Here is an exercise your team can use to establish a positive energy going into a learning session. Have everyone take at least two full minutes to list everything they can think of that describes superheroes in general: what motivates them, how they treat others, what they do in the face of danger, and how they complement other superheroes.
If you are in a session with more than seven people break into groups of four to seven people for the exercise. Have people offer their list to the group. Once they have done so, ask a member of each group to recite for the room a list for their group.
Why it works: When we’re asked to think about the positive traits of a particular group, we invariably compare ourselves with the group—and in a phenomenon known as positive bias, we usually start by looking for similarities. A study published by the Journal of Experimental Psychology, From Student to Superhero: Situational Primes Shape Future Helping (Leif D. Nelson and Michael I. Norton) discusses the research related to this dynamic.
One Caution: We are not encouraging false hero behaviors - where one person looks to “save the day,” often from a crisis they created. Real heroes are too humble and powerful to play that game. The point of the exercise is to create a positive bias and expectation of a fun and positive learning session.