Sunday, 6 May 2007

Who Moved My Cheese?

Thanks to Jane @ Central I have recently been introduced to a fantastic book that has been around for quite some time (since 1998).

"Who Moved My Cheese?" by Dr. Spencer Johnson is a fantastically simple book written as a parable. It is both amusing and enlightening and is the story about four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy.

The "Cheese" in the story, of course, is a metaphor for what we want in life - a good job, great relationship, possessions, money, health etc. The "maze" represents where we look for what we want - be it an organisation/business, or the family or community group we live in.

Four characters are featured that certainly encompass the majority of teachers that we come across, especially when trying to educate teachers to embrace technology as a positive change and incorporate it in their teaching.

Two are mice named "Sniff" and "Scurry" and two are 'little people' named "Hem" and "Haw". The funny thing is when you get to know these characters, you actually look at the people you know and see which character in Who Moved My Cheese that they most are like.
  • "Sniff" is able to sniff out the situation and see the changes early.
  • "Scurry" goes into action quickly to make a change.
  • "Hem" wants to stay in familiar territory and doesn't want to deal with the change (ignores it) - either is too uncomfortable or too scared to change.
  • "Haw" initially hesitant but eventually sees what he's doing is not working. Is open minded enough to learn something new, act differently, visualises the changes and make the change.
In the story, Haw, goes through the biggest learning curve to find the "new" cheese. This picture is of the major points made throughout the book. We all need to anticipate change, adapt to change quickly, enjoy change and be ready to change quickly again and again. A pertinent message for teachers and I.C.T. in these incredibly changing times.

Another pertinent point made is "If you do not change, you can become extinct". It sort of reminds me of another saying along the lines of technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who know/use technology will.

The question is:
How can we get our teachers to behave more like Ha
w and less like Hem?!

You can also read a summarised version of the Who Moved My Cheese story here at Wikipedia.

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