I was drawn to a reading a blog post yesterday because the title had the words “blind-spot” in it and I had just done a personality survey where I spent time pondering the weight of blind-spots. The Johari Window is a personality trait reflection the helps one see may aspects of the self they think they are vs. the person others view him as. Designed in the 1950s by two psychologists who cleverly combined their first names (Joseph and Harrington) instead of taking the regular scientific discovery route of hyphenating last names, this assessment asks an individual to choose adjectives that describe them from a set list.
The kicker, however is that you must then ask other people to click through the same adjective list with you in mind. Words then get classified in a box/grid that looks like a window. The Arena is the category of traits everyone can see, they are recognized by the self and another. The Facade is the category of traits only recognized by the individual; no one else corroborated. The Blind-spot is the category of adjectives others identified, but not clicked on by the individual. The Unknown box houses the words no one selected.
I tried to model the process for my class by asking four students to anonymously click through for me. Much to my surprise, I had NOTHING in the arena! This translates to me thinking I’m a totally different person than they think I am. Some teachers might say that makes sense, as they don a different personality at school than outside of school, but I guess I fell into thinking that didn’t apply to me. I then got to thinking if this was a different form of the Dunning-Kruger effect which I reflected on recently.
Wondering if I was a phony or if I was just perceived differently by my students than the person I thought I was, I set forth to collect more data! I contacted two colleagues to complete my window; one that knew me well and one that I just met to balance out peer perceptions of my personality. The results gave me another round of self-reflection, which I ultimately believe to be the purpose of this very un-scientific tool. First came the relief that other people see me as reflective and organized and I didn’t have to spiral into an existential crises pondering how those corner-stone traits about myself had been unrecognized by others (but shouldn’t students have recognized them too?). Second came the wondering if I truly was independent or logical if no one else thinks I am. Perhaps in my own mind I’m logical, but not to others. Is logic the sort of thing that only matters when judged externally? More Dunning-Kruger, perhaps.