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North, South, East and West: Compass Points

An Exercise in Understanding Preferences in Group Work

Developed in the field by educators affiliated with NSRF



Similar to the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory, this exercise uses a set of preferences which relate not to individual but to group behaviors, helping us to understand how preferences affect our group work.

  1. The room is set up with four signs on each wall — North, South, East and West
  2. Participants are invited to go to the “direction” of their choice. No one is only one “direction,” but everyone can choose one as their pre-dominant one.

North

Acting- "Let's do it;" Like to act, try things, plunge in

South

Caring- like to know that everyone's feelings have been taken into consideration and that their voices have been heard before acting.

East

Caring- likes to know that everyone's feelings have been taken into consideration and that their voices have been heard before acting.

West

Paying attention to detail- likes to know the who, what, when, where and why before acting.

Processing can include:

  • Note the distribution among the “directions”: what might it mean?
  • What is the best combination for a group to have? Does it matter?
  • How can you avoid being driven crazy by another “direction”?
  • How might you use this exercise with others? Students?

Poster Questions include:

  1. What are the strengths of your style?
  2. What are the limitations of your style?
  3. What style do you find most difficult to work with
  4. What do people from other directions need to know about your style?
  5. What do you value about the other 3 styles?


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