Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I just took the TIPP Learning Assessment for my massage school. I was inclined to dismiss the resulting profile as bunk, although some does seem to fit me (espeically within the "Areas to Develop" section). Following are some excerpts from its assessment of me -- if you feel like reading through them, let me know what you think.
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In the playground of your mind, you learn through relationship and can see the relationships that exist between objects, concepts and people. Whether through instructors, work associates or more personal connections -- these relationships are key to how you learn best.

You are a people person. While some view the learning relationship as a component of their learning process, for you, it determines whether you learn. The relationship, and sometimes even the person(s) involved, acts as a guide - directing you on your learning journey - to a greater level of self-understanding and personal knowledge. Thus, mentors who encourage self-discovery are likely the instructors to whom you are most drawn.

You enjoy the act of communication almost as much as relationships themselves. Language, whether written or spoken, is used to develop deeper, clearer, more meaningful relationships - which in turn, help you to experience learning in a meaningful way. No doubt you have spent hours sharing your thoughts and feelings, opinions and attitudes and relationship perceptions with the "teachers" in your life. The time spent, while socially satisfying, provided you with an opportunity to implement the very language you love.

It should be noted that learning relationships are not exclusive to people. These meaningful connections can also include animals. Although odd to some, you may find that one (or more) of your most significant emotional relationships involves a beloved pet. Depending on your social circle or your introverted or extraverted preference, your pet might serve as a major learning relationship. Your language may not be the same, however, given your gift for creative communication, any existing language barriers are likely broken down.

Typically, your performance in traditional learning arenas (school, classrooms, etc.) is directly related to the subject matter and the facilitator. A preference for the humanities (behavioral sciences, language, literature, philosophy, etc.) accentuates your social interest. However, when the instructor is not relationally oriented and doesn't provide learning activities or offer individualized support, the material becomes much less engaging -- once again emphasizing the value of the learning relationship.

Your ability to grasp theory is high. This has to do with your natural inclination to approach things in a relational way. In fact, one of your greatest strengths is the ability to analyze and articulate general themes and patterns in communication and social behaviors. To share your discoveries with others is your personal pleasure and one of the many ways you contribute to the lives of those around.

Although there is a traditional quality to your learning process, your need for personal enrichment freedom over shadows most of your conventional perspectives. The ultimate search for meaning, is likely one of your objectives, both in life and in learning. Thus, you may view traditional attitudes as a limit to your learning success. However, when structured as an opportunity for self-discovery and the freedom to experiment, even more formal learning activities are appreciated.

Finally, you learn by gathering information through your five senses. Although you are drawn to "the metaphor" or may search for the deeper meaning of someone's behaviors, your initial introduction to any learning material should be by sight. You take in material best through our eyes. You need to see what is asked of you. You need to see and/or read the directions. Reinforcing what you have seen through experiential learning opportunities helps you to internalize the information even more.

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Although your people-orientation and ability to communicate are great strengths, focusing on them alone can limit your learning experience. For example, words without action can result in simply talking about doing something, but never really following through. While learning about a particular subject, you could find that you'd rather share your thoughts and feelings about the topic instead to studying it in depth or developing the skills necessary to implement it fully. Certainly the learning process is valuable overall. But don't forget, the result of most learning experiences includes both process and product - the combination of which demonstrates personal growth and discernable learning success.

Given the significance of the learning relationship, you might have a tendency to obsess on or romanticize those with whom you're connecting. Once you encounter a relationship that invites the process of meaningful self-discovery, you never forget it. In fact, it is often hard to relinquish when the time comes to do so. Being mindful of that, we encourage you to remember that every relationship has a beginning and an end. It has an ultimate purpose. When you realize the purpose of each relationship, the need to hold on becomes less intense. Thus, the learning process remains about you and your ability to learn -- instead of focused on the other person or the relationship that's shared.

Last but not least - remember your playful learning quality. Learning through play is important and can be extremely valuable. It can help you live more in the present and celebrate the temporary. Consider this scenario the next time something big is required of you: Your editor calls you with a hundred revisions to your latest draft. Instead of stewing over the criticism or simply the work that is required, head for your nearest playground. Hop on a swing and feel your stomach do somersaults and the wind on your face. When you're done, keep that sensual memory handy for when you begin writing. Getting back in your body can help you get out of your head. Besides, your heart writes all the true stories.

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