Monday, September 19, 2016

When the ""Cat" doesn't embrace the "Dog"

In our MOOC this week, we have been asked to reflect on the introduction to our book study, "The Innovators's Mindset" by George Couros.  . There is LOTS to reflect on, which will make this blog post too long, so I am going to focus on a commercial George shared, with the tagline, "Be More Dog. 

The commercial is a humorous take on how a cat transforms himself by becoming more "dog", shedding his former aloof, indifferent self, to an exuberant, adventurous, happy-go lucky dog.

George challenges us as educators to embrace the notion of "being more dog" in our schools. I love this idea. He also suggests that "If we want people to take risks...they need to see us leading by example and taking risks in our work." I couldn't agree more.

I was fortunate today to work with a group of educators in my district, who are embarking on a journey of discovery by examining their practice and working to offer their students enhanced learning opportunities, by integrating the use of the iPad into their classrooms. They are risk takers, education leaders in their buildings and I am excited to be walking with them on this journey. One of those teachers, at the end of the day reflected the following. " The thing that scares me about a blog is where to start too. Guess it's just about jumping right in with both feet!" What an awesome attitude!

However, I am thinking about 2 other scenarios based on 2 different lenses. 

1. How do we move the educators forward, who don't want to "embrace being dog?" The ones who say, "But that's the way I've always done it", or , "kids already spend too much time on devices-in my class, I'm teaching the basics.", etc, etc... 
Well as George so clearly states, "You can't make anyone change. However, in Part 3 of the book, we will be examining how we can take action to "create the conditions where change is more likely to happen.  It reminds me of this popular Ted Talk  from Derek Sivers' on : "How to Start a Movement'
So a round of applause to you educators that are willing to "become more dog", and ask the question

"What conditions do you need in order to embrace change and to find ways to embed innovation  in your approach to teaching and learning? "

2. The second scenario is from the lens of the student in the classroom that is more "cat" than "dog". I am reminded of a circumstance last week, where I ran a Breakout EDU Game  at a school I work in. One of the students in that class presents himself as very much "cat":aloof, indifferent, disengaged, and unwilling to work in a group. He spent most of the game "hanging in the fringes" of the activity. After the game ended, we did some reflecting with the class, and were discussing the importance of those 4 C skills, and how those skills translate to the broader context of life. This particular student commented to this effect:, 

"But what about people who don't work well in groups? people that are more comfortable working on their own? "
It was an interesting point. I think as educators, we have to be cognizant of the fact that our classrooms are made up of many types of learners: Dogs, cats, and everything in between. We need to be especially innovative to find creative ways to meet the needs of ALL our learners. I believe that technology provides us with that ability to create unique learning opportunities, and fits well with the principles and practices of Universal Design For Learning. 


  1. oddly enough, I participated in a Break Out Edu game yesterday at a meeting... and I was the one standing on the side watching. I think its important to have "cats" in the game. Someone to observe, make note, think things through and make comments at the right moment. In the activity I was in yesterday, the "dogs" were all gun ho, reading fast and doing quickly, messing up as they went along. I and another participant, stood to the side, looking at the table and the surrounding area. When it came time to unlock the last lock,a key was needed.. and they were panicking about not being able to find it...I tapped my friend on the arm, pointed to the left and there it was... the key... in a dictionary... on the page of the book with the word key on it. They would have never found it.

    It takes all types to make things happen. Embracing my inner dog is too damned exhausting. I rarely do it. I like being a cat... Someone has to be... right?

    1. Thanks so much for commenting on my post! I agree-it takes all kinds-I think my personality is actually more cat-I have to step way out of my comfort zone to be the "dog"!

  2. Your first lens is one that we see a lot. You know the saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." In our department, we add, "unless you put salt in his oats."

    It's like you said, "we must create the conditions where change is more likely to happen. "


    1. Thanks so much for your comment! Haha-Love the "salt" analogy! I guess when we create conditions effectively, we are adding the "salt"