A Super Hero Education

By Connie Williams


What does a super hero have to do with remote learning?

We are definitely living in anxious times, right?  People are asking, “what is the new normal?”  How is this pandemic and all the resulting changes in our way of working, learning and socializing going to affect our future?  Everyone is feeling apprehensive about what is in store.  Parents are especially fearful of what to do about education and their own children.  So how do we find ways to overcome our fears and thrive in this uncertain outlook?

In a recent TED talk, Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, psychologist Anne Marie Albano explained how to raise kids who can overcome anxiety.  The key skill she explains is helping encourage kids to deal with situations themselves, what she called self-efficacy.  Self-efficacy is the belief that we have, in our own abilities, the potential to meet the challenges we face.

My Synecticsworld colleague, Joe Gammal, has launched with a new way of helping our young people do exactly that….to give them the creative problem-solving skills to gain confidence in their own ability to resolve challenges in imaginative and positive ways.  It’s called Imagine Corps – a virtual learning and community service program for teens that gives them a chance to learn and have impact on real challenges in their own community.  So recently a group of 6 high school students got together via Zoom to learn and practice some new skills with Joe.  Based on the powerful Synectics® creative problem-solving methodology, which has been taught to thousands of individuals and teams in organizations and corporations across the globe over the past 60 years, it utilizes specific, practical skills to improve inventive thinking, idea development and creative, actionable solutions.  One of the challenges the kids chose to take on as they learned and practiced their skills was “how to reinvent remote learning for kids this fall”.

So, what does a super hero have to do with reinventing remote learning?  Well, all super heroes need a super power – and creative problem solving is definitely a super power.  Learning some new skills allowed the group to begin to rethink something – their spring experience with remote learning – which the group felt really needed breakthrough.  And in the Synectics®process, that encourages wishful, imaginative thinking, exploring the worlds of super heroes was one way to spark ideas for new teaching experiences.

Over a few, short online practice sessions facilitated by Joe, the young people came up with the idea they are calling “Future Teach”, a new concept of kid-to-kid teaching that they would like to experiment with and practice in making online learning more engaging and effective.  Joe said that the kids barely scratched the surface of the beginning ideas they began to develop and there’s much more possibility for additional breakthrough concepts as they continue to work together.

One of the key Synectics® principles is that problems are best solved by the very people who have the power to implement them.  Imagine the super power that these teenagers are developing that will serve them well for a lifetime of learning.

For more information on Imagine Corps, and the opportunity to sponsor a young person, please contact Joe Gammal at or visit  For more information about other training opportunities, please contact Leo Boudreau at  Synecticsworld is a proud sponsor of Imagine Corps and Synectics® methodologies are used with permission from the company.

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