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#31 of 55 Old 05-03-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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Sigh...trip trapping back over the bridge...

The children are not told what temperment they are. That would be emotionally harmful and hurtful, and to my knowledge, is not ever done.

Judy mom to Dash (9), Corbin (7) and Will (3) :
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#32 of 55 Old 05-03-2008, 04:24 AM
 
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Pippilongstocking and dashmama, if you seriously think I'm a troll why don't you report it?
Trolls are posters who haven't had real experience, or don't want real discussion , right?


I think it's naive to assume that the children don't twig that when they participate in the olympics , wearing different colours, they don't have an idea of why.
One past student said that they all wore bells round their necks with ribbons the colour of their temperament.
As in all anthroposphical choices in Steiner waldorf, it is subtle and not overt.

I have a different view about it from the other people here.

So sorry I missed all the details of your posts Dashmamma, sometimes I'm in a hurry.
I'll make sure I read them throughly next time.
You're absolutely right, it was slack of me.

It does bother me that as a trained teacher, you can't see that being labelled phlegmatic might distress a child's parent more than another label?

Callicarpa
, temperaments are discussed with parents by the way.
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#33 of 55 Old 05-03-2008, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The children are not told what temperment they are. That would be emotionally harmful and hurtful, and to my knowledge, is not ever done.

If that's the case, then I don't see the harm. I don't mind if someone tells me that they think my son is a particular sort of personality type. I just don't want them to tell him that. It wasn't clear to me that it's not done, and it's very helpful to know that.
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#34 of 55 Old 05-03-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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It does bother me that as a trained teacher, you can't see that being labelled phlegmatic might distress a child's parent more than another label?
Call me thick, but no, I can't.

Is lazy really a worse negative character trait to watch out for than being superficial, destructive, or self pitying?

I agree with orangewallflower that the temperments and other pop psych personality tests are limited in their use in the classroom. But in my experience, they are used everywhere. Teachers are desperate to find ways to help them manage their classes, and this is just one more tool at their disposal.

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#35 of 55 Old 05-03-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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All I can add to this is that discussion of temperaments is always a big favorite in our school for parent education. Parents sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to handle children who don't share their particular ways of thinking and acting, and considering temperaments, and hearing stories from teachers about using this understanding in reaching children, is frequently helpful to them.

I would agree that temperament, by itself, is inadequate to decide how to deal with a class or with individual children. As a tool in the toolbox, I think it's a good one.

The point I've taken from my readings of anthroposphy is that balance is the ideal. Thus, the "best" is to have elements of all four temperaments, NOT to be a clear, extreme example of any one temperament.

David
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#36 of 55 Old 05-03-2008, 08:51 PM
 
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I use Merrill-Reid as a tool quite frequently. According to this model, there are 4 general personality styles:

--Amiable: Tries to calm the waters.
--Analytical: Thinks everything through.
--Driver: "Go, go, go, go, go!!!!"
--Expressive: Social Butterflies

It helps me a lot in determining how to work with children. (As well as figuring out reasons for "why" when one is driving me bonkers). If a child spends a lot of time wandering in the classroom, he might be analytical. The choices may be too much for him and he's trying to decide between too much. Knowing that as a starting point will help me help the child. I might limit his choices or help him narrow them down. "Do you want to do a math or a language work?"

From there, he might be able to choose. If not, I might present him with 2 or 3 ideas of things he has shown an interest in lately. "Would you like to try the 45 bead layout or continue working to the next chain?" (Not asked as an either or like it's his only 2 options, but in a suggestive way).

That would be much different approach than if an expressive is walking around unsure what to do. Then it might be a matter of deciding what person she wants to work with.

If I ask the wrong questions to the wrong students, it might be stressful, since it seems that I didn't really understand their dilemma. I can be wrong...an expressive might be unsure what to do. An analytical might be thinking about who to ask to work with. That's where observation and watching what students are looking at while deciding is very important before I talk to them. However, the models of personalities help me identify a lot of "why" reasons as well as identify what things might stress out the person. Appealing to pure logic will not work as well with an extreme expressive as it would an extreme analytical.

I do not see either personality type as better than the other, so that makes a distinction where I don't stereotype either group. I want every child to grow up to be who they are and I let them reveal to me where they fall. It's still a very good model to have so I can help a child.

Matt
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#37 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 02:01 AM
 
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Hi Matt,
May I ask if this is a common Montessori tool or did you learn it on your own? I am curious because they seem to be opposite philosophies in so many ways, and it would be interesting to know one of the few commonalities. (I say this knowing really little about Montessori.)
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#38 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 02:02 AM
 
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Dashsmama,
The reason that the phlegmatic typing bothers me more than others is that it is such the typical stereotype of a fat person.
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#39 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 05:06 AM
 
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Thanks for the description of the Merrill-Reid system, Matt. I've never heard of it before, but you helped make my point, I think.

orangewallflower, interesting about the "fat" thing. I've never actually met a fat phlegmatic. My two are both thin. My son's teacher, who identifies as "phlegy" is also very thin. The 3 student teacher's I went to school with, who identified as phlegmatic, were all thin too. Because of this, I was a little surprised to read in this thread that at the Olympics all the fat kids were grouped together. If this is true, and the teachers are deciding temperments by physical traits alone, then I too would have a real problem with the temperments being used. I'm a very fat, choleric. I hope I wouldn't be placed with the phlegmatics simply because I'm fat. Though, I suspect my big, bossy mouth would take care of that problem for me. LOL! Thanks for answering my question.

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#40 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 05:35 AM
 
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Canndw,
Hi.
Did you have any more thoughts about the Olympics?
What are the five groupings they have at your school?

All the schools I've ever come accross have the four cities, so I'm really intersted to your description of five, what's the fifth?
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#41 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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Dashsmama,
The reason that the phlegmatic typing bothers me more than others is that it is such the typical stereotype of a fat person.
You need not be "fat" to be phlegmatic. In fact, the most phlegmatic adults I know aren't overweight at all.

I think Steiner's physical description of the various temperaments is not helpful, as it allows a quick categorization based solely on body shape. You find some cases where they fit well, and many other where they don't.

David
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#42 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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Canndw,
Hi.
Did you have any more thoughts about the Olympics?
What are the five groupings they have at your school?

All the schools I've ever come accross have the four cities, so I'm really intersted to your description of five, what's the fifth?
I don't remember the city-state name nor the sash color (it's been a few years; my youngest is in eighth grade).

What I remember clearly, every time I went, was five events and five city state groups moving among events. Because some events were over much more quickly (the long run) than others (wrestling, for instance), it led to a fair amount of standing-around time for the kids.

David
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#43 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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Dashsmama,
The reason that the phlegmatic typing bothers me more than others is that it is such the typical stereotype of a fat person.
I was the parent leader for a 3 day field trip who stayed with the group of phlegmatics...not a one of them was close to "fat". The "chubbiest" students in this class happened to be melancholics.
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#44 of 55 Old 05-04-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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I don't remember the city-state name nor the sash color (it's been a few years; my youngest is in eighth grade).

What I remember clearly, every time I went, was five events and five city state groups moving among events. Because some events were over much more quickly (the long run) than others (wrestling, for instance), it led to a fair amount of standing-around time for the kids.

David
I was a volunteer official at the Greek games here. Five groups here as well, Athens, Sparta, Thebes, Delphi and Corinth. No sashes though.
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#45 of 55 Old 05-05-2008, 02:00 AM
 
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Linda, so do they divide by temperament for every overnight trip? Why were you with a group of "plegmatics"? Why were they divided this way?

I have found that the most effective methodologies that deal with discipline, conflict, and interpersonal challenges are ones that are universally applicable. _Positive Discipline_, _How to Talk so Kids Will Listen_, are ones that come to mind that I believe can help almost all teachers, all students and all parents.

I will say it again, I think this is the very core of why classroom management is so often weak in Waldorf school- reliance on personalty typing. It may be that it does no harm to sit certain students in the back, others by the window, never "cholerics" with "melancholics", but it doesn't do much good either. My anecdotal experience tells me that the best Waldorf teachers are ones that have previous teacher training and with it effective methods for keeping a class involved and working well together. Good classroom management comes in spite of Waldorf training, not because of it.
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#46 of 55 Old 05-05-2008, 12:12 PM
 
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I always felt uncomfortable with the labelling.
When the children are older, and compete in the Olympics, they are divided into "cities" by their temperament, and wear the clour that represents that.
I think it's quite cruel, when you see the definitions:


Sanguine: Spring, Yellow, Superficial, Nerves, Air, Socially Aware, Caring.

Choleric: Summer, Red, Destructive, Dictator, Blood, Fire, Selfless Leader.

Melancholic: Fall, Mauve, Self-pitying, Bones, Earth, Considerate, Understanding.

Phlegmatic: Winter, Blue, Lazy, Glands, Water, Reliable, Faithful.

Each child, in the teacher's minds, fits one of these four categories.

Who would fell happy with their child labelld as phlegmatic for instance?

Just my opinion though.
What's wrong with being reliable and faithful?
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#47 of 55 Old 05-05-2008, 08:47 PM
 
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what is being overlooked here is that most if not all children are born predominantly into one or two temperaments. One of the goals of the waldorf teacher (and of life in general) is to help the child become an even balance of all four.

And to the posting about "who would want their child labeled Phlegmatic" - the phlegmatic child is the glue that helps hold the classroom together. They're easily mixed with nearly any other temperament, they are friendly to everyone, and easygoing. I think those are fantastic characteristics to have and would be proud if my predominantly Choleric daughter would exhibit more of them.

Each temperament just like each astrological sign or each type in an enneagram have their pros and cons. It is just a tool to help the teacher understand the child. For instance, in arranging the classroom:

The Melancholic children should be near the teacher so they don't feel they are being forgotten or left out and they don't have to raise their voices to shout across the class if they are not comfortable.

The Choleric children should not be kept in groups because they tend to argue but they will quickly become the leader of whatever little section they are put in. They CAN be put in the rear of the classroom because they have no problem letting their voices and ideas be heard regardless of where they are.

The Sanguines should be peppered about as well because they are very social and two sitting next to each other will chatter all the time, but up towards the front, near the melancholics they will befriend them and draw them out of their shells a bit. Also, being near the action in front will help hold their attention which tends to wander.

The Phlegmatics can be put into nearly any spot because of the reasons I mentioned above. But perhaps not too near the windows since they are the most likely to complain of the chill

I wish my public school teachers had such tools at their disposal. It has to be better than the alphabetical seating I had to endure year after year.

MammaGoddess ::: to Magdalena Rune 8/6/06 and Tristan Phoenix 9/11/08
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#48 of 55 Old 05-05-2008, 10:52 PM
 
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Artymisia,
Thank you for your educated response!

You said:
what is being overlooked here is that most if not all children are born predominantly into one or two temperaments. One of the goals of the waldorf teacher (and of life in general) is to help the child become an even balance of all four.

I am not overlooking this at all! I simply don't believe it. I studied personality typology in college, and learned its extreme limitations, and the effect that typology has on the person doing the typing. I think that students are better attended to when they are seen as individuals and not classified in any way. I can believe that some introverted children do well in the front, others in the middle and others in the back. I also believe they do better when seating arrangements aren't always in rows.

In your experience as a Waldorf teacher have "phelgmatic" children been heavier than the others, melancholics thinner etc.. or have you found no correlation with body type? I ask because I had a (face to face) conversation with a Waldorf teacher that led me to believe that body type is really important in classifying children, yet it seems that some pretty experienced people here believe that body type is not used in coming to a classification.

Thanks Artymisia!
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#49 of 55 Old 05-06-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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what is being overlooked here is that most if not all children are born predominantly into one or two temperaments.

Here is a problem. The above statement is, IMO, presented as fact, when it is, in reality, an opinion. I couldn't call it an educated guess because I'm unaware of any mainstream scientific studies that support such a statement, so therefore I believe it would remain opinion. It would be an interesting exercise to imagine how such a study would be designed and controlled for, but that's another question, right?

The opinion appears rooted in a particular belief system, because although the temperments are not Steiner's design, their continued and persistant use in the education of young children is generally put forth in waldorf education. And the odd piece is that it seems a typology system unenlightened by the modern day. That is, has there been rigerous deconstruction of the labels themselves, is there examination of the social and cultural meaning of the use of this particular typology, in what way does stress, trauma, nutrition, health of the child, environment of home and school play a role in "identifying and labeling children with these terms? Just off the top of my head type questions, but I always liked to ask such stuff when it affected my child.

Very importantly, who is it that is doing the labeling? What training and background does this person have? Is the person aware of what the meaning of "bias" is, and how personal assumptions, pre-conceived notions, and past personal experiences play a role as they attempt to label their students? Of course, this level of self-knowledge might be setting the bar high, but I would think that when every day decisions are being made about the education, and indeed the view one holds of children, it probably worth it to at least be aware of some of those issues.

It's doesn't set a high academic standard when opinion is passed off for fact, IMO. This is very troubling to me. A student would never be able to pass this type of thing off in a paper--it would be sent back for substantiation, and not the purely anecdotal kind.
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#50 of 55 Old 05-06-2008, 01:19 AM
 
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Linda, so do they divide by temperament for every overnight trip? Why were you with a group of "plegmatics"? Why were they divided this way?
No, not every overnight trip. Just the overnight trips where kids will be divided into groups because circumstances demand it. The fire marshall will allow only so many beds in one room. Why was I with them? Because I volunteered to come on the trip. And why were they divided this way. Well.......I think it's one of those "had to be there" situations. It was sheer genius to group them together. Let's just take one example: sharing the common bathroom. These weren't a bunch who enjoyed socializing in the bathroom, and they weren't prone to hurrying along when they were alone in there either. Methodical, thorough, going through their own personal ritual, and in no hurry ...each one of them was like this. But just one bathroom, and only so much time in the day. Starting out, they each intuited immediately that this was going to take structuring. So-and-so is the slowest, so she goes last. Another one has takes a long time to brush teeth due to her dental appliance. Another one's hair takes an hour to dry. You get the picture....they thought through the issues, they did the logistical plan, "you go first and you can dry your hair in here cause it will take an hour before you can go to bed and then the bathroom is still free for the next person." No whining about the other person lingering, no teasing about being a slow poke, no banging on the door to hurry up. It's like each knew intimately it just wasn't right to rush somebody, maybe because they hated to be rushed or maybe because it was futile anyway, I don't know.

I didn't even think they may have been grouped by temperament until I was with them for a day, and a real strong picture of the temperament formed. Getting them from one activity to another took tremendous concentration on my part, knowing this was just their way kept me from getting frustrated or irritated with them or the situation. Just getting them up in the morning--that wasn't going to happen without intensive management and oversight on my part.

I just know with this group, it was good to put them together because they could be who they are without feeling intruded upon or intruding on others whose insides tick at a very different "tempo". It saved a lot of social melodrama as often happens kids who can get so contentious over other people's quirks.

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I will say it again, I think this is the very core of why classroom management is so often weak in Waldorf school- reliance on personalty typing. It may be that it does no harm to sit certain students in the back, others by the window, never "cholerics" with "melancholics", but it doesn't do much good either. My anecdotal experience tells me that the best Waldorf teachers are ones that have previous teacher training and with it effective methods for keeping a class involved and working well together. Good classroom management comes in spite of Waldorf training, not because of it.
I agree with you that broader training than Waldorf helps teachers be better. But I don't know any teachers who rely on this like a formula, not at all. It's just general concepts and some general "try this" type tools. Every time an example or illustration is offered to describe Waldorf it comes out sounding like an Do It Like Just This of step-by-step instructions. Teachers who are very new or excessively formulaic in applying things they learn in education may try to teach like that, but this is equally true of Positive Discipline or any other named method.

My children, for example, have at one time or another been seated in every possible position in the classroom. They have, on average, six or seven different teachers in a given week. They all have their own ways of doing things despite drinking from a common well, and some of them are more effective than others.
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#51 of 55 Old 05-06-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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Wow, Karne! You took the time to explain, and very well, what I was too lazy to even start putting words to.

I disagree on only one thing: I think that Waldorf teachers have a tendency to express *beliefs* as fact, not opinions. I think there is a big difference between knowledge, belief and opinion, but in anthroposophical thought, these distinctions do not exist. Steiner speaks of his beliefs as observations, and his ontology as a "science." I think that this is part of the problem when people not in-the-know walk into a Waldorf school. The Waldorf school will take time to explain how it is a developmental approach to education. So the social scientists among us assume that Piaget, Ericcson, and Vigotsky are in the mix. Then we find out that this developmental approach happens completely in the confines of the anthroposophical view of human development which is not scientific or social-scientific, it is religious. It is all the more confusing when it is not self-identified as much. They may make reference to Piaget, but only when his thought jives with Waldorf pedagogy. I don't ever foresee a sea change in Waldorf education as a result of the work of educational researchers.
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#52 of 55 Old 05-06-2008, 02:18 PM
 
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I agree with your clarification regarding beliefs and opinions orangewallflower, and for the reasons you stated. Well put.
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#53 of 55 Old 05-07-2008, 02:26 AM
 
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Dashsmama,
The reason that the phlegmatic typing bothers me more than others is that it is such the typical stereotype of a fat person.
I associate myself with the phlegmatic temperment and I'm very thin and tall. The personality traits of the steiner temperments seem to work in my view of things, but the whole physical "tendencies" that they try to couple with the temperments are way off in my opinion. One of the things about being a phlegmatic that at first rankled me was the "laziness" bit. But when I work on my personal self-growth, this is an area I need to address. I do have a tendency to prioritize comfort, also I can easily fall into stagnation. Knowing this about myself helps me kick myself in the butt and get going sometimes. Just another tool to strive to better myself, among many others.
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#54 of 55 Old 05-07-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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Great posta by Karne and Orangewallflower ( How to talk so kids will listen is a great book, even tho quite old now, It's still applicable so in many cases)

Orange, the tendancy of Steiner Waldorf to express belief as fact is such a good point, and obviously goes much further and deeper than the temeraments used in the classroom.

What, I wonder, would the schools be like, without the anthroposophical core?
Would people feel happier?
Why are the anthroposophical tenets which inform many of the classroom decisions so vital?
I get the feeling that many people choose the schools for the natural, creative , extension of childhood, and very very few choose it for it's anthroposophical beliefs.
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#55 of 55 Old 05-07-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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Steiner was very specific about body shape and temepraments, he even had diagrams of body shape. I'm sure his belief extended to exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, body shape is part of his way of catagorising, as is the way people walk etc etc.


those with more protruding shoulders are the phlegmatic children
Build: big, fleshy, rotund

those with a short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body are choleric"
Build: bullnecked, upright, short legs, husky

The melancholic children are as a rule tall and slender
Build: tall, bowed-head, bony


"the sanguine are the most normal" (body shape)
Build: slender, elegant, well-balanced
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