Chapter 5. The Johari Window: A Model for Eliciting and Giving Feedback

Philip G. Hanson

The process of giving and receiving feedback is one of the most important concepts in laboratory training. It is through feedback that we implement the poet's words, "to see ourselves as others see us." It is also through feedback that other people know how we see them. Feedback is a verbal or nonverbal communication to a person (or a group) that provides that person with information as to how his or her behavior is affecting you or the state of your here-andnow feelings and perceptions (giving feedback). Feedback is also a reaction on the part of others, usually in terms of their feelings and perceptions, as to how your behavior is affecting them (receiving feedback). The term was originally borrowed from electrical engineering by Kurt Lewin, one of the founders of laboratory training. In the field of rocketry, for example, each rocket has a built-in apparatus that sends messages to a steering mechanism on the ground. When the rocket is off target, these messages come back to the steering mechanism, which makes adjustments and puts the rocket back on target again. In laboratory training, the group acts as a steering or corrective mechanism for individual members who, through the process of feedback, can be kept on target in terms of their own learning goals.

The process of giving and receiving feedback can be illustrated through a model called the Johari Window (see Figure 1). The window was ...

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