GREGORC ASSOCIATES INC.
Frequently Asked Questions on Style
This FAQs section provides a means of building upon the foundation of the Mind Styles Model. It also sheds light on where I am coming from as a phenomenologist and educator dedicated to the lifelong study of style and the mind.
The questions are compiled from graduate and advanced seminar students, workshop and presentation participants, clients, and from individuals who telephoned, wrote letters and sent e-mails. Additional questions will be posted periodically.
All these questions and hundreds more are included in the Mind Styles FAQs Book.
The questions are grouped into the following categories to provide a reasonable context and the best flow possible:
Q. You use phenomenological methodology in your research. What is phenomenology?
A. Phenomenology is a specific way of experiencing and understanding the world. Pheno means: outward appearance or what we call "style." Noumena means: the invisible driving forces that give rise to the style. Examples of noumena are the qualities of concreteness, abstractness, sequentialness and randomness and functions such as intellect, emotions, intuition and instinct. Logos means: the word, nature of, root of or the Cause of things. Logos deals with ethos, spirit, soul and Self. In brief, phenomenological research identifies the three levels of existence: the essence/spirit of something, the nature of the driving forces that emanate from it and the outer appearance, characteristics, behaviors and mannerisms that are the signatures of the spirit and invisible driving forces.
Q. What qualities or characteristics must an individual have to become a phenomenological researcher?
A. A phenomenological researcher must have insight and clairvoyant abilities. In other words, he/she must "see" beneath the outer images and the world of appearances. He/She must be clairaudient to "hear" the messages beyond the words and utterances. Both abilities are necessary to understand the world of noumena. The spirit reveals itself in subtle ways. A subtle human instrument can discern its signals.
The phenomenologist must also have writing, speaking and/or artistic abilities that can be used to convey his/her experiences to people who may not initially be able to relate to his/her insights and findings.
Q. Was psychologist Carl Jung a phenomenologist?
Q. Do you realize that some of your colleagues disagree with your "meta-physical" (i.e., beyond the physical) views and theory about the nature, causes and implications of styles?
A. Yes, I do. Some subscribe to the Materialistic Theory that states that there is only one reality, the world of particulars in which we live and perceive through our physical senses. In their eyes, the physical world (pheno) is an autonomous, self-sufficient realm in which universals (i.e., noumena and logos) are merely aspects or by-products of physical entities. The universals have no existence apart from particulars. Mystical elements are repudiated and the mind is dispensed with.
Other colleagues speak from a mechanical or automatism viewpoint which states that all living things are machines explainable by the mechanistic descriptions given by the sciences of physics, chemistry, physiology, etc. People with this perspective state that our brain decides what we will learn.
Q. How do you feel about them?
A. I feel where they're coming from and understand their scientifically-limited views.
Q. What is the relationship between the Gregorc Style Delineator and the Mind Styles Model?
A. The Gregorc Style Delineator is an integral component of the Mind Styles Model. Its primary purpose, as a self-assessment instrument, is to help individuals move toward the Model's goals of increasing consciousness, being harmless to Self and others, and using the ideas and activities at the appropriate times.
Ultimately, the Mind Styles Model is the "mother ship." The Delineator is but one component.
Q. What is a model?
A. A model is a simple, economical, theoretical construct that represents its creator's viewpoint of reality. It is free of undue complexity, designed to show how internal and external resources can be organized, built on propositions and principles about what is true, real and relevant in the world, and usable for forecasting probable events along with advice on how to deal with the present and future. It is also deeply human because it is an intensely personal creation or as Nietzsche says, "the confession of its author."
Q. Do you have a list of suggestions on how to use the Model and the Gregorc Style Delineator correctly?
A. Yes. Delineator do's-and-don'ts are recorded on my audio tape, The Careful Use of the Gregorc Style Delineator. The do's-and-don'ts relevant to the practice of the Model are found, along with Signs of Successful Practice, in my book, The Mind Styles Model: Theory, Principles and Practice.
Q. Why did you copyright and trademark your corporate Phoenix symbol and the terms, Mind Styles, Gregorc Style Delineator, Concrete Sequential, Abstract Sequential, Abstract Random and Concrete Random?
A. I copyrighted and trademarked them in order to: (1) be a responsible creator and author, (2) have my intellectual property legally protected, (3) prevent unauthorized alterations, uses and adaptations, (4) receive due credit for my work and (5) earn just compensation for my labors.
This also ensures the quaIity and integrity of my mind and psyche development materials. Product integrity is why companies trademark brand names and why consumers can buy the products with confidence. Brand names assure users that they are getting the "real thing" not an imitation that could mislead and do harm. It is critical to protect products from being diluted, modified and corrupted by pirates and predators who look to make a fast buck at our expense.
Q. I attended a workshop which featured a styles model that looked almost exactly like your Mind Styles. Instead of CS/AS/AR/CR, however, other words were used. The descriptors were identical except for a few that changed columns. Your work was not cited. How could this happen?
A. Such a coincidence could occur because the model developer's independent research revealed a theoretical base and subsequent findings that were similar or identical to mine. If this is the case, evidence of these mutual discoveries is surely available.
On the other hand, the model you encountered may be a "knock-off" of my work and citations were omitted to prevent you from knowing it's a counterfeit. Research the history of any model you are considering so that you know you are getting "the real thing" and before you pass the counterfeit on to others. Also, please contact me if you find a potential violation of my work.
Q. When I asked a presenter for the underlying theory of the model of instruction he was presenting, he said, "The research says..." I felt that he begged the question. Was I wrong?
A. You were wrong in not pursuing an appropriate response. "The research says" is acceptable if you understand the researcher's theoretical base and methodology. If not, that phrase is meaningless. Maybe he didn't hear you correctly. Or maybe he was evading your penetrating question. Next time, hold his hand to the fire and get a definitive answer to your question.
Q. Why don't you recommend mixing and matching of different models within a school district?
A. Mixing can be productive if the models have compatible roots and constructs. If not, various programs will die, flounder or exist in a loose confederation of disparate parts of questionable morality.
Remember, each model represents its creator's intentions, factual reality, assumptions, principles, definitions, doctrines, programs and procedures. Mixing the surface elements of programs and procedures while the unseen forces of intentions and factual realities and principles differ, will not result in a united "mega-model" despite all the best intentions. When in doubt, get the creators together and ask them if their "babies" can really get along.
Q. Can anyone learn any model?
A. Advertising propaganda implies that the answer is yes. My experience, however, says that anyone can gain topical information about any model. But, each fully practiced model will make further specific mental demands on the implementor. As a result, some people, because of the natural strengths and limitations of their Mind Styles, will not be able to fully utilize certain models with ease and integrity.
Q. Does this mean that state-wide and system-wide adoption of models, programs, books and testing systems could create problems among staff members?
A. Yes. Bear in mind that every model has built-in stylistic demands for compliance in order for it to work as designed. Therefore, the program will not be effectively implemented if the proposed user does not have the requisite mental qualifications and capacities. As a matter of fact, some programs are actually bad for the mental health of both professionals and students.
Q. Is this why mass adoptions usually fail and the evaluations show "no significant difference" after using them?
A. It's one of the major reasons.
Q. How can I know which model is right for me?
A. Use three tests for "rightness" or appropriateness of a specific model. First, is it a coherent system which addresses your needs? Second, does the theory and practice of the model work in the crucible of the everyday world and help to improve it? And third, do your mind and Self accept the model so that the theory and practice become silent guides to harmless behaviors?
ON MIND AND BRAIN
Q. Do you distinguish between the mind and brain?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. What is the mind?
A. The mind is a meta-physical instrument for mediating with and relating with various environments. It helps us build thought and create reality by providing and coordinating various qualities such as abstractness/concreteness and sequentialness/randomness. We use these qualities to focus our attention, identify ourselves as existing beings and pay testimony to our Selves and our endowments. The mind also directs functions such as sensing, feeling, emoting, willing, extrapolating into the future, imagining, remembering and constructing forms for revelation.
Q. How are minds alike? Different?
A. All minds are made of the same "stuff" (noumenal qualities). This is why we can understand and relate to one another and the environs to some degree. There is, indeed, a "common sense" shared at a basic level. This fact is conveyed by the philosopher, Terrence, who wrote: "Nothing human is alien to me."
On the other hand, each mind is also inherently different because of a natural variance in the amount of "stuff" that is at our disposal. Some of us have more of the CS qualities. Others have more AS, etc. These quantitative differences account for our specialized abilities and our inability, beyond the basics, to understand and relate to all others equally well.
Q. Why do differences in mind qualities exist?
A. Differing amounts of CS/AS/AR/CR qualities are not by chance, nor are they haphazard endowments. They are perfectly matched to the personal blueprint (constitution or destiny map or life script) that is "housed" within our psyche. The mind is, therefore, an exquisite instrument designed to provide exactly what is needed to fulfill our raison d'etre.
Q. Since the mind and psyche are meta-physical or without physical substance, can you help me grasp them conceptually? Get a "picture" of them?
A. Conceptually, try this analogy: The mind is to the psyche as the roots, stems and leaves are to the seed. The mind emanates from and serves the psyche in the same way that the roots, stems and leaves emanate from and serve the seed.
Picture-wise, envision a white ball of fire or light. This is the psyche. Now envision channels or shafts of light radiating out like the points of a compass. One channel radiates northward. One eastward. Another radiates southward and another radiates westward. These rays of light, pictorially, are the channels of the mind. Each mental channel, including CS/AS/AR and CR qualities, is used for importing and exporting specific kinds of data, for helping us navigate and find our way in the world and for providing ways and means of bringing our seed's (psyche's) potential to fruition.
Please realize that there are many channels serving our souls (Selves). The Mind Styles Model focuses on only four of them.
Q. Who or what is the "boss" of the mind?
A. You ( ego and psyche).
Q. What is the brain?
A. It is a physical organ which serves as a vessel for concentrating much of the mind substances. Along with the spinal cord, nerves and individual cells, it comprises the "machinery of the mind" for receiving and transmitting data to various parts of the body. It is part of the essential hardware that permits the software of our spiritual forces to work through it and become operative in the world.
By way of analogy, the brain and the other organs are like the telephone and telecommunications network. They are tools for making communication possible. The brain does not create thought any more than the telephone creates the person's message and voice.
Q. Doesn't this view of the mind/brain relationship differ from that of most brain-based style and brain-compatible learning people?
A. Yes. Most do not distinguish between the mind and brain and few mention any relation to the psyche. In fact, they often attribute human and spiritual qualities to the bodily organs, structures and chemicals.
For example, some cite biochemical reasons for student behaviors. Some tell us how the brain procures information, decides what to remember, manipulates and changes data, perceives threats, protects itself, asks questions and mounts a defense. Others tell us that our brain simply makes sense out of nonsense, looks for patterns in life and then compares and contrasts those patterns with new events and situations. Still others tell us how our brain learns and how we should teach to and engage the brain.
Q. As a phenomenologist, don't these views and statements bother you?
A. Yes, they violate my sensibilities. My primary concerns are in four areas.
First, the cause/effect perspective is incompatible with my experiences and reasoning. To imply or state that the brain is the generator of thought and decision-making exalts this physical organ and diminishes our humaness. A material object (pheno) is not the cause or source of spirit (noumena and logos).
Second, the brain theory advocates do not provide answers to "why" questions such as, Why do brains exist? Why does it think? Why do individual differences in abilities appear? Why does the brain decide to learn and remember only certain things? Why does it get fearful? Why does it need compatible learning approaches? Why doesn't it automatically adapt to all kinds of teaching techniques and methods, media and appliances, and environmental conditions? Inquiring minds want to know.
Third, these views can abolish personal responsibility. If chemicals cause my behavior and my brain is learning and deciding what is relevant for me, what am "I" doing? If my brain chooses not to acknowledge and remember today's algebra lesson, how can "I" be held accountable? If my brain goes into protect mode and shuts down, how do "I" jump start it again? Am I at its mercy? If so, I can blame not myself for misfortunes, but structures. "My brain made me do it!"
Fourth, materialistic and mechanistic viewpoints preclude the moral imperative, "Above all, do no harm." The absence of Selfhood, Free Will, volition, universal laws, harmfulness, consciousness and conscience makes codes and moral statements irrelevant.
Q. With these perspectives, do you ever get invited to brain-based style conferences? If so, do you go?
A. Frankly, such invitations are few and far between. When I speak, I offer my views along side of those who see the world differently. In so doing, I adopt the attitude expressed in the spirit of the motto of The Fox News Channel: "We report. You decide."
Q. The second Primary Goal of the Mind Styles Model is to promote the attitude of harmlessness. What do you mean by harmlessness?
A. Harmlessness is the result of an inner orientation which prevents the violating, defiling, injuring and dishonoring of an individual (Self and others) or an environment.
Q. Does being harmless mean that I cannot defend myself or complain or sue someone that has offended, taken advantage of or hurt me?
A. Harmlessness is neither negative, sweet, kindly, wimpy nor submissive. It is a state of mind which does not preclude firm and even drastic, disagreeable action and speech that has good will behind it. You can be engaged in positive conflict and still be harmless by complaining about poor service, suing a fraudulent contractor, defending yourself physically, hanging-up on pesky telemarketers, demanding appropriate materials for learning, participating in a civil rights march and being non-violent in the face of offensive people.
Q. Why do people put themselves in harm's way?
A. The two biggest reasons are: (1) The failure to acknowledge the reality of evil, and (2) the need to be liked and accepted at any price.
Individuals who fail to recognize evil are childish. They give the benefit-of-the-doubt to victimizers, rationalize the offenders' behaviors and/or deny that harm ever occurred. Some even convince themselves that they deserved being harmed. Childish people wear rose-colored glasses and believe the violator just didn't know what he/she was doing or didn't mean to do it. They have yet to lose their innocence and grow up!
Other willing victims are in deep need of love, affection, care and appreciation. They often prostitute themselves and become vulnerable to abuse and harm in order to receive attention.
Q. Why do people harm others?
A. Vanity and greed.
ON THE GREGORC STYLE DELINEATOR AND PROFILE
Q. Why did you use words instead of descriptive sentences on the Gregorc Style Delineator?
A. The decision was based upon three key points: (1) my interest in psychological domains/complexes and association theory, (2) the theories of semantic differentials and antinomies, and (3) a means of complementing my phenomenological research on the nature and functions of the mind.
According to semanticists, different concepts and constructs are conveyed by shades of meanings of words. Psychologist Carl Jung found that a single word can elicit whole complexes which have an attraction and repulsion upon an individual. Comparatively, personal research revealed specific words that prompted differentiated responses among people with dominant CS/AS/AR/CR qualities. This lead to the words on the Word Matrix and the accompanying style characteristics.
I chose not to use descriptive sentences because they did not tap into the inherent and consistent perceptual and ordering abilities, nor trigger the common complexes I was looking for. I found such statements to be content and role specific as in the case of learning styles instruments that deal with school related behaviors. If a person didn't have a personal desk, then asking him/her if it was important to keep it neat was irrelevant and provided useless information.
Q. Can people cheat on the Delineator?
A. Yes. A rare few do fake their responses and try to figure out the design. They allow their ego to speak, rather than their Self. By cheating, these people lose valuable Self-knowledge.
Q. Do you have a computerized version of the Gregorc Style Delineator?
A. No. I found that the paper-and-pencil Self-assessment instrument mode yields the caliber of results I demand. The noumena of the computer introduces intervening variables which limit the intimacy that the handwritten form so elegantly provides. The variables also affect the results. No trials have convinced me otherwise.
Q. Are there foreign language versions of the Gregorc Style Delineator?
A. No. Development of such an instrument would require replicating the entire phenomenological study used to develop the present version. Both word options and stylistic characteristics would have to be identified and tested within the specific language population.
This is not merely a matter of translation. In fact, the instrument isn't translatable. Synonyms cannot be used in the present Matrix because each word was specially-derived and similar words do not carry the same power in the choice-making activity. Such is the nature of word-association research.
Q. I would like to have my adult students take the Gregorc Style Delineator, but we do not have any money to buy them. May I have permission to duplicate it?
A. No. I do not permit its reproduction in any form.
I suggest that you ask the students to pay for their own instruments if your school or program does not have the funds. Experience has shown that most people are willing to spend the equivalent to the cost of a burger and fries, or 50% of a movie ticket or a pack of generic cigarettes to gain insight into their minds. If they are not, perhaps they are not yet ready to deal with the ideas inherent in the Model.
Q. What does your term, Mind Field, mean in relation to my Profile?
A. The Mind Field is the area within the four lines you drew to join the CS/AS/AR/CR points of your Profile. This field is your "internal garden." It requires cultivating, fertilizing and weeding so that your "seed" (psyche/soul/Self) can grow, develop and reach fruition. It is your own "field of dreams." Build and they (good things) will come. And, it is your sacred space whose boundaries must be guarded and protected lest the seed be damaged.
Q. My job requires me to behave like a 35 point CS, although I score only 15 points. Is this what you call overachievement? Is this why I feel strung-out, frustrated and tired most of the time?
A. If a 15 point CS has to stretch to meet a consistent 35 point demand, then yes, that is overachievement. You are struggling to achieve using powers that are far beyond your natural endowments. You are drawing on latent potential which is not to be used. Plus you may be neglecting the use of your endowments thereby underachieving at the same time. This situation can become debilitating if it is chronic.
Stress symptoms often accompany overachievement/underachievement. They can, of course, be also due to many other factors. You may wish to discuss your concerns with both your physician and mental health care providers.
Q. I'm a dominant CS. Can the Delineator help find the best career for me?
A. No. Talents, gifts, vocations (callings) and missions (Life's Goals) are part of your psychological blueprint. The Delineator does not tap these.
Q. Can a person change dominant points over time?
A. No. Like individual DNA and fingerprints, one's mind quality formula and point arrangements remain throughout life. They are perfectly matched and exquisitely designed to help each of us fulfill our special missions (destinies) in Life.
Q. But, people do change their behaviors during their lives. What causes these changes?
A. Those are not changes to their inherent point formula and Mind Field. What appear to be changes are: (1) behaviors associated with developmental stages during which specific qualities are naturally brought to the surface for experiencing, testing and growing. Such stages are temporary and are particularly evident in childhood, e.g., the "terrible-twos." (2) symptoms of overachievement (going beyond one's endowed qualities) for meeting outside expectations and standards, adapting to non-compatible environments, serving ego-driven personal objectives and surviving in the physical world. (3) the vascillation between authentic (natural) and inauthentic behaviors.
ON STUDENT INSTRUMENTS
Q. Do you have a children's Mind Styles Delineator or learning styles instrument for assessing CS/AS/AR/CR behaviors in classrooms?
A. No. I will not create a child/youth instrument. Furthermore, I have not given anyone permission to develop one using my CS/AS/AR/CR terms. All rights are reserved.
Q. Why haven't you developed and marketed one?
A. The absence of a student instrument is not due to an oversight or a lack of interest in young people. No instruments exist because of findings from my experiments, field research, interviews and insights into the validity of such instruments and their side effects.
I realize that learning style instruments exist in varying forms today. Their creators and users believe in them and in their efficacy. I, too, believed in their potential in the early 70's when I began my work. I studied various instruments, questionnaires and surveys, then developed and tested different types based on my own theory. I soon changed my mind about their benefits. The old adage, "Direct experience provides a moral stance" rang true!
I shelved work on student versions, notified my colleagues and potential customers, and published my rationale. To date, my experience continues to confirm and reinforce my decision to not "unleash into the world" instruments that may potentially mislead or do harm to any young person or adult.
Q. What problems arose from a student version of the adult Gregorc Style Delineator?
A. Validity. Since the adult version is designed to aid people to identify qualities of their minds irrespective of the roles they play, they must use the Self as the reference point in ranking the specially-selected words on the Word Matrix. This is critical in word-association instruments. Young people simply could not do this. As a result, I could not identify a stable set of word choices to yield consistent results. These findings invalidated the predictive power of the instrument and the intent of the Delineator.
Q. What about a learning style instrument for identifying classroom preferences?
A. Questionable results appeared again. When I turned to a descriptive-based, sentence-type learning style instrument that focused on classroom behaviors, shadow studies and interviews revealed that some students didn't walk-their-talk when they reported, "I like to study in the library." Some gave socially-acceptable, politically-correct responses. Others provided wannabe answers. And some didn't react because items such as "I want to eat candy bars while studying" were unacceptable behaviors in school.
Design-wise, some students objected to forced choice responses like yes/no, always/usually/sometimes/rarely/never, most of the time/some of the time, etc. They said that the categories were too vague and that their answers would depend upon the subject matter, their interest, their liking of the teacher and their mood. A few indicated that they answered haphazardly because they "got tired of answering so many questions," got confused on the fill-in bubble answer sheet and became angry at researchers trying to get into their heads without their permission. And others offered answers that reflected non-natural, adaptive behaviors that they used to survive in school. They didn't consider their out-of-school and street-skill ways of learning to be legitimate.
These experiments showed me just how powerful a child's experiences and use of Free Will can be in affecting the responses on style instruments. They also demonstrated how cautious we must be before trusting the results enough to diagnose and label a child and then provide the right prescription. Inaccurate diagnoses can result in serious problems.
The work ceased and I concentrated on developing the "principle-based" Mind Styles Model.
Q. What were some of the negative side effects of instrument usage?
A. They took many forms. Following are a few:
AMONG STUDENTS: Some students learned of their scores, didn't like them and complained. Others accepted the results because "tests don't lie." Many simply did not grasp the idea that they were CS and AS and AR and CR in proportions. They saw themselves as a CS or, in other models, a #2, a Blue, a converger or a left brainer. Some labeled themselves and others with negative terms and used the information as an excuse for not learning--" I'm a global, I don't do details." And, some demanded style differentiated instruction from teachers who were not participating in the implemention of the various models.
AMONG TEACHERS: Some teachers had not done any form of self-analysis because their chosen model didn't provide it. Many relied upon the test results and didn't seek to develop personal observational and interviewing skills. Some became dependent upon outside recipes and kits for providing prescriptions. Others developed a false intimacy by thinking they now knew the child from the test results. And some were ill-equipped to explain the underlying theories of the practices they were implementing and thereby opened a can-of-worms by offering misleading and false information.
AMONG PARENTS: Some parents took the scores at face value, received little explanation, became concerned about the results and demonstrated that "a little knowledge can be dangerous." Some advocates went to board of education meetings demanding that entire schools be converted to style testing and prescriptive teaching. And some showed animosity toward teachers and counselors who would not get on the bandwagon to match their child's style.
AMONG ADMINISTRATORS: Some administrators treated style as just another inservice idea and failed to study it before introducing it to their faculties. Some bought into the idea because a neighboring district was into it or a national speaker talked about it at a convention. Some started programs but didn't provide sufficient monies and training. And most didn't develop the necessary policies to prevent employers and law enforcement officials access to student style profile scores. Security issues were not dealt with from the get go.
Q. This is why your product brochures and web site state that "no student instrument exists for technical, ethical and philosophical reasons?"
A. Yes. Clearly, student instruments can be "false witnesses." And, any use and application of them must be carefully considered. Such use also requires extensive training and a code of ethics to guard and protect all parties. In addition, some of the side effects go against key philosophical principles and compromise the Model's integrity. This is unacceptable.
Morally, we must be cautious so that we do not mislead any child about the nature of his/her mind, nor misguide any teacher or parent responsible for setting favorable conditions for that youngster. Levi said it best when he proclaimed, "He who shall cause a little one to stumble and to fall is marked, accursed; and it were better far if he had drowned himself."
Q. I remain interested in using a student instrument to assess my student's styles. Do you have any recommendations?
A. Yes. Review the literature and select another model whose creator is unencumbered with my experiences, concerns and reasoning. Use it until your need has been satiated.
ON TEACHING APPLICATIONS
Q. What are teaching styles?
A. Teaching styles are behaviors, characteristics and mannerisms that reflect underlying mental qualities used for presenting data in school.
Q. Why is it important for teachers to know about teaching styles?
A. Teaching is a form of thought transmission and thought control. Therefore, teachers must recognize how they use their personal Mind Styles to transmit specific ideas and how they place special mediation ability demands on the student. They must understand that their mindsets create, reinforce, support and reward certain mental qualities and how their natural biases affect their approaches to classes, choices of methods, media and tests, and arrangements in the environment. Such knowledge is absolutely necessary for responsive and responsible professional behavior.
Q. Is this why you stress that teachers must understand their own style orientation before applying style research to students?
A. Yes. They must never forget that they are the #1 medium in the classroom. It is critical that they know their own minds and are conscious of what they are doing and why they are doing it. As psychologist Bruno Bettelheim has said, "There are...utterly destructive consequences of acting without knowing what one is doing."
Q. Does a dominant CS teacher teach in a CS manner? Do each of the points do this?
A. It depends upon the two types of teaching styles: natural and role-based. Natural teaching style reflects the natural mediation channels of the individual. If the individual is a natural, dominant CS, he/she will express him/herself via that point most of the time.
Role-based teaching style mirrors a set of expected behavioral patterns dictated by tradition, society or some other outside force. It's a beautiful match if the role demands dominant CS behaviors and the individual has that quality. If, on the other hand, the person is a dominant AR with little CS orientation, he/she must decide how to "fill" the demands.
Q. Does this potential difference between role-based demands and a person's natural abilities cause problems?
A. It can and usually does. Great distress can occur when an individual tries to reshape, redefine, restructure and repress parts in order to measure-up to specific job demands and fit in.
Q. Can this distress lead to some forms of psychosomatic disorders?
Q. What strategies do teachers and administrators (and spouses, friends, co-workers, students and parents) use to deal with people of different Mind Style characteristics?
A. They (1) accept the people as they are, (2) accept them with certain conditions, (3) convert, stretch or change them, (4) exile them, (5) ignore them or (6) destroy them intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Q. How does a teacher benefit from studying the Mind Styles Model?
A. The individual who is serious about personal development can come to acknowledge Self by becoming inwardly sensitive to his/her nature. Under such conditions, the teacher would:
Q. What are the Model's benefits to the learner?
A. This Model can provide the following for the learner:
Q. You talk about rich and poverty-level environments in schools. What are the characteristics of each?
A. Rich environments nurture all kinds of minds. They provide food-for-thought for all. They afford multiple means of accessing information and accept many forms of human testimony. Poverty-level environs feed only the "chosen," restrict access by limiting options and welcome only certain types of testimonies. They ensure that only the fit survive by starving, pilfering and disabling the unfit and misfits.
Q. Do people purposely cause poverty-level environments for some students?
A. Yes. Everything that exists has a cause (source) and an effect. No exceptions!
Q. I plan to attend a learning styles workshop which advertises that I "will learn how to meet the needs of all learners." You state that we cannot meet the needs of all learners equally well because of our inherent abilities and limitations. Why do they disagree with you?
A. Ask the creator of the model, the presenter and/or the sponsoring organization for the rationale for their statement.
Differing viewpoints can occur for many reasons. For example: (1) our realities are not the same, (2) they accept the fact that students have different styles but don't accept such differences in adults, (3) they have discovered ways of helping teachers exceed their boundaries without negative consequences, (4) they may provide ways and means of addressing only the basics of each style and not ways to deal with those with dominant points, (5) they may instruct you on how to augment your teaching style by imitating the behaviors of natural teachers, or (6) they may train you to use kits or packages prepared by other teachers. Or, maybe the claim is a marketing ploy.
Do your homework. You'll find the answers to your question.
Q. Besides workshops, what are the best ways for me to learn how to develop points I have been neglecting?
A. Study the characteristics listed in my books and Extenda-charts. Think and behave in accordance with the descriptors. Decide which ones work naturally for you and which do not. This increases your repertoire over time. Put yourself in the presence of people who are natural, positive and great examples of the points you wish to improve. You can develop wonderful tools by osmosis.
Q. Why doesn't matching learning styles with teaching styles work the way you presenters say it will?
A. Addressing styles is only one aspect that affects learning. The learner's ego, Self, consciousness level, Free Will, experiences, development, anxieties, fear levels, locus of control, commitment to objectives/goals, physical well-being, attitude and countless other variables affect the results. Maybe the child does not want to learn algebra. If so, then providing multiple avenues to algebra will not work. You're wasting both the student's and your time.
By the way, matching styles is not a panacea or a silver bullet. Such a claim diminishes the awesome nature of learning and the human spirit.
Q. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to do well with computers, movies and cooperative learning group activities. Is there something wrong with me?
A. No, there's nothing wrong with you. First, perhaps you have learned how to use the media and techniques inappropriately. You may have had the wrong instructor showing you how to use them. If this was the case, try other sources to learn the techniques.
Second, these media and teaching techniques may not be natural to your type of mental abilities. Even the best of instructors and equipment can't take you beyond your limitations. Remember, each methodology, technique, medium and appliance requires special mental qualities to use them appropriately and effectively. Look inside your Self to see if you are mentally qualified, point-wise, to employ them with ease and grace. If not, stop utilizing them and cease the guilt trip.
Bear in mind that students prefer an authentic teacher who knows his/her limits over an naive, ingenuine, overachieving, frustrated do-gooder.
Q. Will the Columbine High School shootings prompt schools to look at individual style differences and understand what it means to be an "insider" and "outsider" in groups?
A. These actions can occur if the leadership, educators and communities want them to happen. But, the opposite may also occur. Individual differences may be viewed as threatening to security and symptomatic of disruption. This could encourage conformity. If this is the turn of events, style research will be used for negative "profiling" (stereotyping) reinforced by surveillance cameras, metal detectors and increased numbers of security guards. Few dollars will be devoted to understanding what and why the events occurred. Time will reveal the answer to your question.
ON ETHICS, MORALITY, GOOD AND EVIL
Q. What is the relationship between ethics and morality?
A. The relationship is a three part progression from ethos to ethics to morality. Ethos means characteristic spirit. Ethics means having to do with that spirit. Morality means behaving in accordance with ethical principles that emerge from that spirit.
From my perspective, ethos or the divine spark, spirit and light, evolves into an ethical infrastructure of attitudes, principles and methods deemed necessary, proper and correct for commanding, directing and living one's life. This ethical system of principles provides an internal guidance system which helps us navigate in the world. The ethical system then manifests as morals consisting of ethical wisdom applied to proper teachings, instructions, practical lessons and behaviors.
From my phenomenological perspective, ethos is logos, ethics is noumenal and morality is pheno.
Q. Is this three part progression the reason why you talk about morality issues in style and others do not?
A. It is a primary reason. I see morals and ethics as being anchored in Man's relation to the Supreme. This link imbues us with a sensitivity to and acceptance of duty to all of God's children and creations.
I will not speak for those who do not raise moral issues. Please address your questions to them.
Q. Why doesn't the education profession have a universal code of ethics?
A. The profession turned its back on the ethos of this nation, disregarded the meaning behind "In God We Trust," confused church and state issues with our spiritual nature and needs and equated the word educate with instruct. In so doing, we automatically forfeited the rights, privileges and honors that go with having a universal code of ethics. The profession became unable to develop a systematic body of principles to guide our members' behaviors and protect those it serves. Our nation is now living with the dispirited results.
Q. Discussing morality opens the door to words like good and evil. How do you define these words?
A. The word good is derived from OE., god. It means "fitting and suitable" in reference to the Creator's design. Some thing or some action that is "good" has the proper qualities to fulfill the conditions set by the Creator. Good is beneficial, valid, healthy and honorable.
Evil, on the other hand, means "exceeding due measure" or "overstepping proper limits." Evil things and actions are not fit or suitable. Evil trespasses and transgresses inherent and natural limitations and violates Laws of Nature, thereby interfering with the fulfillment of the potential built into the design. Evil lessens and worsens ourselves.
Q. Under this definition of evil, is over-indulgence considered evil? Are overachieving, being a workaholic, taking a job for which I am unqualified and lying on an application form, evil actions? Are reproducing materials and "adapting" someone's model or research without permission, evil? Are borrowing and not returning a friend's electric drill, letting my dog poop on my neighbor's property and breaking a confidence examples of evil activities? Are teaching kids with books they cannot read, testing them on materials that have not been covered, underchallenging gifted children and drugging kids to get them to be compliant, different forms of evil?
A. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Q. How do these daily transgressions equate with the evil of murder?
A. They are all matters of degree. They are death by a thousand cuts. They are ways of "killing softly" that accumulate.
Q. Ouch! Does a "pain of awareness" aways attend the loss of innocence?
A. Yes. When you lose innocence, you recognize the forces of good and evil, and experience the pain of that knowledge and the accompanying responsibility. Remember the Edenic Legend of when humans were given the ability to know the difference between good and evil? That's when we became consciously and instinctively aware of right and wrong ways of living to perfect ourselves both as individuals and as a species. Man also realized that this choice is in our hands. Paradise was lost. And so was our naivete when God said, "This day I have set before thee good and evil. Choose thou."
Our development is forever altered whenever these facts-of-life are truly registered. Congratulations! You've passed the threshhold into the world of effects.
ON THE NEGATIVE AND "DARK SIDE" OF STYLE
Q. Why do individuals display the negative characteristics described in your books, instrument and Extenda-charts?
A. Displaying negative (L. negare=deny) characteristics is a choice--the choice to deny expression of their CS/AS/AR/CR qualities in positive, life-affirming, productive and harmless ways. They refuse to develop their endowments and contribute constructively. Negative characteristics are symptomatic of a childish person who defies and distorts his/her own nature, ignores signals and feedback, and consistently acts selfishly.
Q. Why are negative characteristics included in the descriptors?
A. They are included to: (1) Prompt Self-analysis and increase Self-knowledge, (2) promote awareness of ways that individual attitudes/behaviors nullify positive action and cause self sabotage of real growth and development, and (3) alert individuals to possible weaknesses and vulnerabilities that make them easy prey for tricksters, temptors, panacea peddlers, dogmatic leaders and promoters of inappropriate products and hostile conditions.
Q. As a dominant CR, I object to being identified as unscrupulous. Why is that listed as a negative aspect?
A. My research of dominant CRs revealed that the lack of scruples is a common trait of many who show a negative-orientation.
Q. Can I change from being negative to positive in my dominant point orientation?
A. Yes. Negatively-oriented persons can move toward positive behaviors. This change occurs when: (1) the negativity no longer pays-off, (2) the psychosomatic pains become too great and the palliative measures no longer work, (3) the persons are ready, willing and able to accept the appropriate responsibility and accountability necessary to turn themselves and their relationships around and (4) the persons are willing to make proper reparations and restitution for their hurtful effects. Numbers 3 and 4 are life-affirming acts but are not for the faint-of-heart.
Q. What can colleagues, friends and family do to help a negatively-oriented person become positive?
A. There is no simple solution for assisting the negative person. Aid depends upon his/her individual problems, conditions and circumstances. My general advice is: (1) be certain of your own motives as a care giver, (2) be sure of his/her commitment, (3) ponder the meaning of the Serenity Prayer, (4) be harmless in your attitudes and offerings, and (5) remember that the choice is his/hers alone. The decision and subsequent action must be freely made to be real, meaningful and sustained.
Q. What are characteristics of people who show the "dark side" of style?
A. Those who demonstrate the "dark side" push negativity to the extreme. They operate in a whole different zone--one of little or no Light. They deny the Light (Spirit, God) and all the associated accountability, responsibility, conscience, remorse and repayment for harm.
Some have been known to invoke the name of God and talk about Light, brotherhood, compassion and love. But such talk is false. It is designed to: (1) seduce naive, shallow, indiscriminate and unsuspecting people into serving them and their goals, and (2) attract uncritical admirers who will feed their desire for flattery and provide for their material well-being. Dark-siders live by their own ever changing, self-serving rules. In fact, they are "outlaws" who feel above both man-made civil laws and God's Laws of Nature.
Q. Can people change from dark to light?
A. They can, but they won't. They see no reason to change. They are getting what they want. Discomforts are rationalized or "medicated" away. And there is no acknowledgement of accountability, personal responsibility and fault. Change is not an option with no sense of conscience and no remorse.
Q. What can an outsider do to help a dark-sided person?
A. Nothing! Assistance is useless and potentially harmful to your health. Walk or run away from the relationship before they see your caring efforts as signs of weakness and, in their beguiling ways, consume you. Consider them "psychic vampires" who drain you of life. Beware. They extinguish bearers of light!
Q. Why do people choose the negative and dark?
A. Greed and vanity! All other reasons pale in comparison.
Q. Some people embrace individual differences and literally take-off with the style information. Others, however, seem to be blind to the differences or resist dealing with them. Why?
A. The reasons are many and complex. In my 30 years of research, I've heard so many excuses that I'm rarely surprised any more. For sake of brevity, I will divide the reasons for resistance and avoidance into two categories: INNOCENCE and IGNORANCE.
Innocent people are unaware and unconscious of individual differences in styles, their natures and their meanings. Like driving by the same old landmark for years and never truly noticing its existence, some people have coursed down the highway of life and not noticed style differences. Many look without "seeing." Such people are literally clueless until they are ready to awaken to the conditions for instructing.
Ignorant individuals are very different. They know better, but willfully ignore (do not attend to) differences and the possibilities of harm that can occur. The chief reasons for this are: DENIAL, FEAR, GUILT/SHAME AND LAZINESS.
DENIAL is disbelief in the reality of something and the reduction of anxiety through the exclusion of intolerable ideas, thoughts, feelings or facts from the conscious mind. Denial causes people to adopt and act upon illusions and delusions. They say such things as: one-size-fits-all, you could do it if you really wanted to, try harder, everyone else can do it, the real world isn't going to adjust to you-so adapt or die, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, learn to compromise, randomness is an aberration and imagination is for fools. Others deny style information because the administration won't support it, the idea failed to work 20 years ago, time is too short to cover the curriculum and meet kids' needs, rigors of college demand sequentially-prepared students, consultants will try to sell anything and style is just a fad.
FEAR is an emotional response to a real or perceived sense of loss. Fearful individuals ignore style findings because they worry about the possible results of changing their attitudes and behaviors. People may no longer like them. They may lose friendship with those who hold on to the past or may see them as dropping standards, being disloyal, pandering to "those types" of people and "making it rough" on those who don't deal with style. Some fear loss of respect, status, promotions and jobs if they stray from the organization's politically-correct expectations. And, some are concerned over the consequences of empowering students with choices and decision-making rights.
GUILT/SHAME are the feelings that result from the fact/belief that the person has done wrong. Such people repress the information because of past attitudes and behaviors toward certain types of people. They are troubled about how they may have mislead, deceived or harmed others, and wish not to face-up to and amend their attitudes and actions. They deep-six the information.
LAZINESS is the unwillingness to work or exert oneself to understand and apply style information. These individuals seek a quick-fix that will be dropped at the first sign of failure. They don't want to attend meetings, training workshops or practice sessions, particularly if they have to pay for them. Many won't go out of their way to find instructional options for different types of learners or learn to vary their teaching styles. Most prefer to learn about style via brief overviews instead of theory-into-practice information and skill development. And some are too cheap to buy the books and support materials needed. They satisfy themselves with a synopsis or a single inservice session, then claim to "know all about the topic."
Ignorance poses serious challenges to change agents, presenters and consultants. These acts of will are not resolved by providing more information via colorful handouts and Power Point. Nor will they change by listening to entertaining speakers.
Q. Why hasn't society accepted style differences?
A. Our profession has yet to bring forth the reality of these ideas to society's minds. Our findings have not entered the public consciousness. Thus the people are not ready to abandon the one-size-fits-all illusion. It will come in due time!
ON THE POWER OF STYLE INFORMATION
Q. How can I benefit from the study of the Mind Styles Model?
A. My interviews reveal two major benefits. First, your consciousness is irrevocably changed when you fully realize that there are right and wrong ways of living in this world and that the choice of the way you live is in your hands. You are no longer naive or childish. You have grown up!
Second, you develop a true sense of spiritual and social significance. There is nothing more fulfilling than to realize that you are somebody, your mental design has meaning, you are wanted and loved, and that your life makes a difference on this planet. In registering these truths, you have given yourself the gift of Self-understanding.
The Phoenix symbol, Mind Styles and Gregorc Style Delineator are trademarks of Anthony F. Gregorc, Ph.D.