Judging and Perceiving

This preference pair describes how we naturally approach life. Judging students seem to have built-in clocks and are able to plan out their work and work their plan. Perceiving students live more in the moment, taking a spontaneous approach to life. They are not lazy or irresponsible by nature. Instead, they understand that being flexible opens opportunities.

Our schools operate out of a Judging preference: think of schedules, due dates, quarterly grades, and class agendas. If Perceiving students aren’t introduced to planning methods that use their own strengths, they may begin to feel inadequate as deadline after deadline catches up with them.

Students with a preference for Judging often start working on assignments as soon as they receive them. They feel they can’t play until their work is done. Further, they seem to be able to estimate how long it will take them. If for some reason they have to wait until the last minute, they feel stressed in ways that inhibits both their creativity and their accuracy.

However, in their rush to finish, some Judging students may not gather enough information or consider alternative ways to complete a project. They can learn from Perceivers the benefits of staying open longer to new ideas.

Students with a preference for Perceiving do their best work under pressure. If they try to start early, they struggle to find ideas. As the time pressure builds, so does the quality of their efforts. However, they often underestimate how long a project will take. A student described one such incident: “Once I had a month to make a board game. I had ideas in my head, but I didn’t start until two days before the deadline. I worked all afternoon on it, then prepared my speech the next night. I got a B+ on it. If I’d started earlier I could have gotten an A.”

Perceiving students need different time management tools than Judging students. One of the most successful is teaching them to plan backward, helping them identify the steps involved in a project and then develop realistic time estimates for each step. How long will it take to make a board game? To buy the supplies? To plan out the rules? To narrow down the design choices? Answers to these questions provide the “real” last minute when they must start.

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