3.1.4 The Johari Window

In this section you will be introduced to a tool for thinking about the impact of feedback—namely, the “Johari Window.”

The Johari window is named after its originators, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram (for some reason there is only ever one “r” in “Johari”). It consists of four areas, shown in Figure 3.1, and looks like the separate panes of a window.

Figure 3.1 Basic four-pane Johari Window
Figure 3.1 Basic four-pane Johari Window

The open area covers what you know about yourself. You know about this aspect and are happy to share it with others. An example might be if you are happy to tell someone about the strengths that you bring to your job.

The blind area covers what other people know about you but of which you are not aware. You might, for instance, be unaware of always using a particular phrase that irritates everyone with whom you come into contact.

The hidden area is what you know about yourself but would prefer other people not to know. For example, this could include opinions that you do not want to share with others as well as any weaknesses that you feel you have.

The final area is unknown both to you and to others. This might include hidden talents, unconscious feelings, or abilities and qualities that have never been brought to the surface. In other words, it may represent resources that could help your learning. Getting involved in new activities with new groups of people increases the chances of your finding out about these, as yet unknown, resources.

None of these areas is fixed. We can increase the size of the open area by asking other people to tell us what they know about us—in other words, by asking them for feedback. We can also increase this area by revealing hidden aspects of ourselves to other people. We can reduce the size of the unknown area by looking into ourselves (self-discovery) or by finding out about ourselves with the help of others (shared discovery).

These possibilities for movement are explained in the short video below. You should watch this now.

Download this video clip.Video player: Johari Window
Skip transcript: Johari Window

Transcript: Johari Window

The Johari Window provides a framework for organizing your notes about yourself. This makes the notes much more useful as the picture this provides can be the basis for helping to decide what you want to do next.

There are two factors at work in a Johari Window. The first factor is what you know about yourself. The second factor is what other people know about you.

Anything that you know about yourself is part of your open area if you are happy that others know about it too, as in: “I have a positive attitude about change.”

Any aspect that you do not know about is in your blind area if other people have become aware of it without telling you, such as: “They are nervous about speaking in front of large groups.”

There are also things that you know about yourself that you do not want other people to find out about—these are in your hidden area, for example: I am scared of making decisions in case I get it wrong.”

This leaves just one area. This is the area that is unknown to you or to anyone else: your unknown area.

You can change the balance between these areas. You might decide to tell someone about some aspect of your life that you had previously kept hidden, for example: “I am embarrassed about being a slow reader.” This would increase your open area and decrease your hidden area.

It is also possible to increase your open area by asking for feedback from people. This can reduce the size of your blind area. For example, they might tell you how well you communicate with them. It is also possible to work with another person to discover things that neither of you had appreciated before. For example, your contact with your tutor might help you both to have a clearer understanding of the effect that your experiences at school have had on your learning. This would reduce the size of your unknown area.

So, the place to get started is your open area—by being as clear as possible about what you know about yourself already. The next step is about involving other people—asking them for feedback to reduce the size of your blind area.

Now that you have watched this part of the DVD you should return to complete the activities that involve Johari Windows.

End transcript: Johari Window
Johari Window
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Activity 3.3: The Johari Window

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes for this activity

This is a required activity for Challenge 3: The Theory Challenge.

The Johari Window quiz [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   should help you to assess your understanding of the differences between the four areas featured in the Johari Window. The quiz features Tina and Sophie, the animated characters you met earlier in this unit, together with some of their friends.


Don’t worry if it took you several tries to get the correct answers for this quiz. Every attempt will have contributed to strengthening your learning, prompting you to really think deeply about the ways in which Tina’s Johari Window areas are covered in the four films. Hopefully you now feel more knowledgeable about the four areas of the Johari Window and how they relate to the process of giving and receiving feedback.

3.1.3 How it Might Be Possible to Get Another Perspective

3.1.5 Responding to Feedback