Becoming multi-lingual in thinking and feeling
We can all think and we can all feel, however when talking about our innate preferences, the terms Thinking and Feeling describe the 2 different rational processes
that people use to make decisions.
Thinking and feeling people also have different ways of articulating the thought processes that help them to make decisions. We can all use both ways but we feel more comfortable teaching or learning when we can use our own preferred decision making style.
Thinking decision makers use logic, analysis and reason. They are energised when critiquing and evaluating problems. They tend to follow their ‘head’ over their heart and truth is more important than tact. As a result, they can appear uncaring of others feelings. They have strongly held ideals and value fairness above all else.
My family all share the Thinking preference and my preference is for Feeling. The differences in our conversational styles are very interesting.
We witnessed a young child attempting to climb on a piece of play equipment that was too high for him. In the end he slipped and fell down. When he got up, the initial reaction from my ‘Thinkers’ was a logical comment, “Silly child, he should not have climbed so high”. Whereas my initial reaction was the opposite, “Oh poor thing. I hope he hasn’t hurt himself”.
This is the logical thought process of the Thinker!
In the classroom ensure that student / teacher feedback gives the ‘Thinking’ learner specific and objective outcomes. Debate, challenge and affirm their ideas and their competence
Share your feelings but don’t become overly emotional. They expect to be treated with respect in a fair, objective manner by those who teach them.
Feeling decision makers use personal values to make their decisions. They focus on people and relationships, using empathy and compassion and they take into consideration the impact that their decisions have on people. ‘Feelers’ strive to create harmony, enjoy helping others and are distressed by interpersonal friction. Avoid discussion that is too logical and critiquing and removed from their desire for personal warmth and harmony.
Anna was on a plane trip with her ‘thinking’ father, but sitting separately. The flight became very turbulent and sensing her fear, he glanced over. “Don’t worry,” he said, “If we go down, we go down together!”
A wonderfully logical thought, but for a Feeling person, “It will be OK. I am here with you” would have been so much more comforting. Anna spent the rest of the rocky flight in tears. MASON
In the classroom Feeling types look for personal connection not only with the work they are doing but also with the teacher and fellow students. They are energised when helping others and responding to people’s needs. They need to develop a special rapport with their teachers and receive warm friendly feedback and encouragement that is not impersonal or detached.
A ‘Feeling’ friend of my daughter’s was very upset because she believed that her science teacher was picking on her. I asked her to spend the next couple of days listening to his language and to tell me whether he was being personally malicious and mean, or whether his words were more impersonal, rational and analytically objective. She came back smiling as she realised he was not picking on her, he was just not ‘speaking her language’. Once she understood this she was able to cope with his thinking preference and in fact even use ‘his language’ so that she could get her own message across more effectively.
How can you change your language to build great relationships?
With such a different thought processes affecting the way we verbalise our decisions the ‘right’ language becomes imperative in communication.
Recognising our own preferences for Thinking and Feeling and those of the students and staff that we work with will help build better relationships and increase learning.
Educating you to speak the opposite types language is important in order to avoid, misunderstandings, hurt feelings and friction between people. To do so you will have to listen carefully to the way people express themselves. My husband and son use the word ‘think’ constantly. “You would think that they would know what to do!” I use the word ‘feel’. “I feel really sorry for that person”. Clues like this are easy to hear once you are aware of them.
Thinkers will often say to me, “I don’t need to change; if they don’t get me they really need to man up”. My answer is this “Do you want to be the sharpest tool in the shed or the blunt one that just doesn’t cut?” Most thinkers want to be sharp!
“Oh dear” is the first reaction of my ‘Thinker’ daughter as she receives a beautifully emotional text from a ‘Feeling’ friend. Her natural thought is to send back “Great, thanks”! However, she will say to me, “I know I need to respond in her ‘language’, but just give me a while to think about it”. She returns after 20 mins and reads out an equally caring text which she does mean but would never normally think was necessary to put into words, and sends it to her friend, knowing what a positive impact this will have on her friendship. One of the most important things about understanding the philosophy of type is understanding and valuing our differences and making the appropriate changes so that you can build successful relationships with the people in your life. Life is all about people!
On a final note, my ‘Thinking’ son has just told me that he is going to do a post graduate degree in teaching! When I asked him why, he said, “I have 5 reasons.’
- It’s in my top 5 choices 2. I like the campus. 3. There is only one exam 4. The course is only 18 months long 5. They need male teachers!
My ‘Feeling’ preference was bursting out of control. “But more importantly – do you like children?” I asked. “Oh them, yes I guess so” was the response I got.
I’m sure he will make a wonderful teacher, no better no worse, just different from me!
So who are you? Let’s find out! Get in touch using the Contact form or email Kate!