This is a great book that I picked up at a second-hand book sale. It really changed my personal attitude, and as you know, that seeps into the classroom.
It’s all about being positive and making the positive decision to enjoy your work. It means that as student or teacher, you show up that day and decide that things aren’t that bad. You take a few risks and change things for the better.
I’m usually not one to buy into the feel-good mantra, but I have to admit that I really think this works. Some days I cross the street from the parking lot to the building and actually say to myself “Today I’m going to be world famous.”
It sounds a little strange and ridiculous from the outside, but take about 30 minutes and read the book. You’ll understand what I’m saying. And, I really think that you’ll change the way you view your work…especially if you read it in those stressful months right before summer!
To put it in the Dan Pink perspective, I think that the fish mongers really hit the concept of Meaning. They were made to feel like their jobs really meant something. They were “world-famous”.
If we could get our students to feel the way these fish mongers felt, then learning would be guaranteed. After reading this book I have tried to convey this sense of worth and meaning to my students on a more consistent basis.
We often talk about making a student’s education relevant. Important to him or her personally. But Fish! takes a different approach. Think about fish mongers. They cut up raw fish and wrap it up for people. If they can realize the meaning of their daily jobs, how can a student not recognize the meaning of learning?
I really like the way that Fish! approaches this concept: It’s a conscious choice you make every day when you go to work. So for education it shifts the paradigm. Teachers are not solely responsible for making education meaningful. Students have to be put in an environment that will make them understand that their education is meaningful.
Just by adjusting the environment, we can make a difference. We don’t have to put in a “career connection” on every unit in order to make it meaningful. In fact, we alienate every student who may not like the career we highlight.
But, if we could make the environment foster meaning and relevance, then students would be able to create their own relevance for learning. From that environment there are no limits.
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