To get professional conversations going, one strategy is the visual synectics strategy.
The purpose is to select a visual and generate comparisons as a way to foster professional conversations within the table.
Our visual options were: Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz, Peter Falk from Columbo, Michael Jordan, Winston Churchill, Oprah Winfrey.
The cloze passage for the day was: Learning with other professional educators is like_______________ because_______________.
Our tongue in cheek response:
Learning with other professional educators is like Dorothy because sometimes we need to realize that we're just not in Kansas anymore, embrace the change, learn through the process, and only then can we find our way back home.
Why is this strategy better than an icebreaker?
It's not busy work.
It guides participants to start thinking as a professional.
It's not personal.
The word icebreaker connotes that there is ice to be broken.
People have choice, but it's a focused choice, so the conversation stays focused.
It gives a hint to the work ahead and the mindset.