It's almost time to go back to school and educators are starting to think about how to bring people together to connect. Last year, I was inspired by the work of a teacher that I coached. He introduced me to the 16 Personalities Quiz. His goal was to use the results of the quiz to help students to better understand cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity refers to the many different ways that we think, respond, create, learn, and interact with each other and in the world. The idea is used in the workplace to build strong teams. It is said that embracing cognitive diversity in a team can build innovation and is a powerful tool.
Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s secretive Building 8, describes the importance of diversity to the creative process HERE. She says, “The ultimate goal is cognitive diversity, and cognitive diversity is correlated with identity diversity...You have to get to the place where you aren’t made comfortable by the fact that everyone is the same, but rather feel inspired by how different we are. We get better problem-solving that way.”
As educators, we know that the foundation of an effective learning environment is trust and community. However, one of the most common challenges I have observed at school sites is creative differences within a staff. This got me thinking about how to use the 16 Personality Quiz as a tool for building inclusion and creating a foundation for teamwork at a school site. According to Mark Miller, VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International, "The power of having cognitive diversity in the workplace is the same power that companies try to attain through strong leadership and great communication. It's a more inclusive, collaborative, and open space where people feel empowered to create and implement ideas." Excited about the potential of creating a school culture that embraces cognitive diversity, this led me to design a HyperDoc for leaders to use with a staff in an effort to build inclusion within teams and embrace the culture of the people within the school.
The HyperDoc is called, Play Well...Build On. Inspired by the LEGO company slogan and culture, I designed a professional development training for educators that can be used as an all-day training or it can be broken up over time. All the work shared on the HyperDoc is intended for adults to experience learning, but can easily be modified to be used in a classroom setting with students as well. Follow along with the HyperDoc linked above and let me describe the pedagogy behind the lesson:
ENGAGE: Begin by watching the LEGO career recruitment video. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the LEGO Brand Group’s Chairman, describes the LEGO Group Culture and how they embrace diversity in the workplace to play, create, and build together. As the group watches the video, participants jot down their thinking on a shared Google document to capture all the thinking around the video during and after showing the video. (There is a lot of rich content packed into the 3-minute video. If needed, consider your time and watch twice. Watching video can be led like a close reading instructional strategy. There is new learning gained each time it is watched.)
LEARN: During this section, teachers take the 16 Personalities Quiz. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to respond and gather results.
EMPOWER: Everyone will have a chance to reflect on the quiz outcomes when they respond to the questions on the Google form. This form will only be viewed by the facilitator. This design is intentional. The leader will now know a little more about the people in the group and will be able to use that information to guide situations throughout the school year.
GIVE: Guide and grow as a team when groups work together to design a Marshmallow Tower. The facilitator uses the personality quiz results to create homogenous groups for this activity. After the 18 minute challenge, discuss the process as a whole group. How did the group do with the challenge? How did it work with homogenous groups?
OPEN: Be optimistic and open to new possibilities when the whole group solves a Breakout EDU challenge. During this challenge, the group will embrace the cognitive diversity of the team and work together to solve the challenge. Be sure to reflect on the process once the 45-minute timer is up.
CREATE and SHARE: Using the LEGO acronym, educators have had an opportunity to reflect on who they are and how they interact with the group. Invite individuals to highlight their superpowers when they create an Adobe Spark post that illustrates the talents and skills that they bring to the group. Share the posts on a Padlet for all to see and to learn about each other. Revisit this Padlet throughout the school year as challenges arise and embracing cognitive diversity is needed.
BUILD ON: After a day of learning and creating together, choose one or all three of the videos on the last slide to share. Work together to build an amazing school year!