List of articles by Jack Falt
The second dimension of personality looks at how children take in information, either through the five senses (Sensing) or using the sixth sense (Intuiting). Children learn about the world through their senses. Sensing children continue to focus on the stimulation of the outer world or on memories of past experiences. Intuitive children also experience the sensations from the world around them, but then try to understand the world in terms of patterns, possibilities and meanings.
Sensing children may have a collection of prized possessions: baseball cards, model cars, Lego blocks, etc. Intuitive children may also have a prized collection, but it is likely to be more eclectic, consisting of a wide assortment of objects that have a special meaning for them.
Intuitors can be rather imaginative and are more likely to be the ones that see pictures in the clouds. Sensors are likely to be more observant as they focus on the details around them. Of course, all children are subject to that blindness that makes it impossible for them to see their homework that is sitting right there in front of them on the kitchen table.
In school Sensors like to be told the specific requirement for assignments. The Intuitors are more open to doing an assignment in their own unique way. When told to create something in art, Sensors want to know just what the teacher expects. Intuitors can happily produce something quite unique without a lot of instruction.
At playtime Sensors are more likely to use a toy as it was intended. Intuitors can play make believe with any toy. When playing board game Sensors want to follow the “official” rules. Intuitors are more likely to want to make up their own rules or invent a new game all together. Sensors want lots of action in their play. Intuitors are more likely to talk about what they are going to do and how they are going to play. Sensors can get bored and turned off by something that is too inactive. Have you ever tried to explain rules to a bunch of fidgety kids?
Both Sensors and Intuitors may like sports. Sometimes Sensors are better at the sport because they are more totally in their bodies, while the Intuitors are often more in their heads.
It is fun to watch young children at play when they are using their imagination. Intuitors can more easily develop a fantasy world. Sensors can play pretend too, but they are more likely to create characters they are more familiar with such as cops and robbers.
When Sensors and Intuitors play together they may be in conflict because the Sensor wants to play by the rules while the Intuitor wants to try out something different.
With young children, parents help them learn about the physical world around them. Parents see that there is lots of physical stimulation, including colour, sound and textures. As the child gets older there is more emphasis on specific skills: walking, talking, identifying objects, etc. Intuition as a preference usually cannot be fully identified until middle childhood. All children need to be exposed to opportunities to develop their intuition. Stories of magic help to give children a sense of wonder. Asking them what they think will happen next, encourages them to use their imagination.
It will probably take you some time to determine whether your child is a Sensor or an Intuitor. They seem to switch back and forth between acting like a Sensor or an Intuitor. They have the capacity to do both. Preference just means which one is the one they tend to use the most. There are about three Sensors for every Intuitor. Elementary school is geared mainly for Sensors. University is geared more for Intuitors. This is not to say that Sensors can’t go on to university. They can and they do. But they will have to exercise their Intuitive function more at university and their school experience may not have prepared them too well to meet this challenge. High school is probably more of a middle ground. Intuitors need to have the opportunity to have free rein to use their imaginations and Sensors need to be challenged and assisted to develop their intuition.
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List of articles by Jack Falt