[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Shaila Bora



Whether a family, student group, classroom or school, every group has a culture which is the invisible but powerful influence that affects peoples’ felt experience as well as group outcomes. 
When a group taps into these three skills: build safety, share vulnerability and establish purpose, they feel happier; they know they can navigate the challenges presented to them. 
Do you know groups who would like to take their performance to the above and beyond? If so then come along and explore more about how that might happen with The Power of Group Chemistry.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1. Observed how signals of connection and belonging cues build group identity and safety.

2. Understood how mutual risk through trust drives cooperation.

3. Learned more about how to lead for proficiency and creativity by using narratives to create shared goals and values.

4. Learned new ideas to promote a culture of belonging grounded in safety, vulnerability and shared purpose.

5. Shared their viewpoints, suggestions, trials, and questions with other course participants, in the service of mutual arising.

6. Developed their style and practice to support high performing group cultures that can navigate the awesome challenges of our rapidly changing society.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



The text for the course is: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. Find it in your local bookstore, library or from Amazon.

None. All reading is online.





Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: All About Belonging Cues.

Is the need to feel safe, a vital need in human interactions?

Read in the text:

Introduction: When Two Plus Two Equals Ten & Chapter 1: The Good Apples.

Watch: Bayley on Behaviour - Libby's Little Tigers

What points about safe connection in groups did you find engaging? What questions concerning your experiences with human signaling, wake up in your mind?

In 500+ words:

Introduce yourself, describe your professional situation and some reasons why you chose this course.

Respond to the presentation: identify 5+ belonging cues which might be used to stir up a dynamic group chemistry.

Post your response.

Assignment #2: Feeding the Flame of Connection.

Is safety what matters most?

Watch the videos:

Christmas Truce of World War I -- Joyeux Noel [2005 film]

The Christmas Truce of 1914: What Really Happened?


Create a 2- column Table of Belonging Cues (minimum 5 rows):

Column 1: excerpt/ quote(s) from films 

Column 2: interpretation  (Are we connected? Do we share a future? Are we safe?)

In a 500+ word Summary: 

Use your Table as a reference to explain how belonging is a process that happens from the outside in.

Answer this question: Is safety what matters most?

Post your Table and Summary.

Assignment #3: Build and Design Relationships for the Family Feel.

We are not passengers, passersby, we are crew!

In the text read Chapter 4: How to Build Belonging & Chapter 6: Ideas for Action.

Understand: When power and trust are placed in the hands of those who do the activity, groups will create connection and belonging. 

Construct a 3-column Table ( 5+ rows):

Column 1: Environment(s)  Describe an aspect of a current learning environment: hybrid, virtual or physical space.

Column 2: Belonging Behavior(s)  List how to integrate belonging behaviors to build more safety and trust.

Column 3: Rank Order  Prioritize your suggestions.

In 500+ words discuss:

1. Your recommended belonging behaviors to nurture the family feel in a diverse group.

2. The benefits and challenges of virtual vs on site learning environments for accomplishing this goal.

3. Why you ranked ordered as you did.

Post your Table and response.

Assignment #4: How to Create Group Chemistry.

First leap into the unknown, then you will trust!

Watch: How To Connect With Anyone

Can 4 minutes of silent uninterrupted eye contact increase intimacy?

Test out this claim with your students or if you are not in school, then with 3 couples. (use the video as a model of possible coupling combos) Solicit student or couples' feedback concerning their experiences.

Read Chapter 8: The Vulnerability Loop. When it comes to creating cooperation, is vulnerability a psychological requirement?

Design or redesign a lesson to integrate your learning about vulnerability loops. What is the guiding question for the lesson?  Be sure the lesson is developmentally appropriate for all learners and provides access for students with exceptionalities and English Language Learners. Please make the lesson title a How or Why question!

"Exchanges of vulnerability, which we naturally tend to avoid, are the pathway through which trusting cooperation is built."

In 750+ words:

Describe your lesson and discuss how your inclusion of vulnerability loops might make a difference in cooperation and how effectively group members create relationships of mutual risk.

Post your reponse.

Assignment #5: Exchanges of Vulnerability: Group Speak.

Have you ever wondered why your voice is more important than your words?

Listen to any one or both of the podcasts:

Art of Manliness Podcast #506: How to Improve Your Speaking Voice

Art of Manliness Podcast #694: The Fascinating Secrets of Your Voice

In 500+ words:

Develop an activity for yourself or for your learners, to facilitate a 21- day practice for more pleasant, more genteel speaking voices. Let's speak so it is easier for others to listen!

People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did,
but they will remember how you made them feel. --- Maya Angelou

Post your response.

Assignment #6: Stories Create Reality.

Here is where we are at and here is where we want to go! 

Read Chapter 13: Three Hundred and Eleven Words.

Try out on yourself what might be the most basic psychological experiment of all time: Mental Contrasting. See page 181 in the text for guidance.

Research and review 3+ sources to learn more about Mental Contrasting. If you want a quick start, click on this link:

In 750+ words:

Select a strand from your State Standards content area and explain how, where, when and why you might use the Mental Contrasting method to sustain purpose by triggering significant changes in behavior and motivation.

Post your response with citations.

Assignment #7: All Together Now.

Read Chapters 10: How to Create Cooperation in Small Groups & 15: How to Lead for Proficiency.

"The goal of an AAR (After Action Review) is... to build a shared mental model that can be applied to future missions."  Assemble a AAR template. Go to the following text pages for design suggestions:  99, 141, 164.

In 250+ words:

Share how you might use the template as an AAR in your learning environment.

Post your template and your response.

Assignment #8: Concerning Skills of Creativity

What is this collaboration all about and why are we doing what we do?

Learn more about how to support creative groups as they churn ideas to render optimal choices:

  1. Go to Amazon and type in the search box: High Creativity Environments OR a related search of your own.
  2. Choose three (3) Look Inside books to review on this topic.
  3. Create an Annotated Bibliography for the 3 selected books.
  4. For each book reviewed add a favorite tip.

Post your Annotated Bibliography.

*I may ask permission to add your book review and tip to the course Bibliography!

Assignment #9: Relax and Reflect.

Relax with another Power of Groups culture, the organ!

Listen to BACH - Passacaglia in c minor, BWV 582, SEBASTIAN HEINDL.

Let's check our understanding concerning the secrets of highly successful groups. Review and refer to your learning from Assignments #1-8. Compose and Answer 8+ open-ended (How/Why) or closed-ended Review Questions. 

Post your response.

Assignment #10: Secret Skill Focus.

Our text has presented three (3) skills sections: Build Safety, Share Vulnerability and Establish Purpose.

Select one (1) of these skill sections as a focus, with the intent to share with others. Go to all the Ideas In Action Chapters for the skill you chose and look over the suggestions. List your favorite Ideas for Action, along with their possible application in your learning environment(s.)

Assemble a 12+ slide Powerpoint Presentation (PP) about the Power of Group Chemistry and include some Ideas for Action. Share your PP with a colleague, student or friend. Solicit feedback and edit.

Submit your response.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #11: Lesson Development.

Choose one (1) of the following assignment options below:
Option A)

Develop a sequence of 3 lessons that reflect learning from this course.

Implement the lessons in a 3-day cycle with students. Check for understanding. Observe and record how each lesson supports the learning of your 3 fastest and 3 slowest learners, your English Language Learners and students with exceptionalites. Solicit class feedback too!

In 750+ words:

Write a comprehensive report that describes the lesson sequence. Explain how you might adjust your lesson design, format & presentation, quality of learning and flow based on your observations and learner feedback.

Post your report.


Option B)  Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.

Develop a sequence of 3 lessons to reflect learning from this course. Do not implement yet.

Share your lessons with colleagues and/or students to receive some valuable feedback.

What suggestions and guidance for implementation of these lessons might you offer to a recent teacher graduate or new colleague?

In 500+ words:

Write your Letter of Guidance. As an attachment include a notated sample lesson.

Post your response.

Assignment #12: Exhibition:The Secret Skills of Successful Groups!

Chapters 1-5 & 7-11 & 13-16... so many story streams flow through The Culture Code! In every one we feel the creative forces which generate bonds of connection and belonging. We feel that urge to be part of something more, part of that powerful flow that gives outwardly and feeds inwardly, at every level.

In 750+ words, share a story with us.

Tell us about your experience in a highly dysfunctional group which over time was able to tap into a group chemistry.  Narrate how your group was able to create a performance far beyond the sum of its individual members as they steadily built safety, shared vulnerability and established shared goals and purpose.


Tell us how a dysfunctional group in your class learned to collaborate by creating a group chemistry. How did they inspire one another to change the way they thought about how to be successful together?

Post your response.

Assignment #13: (500 Level ONLY)

Revisit these methods referenced in our text:

The Give Some Game   p.106-107
Improv and the Harold- Del Close   p.123-129
The Harkness Method   p. 8
Nyquist Method   p.147-149, 157
Pentland Studies   p. 8-15.

Each method can be organized to initiate/ support/ release the power of a group. Choose two (2) methods you would like to learn more about.  For each method search and identify one (1) online presentation and three (3) related research studies or professional papers. Determine how you might integrate your findings into your learning environment.

For each research study/professional paper and the online presentation, write a 250+ word summary that concludes with actionable suggestions that continuously feed the flame of group culture.  

Pick your favorite method. Create a lesson around it, a lesson that supports group collaboration in any learning environment.

Post your summaries and your lesson.

Assignment #14: (500 Level ONLY) Student Guide to Group Chemistry

Trust creates scarcity, and scarcity creates value.

  • Search beyond the text for online presentations, high-quality books, and research that offer and illuminate related but different perspectives on essential course components: verbal and physical cues that bring people together, specific strategies that encourage collaboration and build trust by creating habits of vulnerability, stories which feature group cooperation and cohesion through shared purpose. Collect search sources into a bibliography, annotated for your personal use.
  • Reflect upon how the course assignments and your findings are interconnected; how to approach, ask the same question from a lot of different angles, and how to build from it.

In 500+ words:
Summarize your thoughts: what is of most interest; how might that be put into practice; imagine what could possibly go wrong. Cite search sources to support your claims and predictions.
Create a Student Guide (your choice of format) that contains elements and suggestions concerning how to organize themselves by creating an uplifting energy where everything has to do with each other and what comes next (in pursuit of a commonly envisioned goal.)
Post the Summary and Student Guide.


Assignment #15: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Shaila Bora, M.A. is currently working toward her PH.D. in Philosophy. Courses offered by Shaila are designed to tap into the creative potential and intuitive knowledge that each of us carries within. Through light touch supervision, we will open a dialogue that encourages experimentation with new techniques, and ways of being and doing that are already latent and waiting to be called forth. Nurturing this unique artistic spirit entails reflecting on and acting from your own experiences, observations, suggestions, questions, relationships, and perhaps a gentle nudge from a supportive someone else. So go ahead and choose the adventure that commands your thoughts and liberates your energy. Are you ready to try something new now? Come on, jump in, and let the magic happen.



The Power of Group Chemistry
Coyle, Daniel, ‎ The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, Random House Business (February 21, 2019) 280 pages. ISBN-13‏: ‎ 978-1847941275
Text for this course.
Gertner, Jon, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 26, 2013) ‎ 422 pages. ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0143122791
Learn more about what causes innovation!
Hanh, Thich Nhat, The Art of Communicating, HarperOne; Reprint edition (September 2, 2014)176 pages. ASIN: ‎ 0062224662
Speak in terms that learners can understand based on their daily experiences.
Speak to each person differently.
Know the background of the person you are speaking to so you can adapt what you say to them.
Reflect truth by using right speech.
Kohl, Judith & Herbert R., The View from the Oak: The Private Worlds of Other Creatures, Sierra Club Books; Reissue edition (October 1, 1988) ‎ 110 pages. ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0316501378
Umwelt, it’s a german noun more or less meaning an organism’s world view/experience in its Umgebung, surrounding environment. Want to hear about an example? Google Umwelt-Wikipedia and scroll down to the example of the tick! yes, tick, as in Lyme Disease tick.
Lieberman, Matthew D., Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, Crown; First Edition (October 8, 2013) 384 pages.
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0307889096
Are human brains wired to connect with other people? and is this need even more basic than our need for food or shelter? Social answers yes and contends that this need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior. Learn more about neural mechanisms of the social mind and how they relate to optimal social interaction and personal well-being.
Love, Roger, Set Your Voice Free: How to Get the Singing or Speaking Voice You Want, Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition (August 15, 2003) 240 pages. ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0316441582
“When it comes to your personal presentation, there is one aspect that often gets overlooked, your voice. Your voice is a big part of what makes you, you, and what makes you likable, influential, yet you probably don’t think too much about it….” Bret McKay
"Here’s the thing. People believe that they are the voices, the speaking voices that they were born with, but the truth is it’s not true." Roger Love
O’Connor, Anne-Marie, The Lady In Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Vintage; Reprint edition (March 31, 2015) ‎ 368 pages.
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1101873120
Read about how the now famous painting, stolen by the Nazis during WWII, was returned to the family in large part due to influence on the jury of the soft spoken Viennese accent of Adele Bloch-Bauer’s niece! Voice matters! 
Smith, Frank, Insult To Intelligence: The Bureaucratic Invasion of Our Classrooms, Heinemann; 1st edition (May 9, 1988) 284 pages. ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0435084783
“Smith contrasts a false and fabricated “official theory” that learning is work (used to justify the external control of teachers and students through excessive regulation and massive testing) with an officially suppressed “classic view” that learning is a social process that can occur naturally and continually through collaborative activities.”
Chapter 7 is devoted to a practical alternative: Good Teachers and Clubs.