out that a tool and practice you have relied on was based on false premises, would you still use them? I wager you would not if you placed weight on basic ethics.

I recently found out about a school’s career guidance programme. I have no beef with that because kids need to be more aware what lies ahead.

No, I was dismayed to find out that the school relied on the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) for students to gain “insights” into who they were.

In the past I have highlighted videos that summarise why the Myers-Briggs personality inventory is a sham.


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After you watch these videos, you will realise that this tool and practice:

  • Are neither valid nor reliable
  • Ignore context and human growth/change
  • Are based on misplaced and reinterpreted Jung theory
  • Go against Jung’s view: “Every individual is an exception to the rule
  • Only emphasise the positive and vague (the same strategy used by pseudoscience)

The only entities to benefit from the perpetuation of the Myers-Briggs personality inventory are the companies that prepare and score them for a fee — to the tune of US$20 million according to the Vox video. Perhaps some HR departments benefit as well if they choose this lazy and unreliable method of classifying people and their potential — again see the Vox video.

Businesses are not about to slaughter a cash cow just because they find out it is fake beef. They will hide this fact or disguise it with beef flavour (pseudoscience). But will school administrators, teachers, and educators keep buying in to and buying these services? Do they not see the long term harm of modelling uncritical thinking and action?

My beef with such schooling is that people know the facts but choose not to change (wilful ignorance) or do not know because they do not keep learning (plain ignorance). Another excuse is that the MBTI is not the only element in the programme. Of course it is not! Poison is not the only ingredient in a beefy dish served to many.

The unkindest cut might be that the continued use of the MBTI — and other perpetuated fallacies — does not mercifully kill the victims immediately. The poison keeps the poisoned alive long enough to poison others.

Schools that use the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) for career guidance and other programmes need to learn what a sham and scam it is.

The MBTI is not scientifically-based, and yet companies make a healthy profit off the tests they offer to schools and workplaces. But I fear that this important message falls on deaf ears.

If you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them.

One of my teaching mantras is that if you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them. Since scientific thinking and hard facts about the fallacy of the Myers-Briggs personality test might be too boring and dry, here is something to whet the appetite.


Video source

For a fuller and more satisfying meal, try this menu item.


Video source

Videos are not teaching material miracles in themselves. If I recorded myself just stating the facts, I would create a video-based lecture. Then not only would I have deaf ears, I would also get closed eyes.

The two videos above are spiced with a bit of drama and simplification, but they stay true to the story and facts. They are designed to disarm the learner and elicit emotions. Only then might they inform.

This reverses the order of traditional teaching, which seeks to inform first and perhaps does not even disarm and elicit. This is one way effective videos level up in order to reach before they teach.


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