Polish and Sparkle your Personal Style

In the following notes it is assumed that the reader is an educator or psychologist dealing with learners and will be addressed as “you” rather than in the third person. Also, we assume that you are familiar with the program, at least knowing your own GEMSHAPE and the general layout of the CDROM.


Basic Concepts
Arriving at one’s GEMSHAPE
The Counsellor in the Box
Individual Leaner Use
Group Activity
    First Session  ……
    Swap-pen Hands
    Belinda’s Box
    Jokes on Us
    Aunt Mabel’s Present
    Uncle Bert’s Present
    My Favourite TV Program
    Oscars Galore
    Teachers Gift
What’s their GEMSHAPE?
Project Teams
Use in Family Setting
Crime and Punishment
The Missing Factors
    Extraversion ? Introversion
    The Shadow Factor
Games and Recreation
Pygmalion Projects
Use of certain words
Extra Notes on the GEMSHAPES Concepts
    The GEMSHAPES Colours
    The GEMSHAPES Shapes
    The Combinations
    Gender Differences
    Extra Concepts behind the Colours

Basic Concepts
If you are using it for yourself, remember:
GEMSHAPES applies to how you approach the study process. Its:
  • NOT about home circumstances and relationships
  • NOT about vacation and leisure time
  • NOT set in concrete. It will change slightly as one develops and moves along.
What GEMSHAPES is all about is to:
  • Use it as a starting point to get a feel for your strengths and weaknesses.
  • See how using your strengths can help you get started and perform well in class, projects and exams
  • And when you perform within your GEMSHAPE you FEEL GOOD
Hear your inner voice telling you that all this makes good sense
So, FIRST build on your strengths, building your weaknesses will come later.
It’s all about polishing your Personal Style.

The GEMSHAPES Family Study Tips CDROM, in its design, has two purposes:
1. To give a simple “codename” (the GEMSHAPE) to a temperament style with particular reference to the various aspects of the study process
2. To give a few examples of memory systems in such a way that makes them fun and easy to learn.

Arriving at One’s GEMSHAPE
To arrive at each learner’s GEMSHAPE you can either let the leaner do it completely by them self or guide them through the process of choosing the various columns rather than them having to read through the whole explanation. This way, obviously, is much quicker.

Once you established their GEMSHAPE make a note of it get them to write it down somewhere. (Sticky labels master on request.) We use the initial letter of each type, e.g. CR for Coral Roll and EB for Emerald Block, etc. You will soon become familiar with the nomenclature. We suggest that you use the words as given because we have carefully chosen them to be PC and to connote the rarity and “specialness” of each. Compare Coral Sphere to a Pink Ball (sexist?) or an Emerald Roll to a Green Cylinder. (For extra notes on the colours and shapes see last section.)

In such a short way of choosing between the factors there are going to be cases where the learner says they are a bit of both, say column P and column Q. Tell them to make a choice now and they can go back and make the other choice later. They then will have two GEMSHAPES and each time they refer to the various lists they should get ideas from each set. In the first two lists, P and Q, the choice is between Intuitive and Factual dynamics. (The N and S factors.)

In the real world we all use one or the other depending on the circumstances, but  which way do we use most often? This also applies to the other factors. Overall, if we remember that GEMSHAPES is a simple START to learning about style and is not a test or a life-threatening label, we will be able to move on positively.

In the school setting (and this includes homeschool, college or university), you will usually let the learner explore the memory systems on their own. They will pick up what excites them and then proceed to try it out. They know that they can go back to the disc later when they need to explore other techniques.

The Counsellor in the Box
Indian Educator, Dr Mitra, found that for young people it works better to give them an opportunity to “play” with a program by themselves and then give them guidance based on their queries. Following his advice the GEMSHAPES CDROM: lets the learner/person find their way around by themselves and we have designed GEMSHAPES to allow for this kind of “intuitive search” process. In addition, there are other factors “built-in” to the program.

We know, from psychological research, that subjects will reveal to a computer screen private and personal information about themselves that they would normally not divulge to another person. It seems as if the interaction with the computer screen is detached from everyday reality. (Computer games, of course, enhance this feeling.)

We also know that one’s parents and teacher are often the last ones we would normally take advice from. But we will take the impersonal advice from GEMSHAPES because its on a computer.

This advice, we will usually keep secret. We will try out a technique or process and check whether it works for us. Often it does, and then we just appear to be more effective in our studies. We often will not tell our class associates, either. (Note that this syndrome is also noticed with students using our Betakit Study System. They will use it to improve their marks and then when probed just shrug it off as if they were always that intelligent.)

The above points suggest that it is ideal for each student to have access to a GEMSHAPES when they need to, either at school, or ideally at home. The price has been deliberately kept low to encourage the latter option.

Individual Learner Use
On first being exposed to the CDROM a student gains insight into their own study style as they personally work through the screens on the program. These screens then indicate how their style can be applied to the various circumstances to which the student is exposed: exams, lectures, solitary homework, etc.
If you are counselling the learner, you could go through some of the screens and you should ask if they agree with the comments and suggestions. Probe why and why not. Or even better, following Dr Mitra, let them work with the program by themselves for a while and then pick up their views afterwards.

The following are a number of “games” or interactions that others have used, and we have dreamed up, to help everyone become accustomed to the concept of GEMSHAPES Study Style or as it is usually more generally termed “Typing”.

These exercises are both fun and informative and help learners realise that they are each unique but also that they have certain characteristics, which others also have in addition to race, height, weight and gender

Note that in GEMSHAPES, the standard four-phase temperament style is given in the four colours and the major perceptual mode is given in the three shapes. Together they give twelve GEMSHAPES. In the following exercises only one modality at a time is indicated but you can mix-and-match as you become familiar with the process.

Importantly, these are all suggestions not rules. GEMSHAPES should be a fun-based carrot where learners gain insights rather than be given rules.

All in the class should know their GEMSHAPE.
Sheets of lapel stickers are available so that, at the start, each person can have their GEMSHAPE to be seen by themselves and others. Or small pieces of paper can be written on and pinned to the clothing in some way or other. (E-Mail and ask for a file  to print out.) 

Introduce the topic of Temperament style as a preferred way, very generally, that we like to do things, if we have the chance. (The introduction on the CDROM covers this.)
On one side of a sheet of paper ask everyone to write their name and address using their normally preferred hand. (At this point, if you do not know who is left-handed it is a good time to note it.)
Then ask them to change hands and write the same information with their “other” hand.

Probe for differences in the two experiences and results. This is usually that: the second one took longer, it is not so neat, it does not look good, one had to concentrate harder and one’s hand got tired.
Explain that preferred temperament style is a little like this. It just feels easier when you use your preferred style as to when you have to use another style. And the results are usually better. Neither way is right or wrong. One is just easier for you while others have a different style.

Point out that many people who have broken and arm and had to learn to write with the other hand eventually become quite good at it while the plaster was on. But as soon as they could go back to the old “better hand” they did so. This means we can learn to do things in different ways if we need to. And with all the circumstances life is going to throw at us in the days to come the smart ones are those who learn to be flexible.

If you have the short descriptions of the 12 GEMSHAPES printed out these should be handed out. Let the class read these for themselves and then answer questions as they arise.
The following ideas for sessions can be presented in any order at your discretion.

[This is a more complex illustration of the Swap-Pen exercise.]
For this session each learner has in front of them a box or packet called: “Belinda’s Box”. This would contain some or all of the following:
  • Normal pen and pencil
  • Selection of coloured pencils and pens.
  • Pad of lined paper
  • Pad of unlined paper
  • Some building blocks such as Lego, or
  • Some toothpicks or other small sticks e.g. sosatie sticks cut in half.
  • Small ball of Prestik
  • Plastic set square and ruler
All of this could be packed in a clean, empty, two-litre ice-cream tub.
Although it may seem trouble to set up and collect, these boxes can be used over and over just with new sheets of paper.
Belinda’s Box can be reused for different classes and would be an inexpensive investment that can be built up over a period. (It’s great for creativity sessions.)
The class is Split by Shape with the Rolls sitting together, the Blocks together and the Spheres together. This makes it easier for you to address each separately.
The “task” could be anything that is short enough and lends itself to expression in various modes.
The idea is that, in the first two steps, the “task” has to be done in the “non-preferred” mode. For the last attempt the “preferred” mode is given. This would be:
  • Blocks write a letter or short note
  • Spheres draw a diagram or picture
  • Rolls make a model to illustrate their point.
You would say something like this:]
“Only with the goodies you have in your box, I want you to:
  • [Addressing the Rolls only]    Write a letter or note
  • [Addressing the Blocks only]   Draw a picture or diagram
  • [Addressing the Spheres only]   Make a model
I want you to show or tell me the most important thing you are going to know and feel at the end of this year.
You have got five minutes. Ready, go."
Class does this and at the end of the time limit, (they do not all need to finish), stop them and tell them to keep what they have done and start again but this time:]
  • Rolls   Draw a picture or diagram
  • Blocks  Make a model
  • Spheres Write a letter or note
[Repeat stopping and starting again as before. But this time:]
  • Rolls   Make a model
  • Blocks  Write a letter or note
  • Spheres Draw a picture or diagram
Ask for comments. Draw out that all COULD produce something or other, because, after all, they are all good intelligent learners! But that during the last session, when they were operating in their preferred style, the work was more fun, it took less time and the finished product was more meaningful.

[For this one split the class by colour. Corals in one corner, Topaz in another, Gold in another and Emeralds in another. Even if you only have one learner of a colour, let them do the exercise on their own.]
“For this session we are really going to have fun. I want each group to tell each other jokes for about five minutes. And keep them clean! Then, when I tell you, I want you to select the best three. I will then ask each group’s spokesperson to tell their jokes to the whole class.”
[Depending on time available this could be one or two jokes for each group. Allow class to notice differences. Discuss.]

[For this one split the class by colour. Corals in one corner, Topaz in another, Gold in another and Emeralds in another.]
“Your Aunt Mabel is a spinster, who lives near a city and gets a small monthly pension from her days of being a travel consultant. She is not well off but she is not poor. Her 60th birthday is coming up. As a group decide on a present for her. Maximum R100.00.”
[As before get each group’s spokesperson, maybe a different one each time, to tell everyone the results of their deliberations. Note differences. Discuss.]

[Split the class by colour]
“Uncle Bert’s first wife died ten years ago and he has recently remarried. He was a financial accountant, and is now retired. He is now comfortably well off.  His hobby was making model ships.
He will be 65 soon, so as a group decide on a present for him. Maximum R100.00.”
[Same as Aunt Mabel.]

[Split the class by colour]
“As a group decide on your top three TV programs that have been aired in the last year.”
[Same as Aunt Mabel.]

[Split the class by colour]
“Pretend you are all voters for the Oscar Awards. Consider the films we have seen in the last three years and decide on:
  • Best Actress
  • Best Actor
  • Best Film”
[You could also call it the XYZ High School Awards.]
[Same as Aunt Mabel.]

[Split the class by colour]
“The class clubs together and collects R500.00 for a going-away gift for teacher. As a group decide what should they buy him or her?”
[Specify which teacher. Or let the class decide. Do more than one.
As a variation split the class by shape.]

[Comments: Obviously, in all the above exercises, the preferences of each group will reflect their own style. The main objective is for ALL to hear how different and strange are the other group’s choices. Probe a little after they have given their choices to find out why they chose what they did.
Keep a record of the choices for your use later in the year to show how their knowledge of the process of choosing presents, for example, has changed. (We will be interested in compiling a “Presents by GEMSHAPES list”. We think that on Mother’s day and Father’s day and at Xmas this could be very useful.)

When learners are accustomed to the GEMSHAPES format get them to type someone else, and all agree this, (e.g. you the teacher, or the headmaster, etc.). Then select a present for them according to their style. A more complex version of this is:

[This can either be done with the learners sitting in groups to collaborate or as an individual test.]
Determine the GEMSHAPE of people the class all know such as teachers in the school or famous people living or dead. If you take the process step by step as is done on the CDROM, determining the GEMSHAPE is not difficult.

In the business setting GEMSHAPES is used for teambuilding both as exercises and in practice. There is emphasis on each type bringing certain skills to the total project and its implementation. This same idea can be used in the classroom to set up teams for a project. This could perhaps be left a little later in the term when all are familiar with their GEMSHAPES.
As a trial you can set up teams with too many of each style and then watch as they attempt a team task. Ask them how they felt and if they observed how different jobs need different styles in addition to intelligence. How would they would they set up task teams to tackle a complex project?
  • Topazes draft the plan after the group discusses it
  • Golds attend to the details
  • Corals check on and maybe implement the “people” bits
  • Emeralds get the action bits done
Depending on the mixture of the class you may have to organise the way the different colours form the teams.
Projects that include the following elements should work well.
  • Planning the project and getting it approved prior to the “fieldwork”. (Topaz)
  • Interviewing other students and/or adults. (Coral)
  • Making some sort of structure or model to demonstrate the results (Emerald)
  • Analysing the data. Figures and graphs. (Gold)
The various colours are EXPECTED to competently handle their roles. (Later in the year you can ask students to switch roles as an exercise in multi-tasking and challenge.)]
An idea for a complex project
“What do people over sixty years of age think of a project to arrange specialised tuition for maths and science students? How did they manage in their days at school? How has maths and science helped them in their life? Is there any useful information from this? Or has technology developed so much that their ideas are worthless?”
[Set time limit for project.]
  • Design Interview form, which structures the interview and can be analysed later.
  • How do the Coral Blocks, who will usually do the interviews, feel about structure?
  • Gender and educational differences
  • Compare answers from parents and others to school staff answers
  • Incorporate maths procedures being currently learnt to analyse data
  • What if you take photos/videos of the interviews?
  • Maybe make a PowerPoint presentation.
We do not need to tell you that this kind of team project can be made as simple or complex as your situation allows. You should get feedback on what students learn during the project.]

In addition to the uses given above, parents and caregivers can process the program to give them insight into themselves, their younger children and their spouses. A number of wives have reported dramatic changes in the family life when they investigated their husband’s style and discovered what stressed them. They then used this new information, (without too much effort we might add), to improve communication with positive results. One could say that people should know these things about partners anyway, without having to resort to a computer, but reading the comments and ‘kind-of-feeling’ them as well, contribute to positive changed behaviour.

The next step, usually once the mother/teacher becomes more familiar with the concepts, is to give all family members their GEMSHAPE and discuss with them the implications. They should be very careful to emphasise that it is not set in concrete but is a way of describing positive attributes. At a family gathering the mother can use lapel-stickers to indicate each person’s GEMSHAPE and then discuss the differences and similarities of the various family members. This is usually quite fun especially when we try and guess/work out the GEMSHAPE of absent family members and friends.

We wanted to make GEMSHAPES simple enough to use on a CDROM, and without completing a questionnaire, which needs to be scored. To achieve this we had to omit certain factors. These factors are usually included in Temperament Style systems such as the Jung Personality Questionnaire, the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.

Extraversion - Introversion
One of the factors omitted is the Introversion – Extraversion factor first mentioned by Jung in his seminal book Psychological Types. Although Dr Jung may have been the first to name and write about this factor it had been known about since human beings have been human beings. Some people, the Extraverts, enjoy being with other people. In fact they have to be with other people as often as possible, and working or playing alone is not for them. Three-quarters of western people can be classified as Extravert; so society seems to be geared for their likes and entertainment.

Some temperament scales link this factor with sociability, Extraverts being the sociable ones. This may seem so but the factor has more to do with an “energy flow.” Introverts are energised by their inner world of ideas and concepts and usually prefer this to the outer world of action, confrontation or group activity.

Introverts quite happily can keep their own company and although they can mix in a group (the sociability factor is slightly different to the Extraversion/Introversion concept) they very soon feel they “need a break” and either move to a quiet corner with one or two special friends or they leave the party. An American therapist, Dr Marti Olsen Laney, in her recent book: “The Introvert Advantage“ gives advice to Introverts as to how they can adapt to our present society and not feel the outcasts they are often made to feel by the Extraverts.

The Shadow Factor
The other factor omitted is the Shadow Factor developed by psychologists using the Myers Briggs Type Inventory and refers to how we present our strong points to the outside world while suppressing other aspects of our temperament, i.e. the Shadow Factors. Counsellors often use these concepts with clients with adjustment problems. This is a more involved use of temperament instruments and we felt that it could be conveniently omitted in a simple program to assist students become excited about the learning process.
Games and Recreation

The focus of the GEMSHAPES is on the study process and we have not included notes on how the various shapes have fun and relax. And as you would expect there are considerable differences in how each style likes to spend their free time.

The Pygmalion Project
Dr David Keirsey, one of the eminent psychologists in the temperament field, notes from his many years of practice that husbands and wives often want to remake their spouse to be like them rather than be the person they found so different and interesting when they “fell in love”. This also occurs when parents are focused in trying to make their children behave in ways that they find attractive rather in helping the child adapt their personal physiology and temperament to the problems of family, school and society.
This is not a topic for the CDROM but is a factor to be considered by teachers and lecturers. Once a teacher knows their own GEMSHAPE and how this influences their teaching style, they will realise how some in their class just are “not on the same frequency” and are not developing while others respond well and conscientiously.

Use of Certain Words
One of the basic concepts of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is that most of our thoughts are determined by our perceptual modalities and how these major modalities influence the sort of language we respond to and the language we find difficulty in understanding. (This is apart from slang and cultural differences.) These major NLP modalities are included as shapes in GEMSHAPES and indicate the Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic modalities respectively.

Lists of words, which each shape is more likely to respond to, are in the process of being compiled. Even partial use of these words in counselling and teaching will considerably improve the impact of the session for the particular shapes.

In choosing the colours and shapes we were careful to be PC but nevertheless be descriptive in a positive way. The person/learner should feel that their GEMSHAPE is rather special, just like they are. In these days, where self-esteem is often lacking, we think that this is a valuable concept.


  • Gold  Solid, glows in the right light, valued by society
  • Coral  Shades of red and pink, like the heart, feels for others
  • Topaz  Cool, blue, sky, thoughts on the wing
  • Emerald Deep green, ever changing, like nature

  • Sphere  Visual. Round, like an eyeball
  • Block   Auditory Solid, stable, like a loudspeaker, ears on the side
  • Roll   Kinaesthetic Cylinder, can roll around and be flexible
Gold Sphere   common
Gold Block       usual
Gold Roll          seldom

Coral Sphere     seldom
Coral Block        usual
Coral Roll          common

Topaz Sphere   usual
Topaz Block      common
Topaz Roll         seldom

Emerald Sphere    seldom
Emerald Block       common
Emerald Roll          usual

Both genders will be found in all GEMSHAPES.
However, more females will be found among the Coral and more males among the Topaz.
Emeralds tend to be slightly more male.


CORAL    Pink
Coral is formed on reefs in tropical seas and has many shades, ranging from dark red to light pink. Coral is built up of tiny maritime organisms over thousands of years. Each little organism plays its part in building the whole and this group activity contributes to the varied textures and colours of coral.
The Corals, the Pinks, are the feeling, caring ones. The coral colour relates to the human body and the feelings that emerge from a developed endocrine system although we usually say: “It comes from the heart”. It is the aspect of being able to feel with and for the other person. It is appreciating the contribution that others make to the whole, sensing and feeling at both a personal and a group level.
Motto of the Corals:   How will the others feel? How will they benefit?

GOLD    Yellow
Gold usually means value and wealth. It is the heaviest and most reliable of metals. But although heavy it is soft and malleable. In the hands of a skilled craftsman works of great complexity and beauty are produced.
The Golds are usually methodical and conscientious learners. They enjoy structure and joining societies. They are keen to keep the family traditions. They like to know where they are going and the steps they should take to get there.
Motto of the Golds:   Is it logical and useful?

TOPAZ   Blue
Blue Topaz is the sparkling colour of the sky, the colour of ideas floating high above among the clouds.  Although the colour of the sky may change with the weather the changes are always up above never down here on the earth. So in some ways the Emeralds and the Topaz seem to be living in different worlds: Emeralds are on the earth, Topaz in the sky.
The Topaz, the Blues, are the thinkers, heads in the clouds, dreamers of new ideas, looking to the future and seldom to the past. Easily bored with repetition and long-winded explanations they are able to carry on with self-study, if, and only if, they are interested in the topic.
Motto of the Topaz:   Let’s make a plan

EMERALD    Green
The varied green of nature, from grass and leaves to trees and bushes, is always varied, always changing with the seasons. Nature is often affected by the weather, so the actual colour is not always predictable. Nature flows with the wind and the rain, so takes advantage of circumstances and enjoys the good times and rides with the bad times.
The Emeralds usually have an independent way of living life and they crave excitement. Often bored with schoolwork and lessons they sparkle when learning a new skill such as a musical instrument, a power tool or a dance step. Tackling a multi-dimensional exciting project also switches them on.
Motto of the Emeralds:  Let’s have some fun.
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