Reaching All the Students: The Feedback Lecture

By Ogden, William R. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2003 | Go to article overview

Reaching All the Students: The Feedback Lecture


Ogden, William R., Journal of Instructional Psychology


The article presents an analysis of four learning styles and suggests a teaching methodology. The Feedback Lecture is a modification of the traditional lecture that can be utilized to engage students with differing learning styles. Developed at Oregon State University to offer instruction to an increasingly diverse student population, the method offers attractions to the four learning styles predicted by Isabel Myers' interpretation of Jungian typology.

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In 1918 William Heard Kilpatrick of Teachers College Columbia published "The Project Method." The article prompted considerable debate and kicked off a national methods quest as educators searched for the ultimate methodology--the one that would transcend poor teaching as well as poor students. As anyone close to education can attest, the search continues.

Running contrary to public clamor that all persons be treated alike, is a private desire to be recognized as unique. People are not the same; the fact has been recognized for centuries! For educators, the obvious though often overlooked conclusion is that different people require different treatments. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates characterized persons as Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, or Melancholic (Brock, 1929). During the 1920s Ernst Kretschmer, a German professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung both published books concerning personality type. In discussing the three body types today known as Endomorph, Mesomorph, and Ectomorph, Kretschmer (1970) utilized cycloid and schizoid to refer to what his translators would later call temperament. Jung (1962) identified four basic psychological functions, thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition, and postulated that if one of the functions was preferred and consistently exhibited by an individual, a definite personality type would be discernible.

The Theory

Isabel Myers, creator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), continued the line of thought begun by Kretschmer and Jung, while providing researchers an instrument to further analyze human behavior. Myers (1962) extended Jung's conception of the four functions by linking Sensing/ Intuition as a distinct continuum and Thinking/Feeling as another. Sensing/Intuition are viewed as opposing orientations to data gathering while Thinking/Feeling are seen as the two poles of data processing. Individuals tend to obtain knowledge by sensing (directly) or intuiting (indirectly) and process that information logically (thinking) or emotionally (feeling).

Sensing/Intuition

The old cliche about not seeing the forest because of the trees gets directly to the heart of the distinction between the way Sensors (S) and Intuitors (N) encounter their environment. Intuitors see the big picture but are skimpy on details, while Sensors often get so involved with details that they fail to see the big picture. Kiersey and Bates (1978) characterized Intuitors as "extraterrestrial" and Sensors as "earthbound." Sensors have a tendency to see Intuitors as flighty and unrealistic while Intuitors often regard Sensors as plodding and unimaginative. Whereas early estimates by Myers (1962) and Kiersey & Bates (1978) had indicated 25-30 percent of the general population to be Intuitors, more recent assessments (Myers & McCaulley, 1985) based upon five years of data collecting, indicate that the figure may be lower, somewhere between 15 and 28 percent.

Thinking/Feeling

The head versus the heart might best sum up how Thinkers/Feelers process information. Thinkers remain detached and impersonal whereas Feelers tend to personalize. Thinkers are apt to be viewed as cold and detached while Feelers may be characterized as too emotional or illogical. Although Kiersey and Bates (1978) acknowledged a 50-50 split in the general population, they reported that 6 out of 10 males prefer the Thinking mechanism while 6 out of 10 females exhibit a preference for Feeling.

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