Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What is a 'committed sardine'?

The 'Committed Sardine' is a web-blog written by Ian Jukes. Ian is well known to NZ teachers having given exciting keynotes at the 2003 New Plymouth NZ Principals Conference on the use of information technology and how it will transform learning as we know it. His on line newsletter goes out to 16000 people. Become a committed sardine - join now!

Visit him at his blog site

Why 'Committed Sardine'?

In Ian's words:

‘A blue whale is the largest mammal on earth. The adult blue whale is the length of 2 ½ Greyhound buses…and weighs more than a fully loaded 737….A little known fact is that a blue whale is so large that when it decides to turnaround, it can take 3 to 5 minutes to turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction. As a result, some people have drawn a strong parallel between blue whales and our school system. It just seems to take forever to turn them around….There as some people who just don’t believe the public school system can be turned around.’

‘But compare the way a blue whale turns around (slowly) with how a school of…. Sardines- which is the same or even greater mass than a blue whale... A school of sardines can almost turn instantly around – how do they do it?’

The answer is simple. ‘If you take a careful look at a school of sardines you will notice that although all the fish appear to be swimming in the same direction, at any one time, there will be a small group of sardines swimming in the opposite direction against the flow. As they swim in the opposite direction they create conflict, friction, and discomfort for the rest of the school.’

‘But when a critical mass of truly committed sardines is reached – not a number like 50 percent to 80 percent of the school, but only 15 to 20 percent who are totally committed to a new direction – the rest of the school suddenly turns and goes with them? Almost instantly!’

‘Meaningful change begins with a small group of people truly committed to make meaningful change. That why we’re committed sardines.’

Thank you Ian for providing such a powerful metaphor.

Our website is happy to be a 'committed sardine'.

What about you?


Anonymous said...

Heard Ian Jukes speak at the NP NZPPF Conference. Great.

I wonder what happened to his ideas when we all got back to our schools?

We need more 'committed sardines'.

Kathy said...

Ian Jukes is a powerful presenter that should cause all of us in education to think about our true motives when we walk into our classrooms each day. Being a Teacher of Students with Learning Differences I am very frustrated with our lack of concern for the changes in how children learn in our classrooms today. There are not CHILDREN WITH LEARNING PROBLEMS THERE ARE TEACHERS WITH TEACHING PROBLEMS. Many teachers are unwilling to work outside the lecture, guided practice, independent work, assessment model to allow children to spend time with the information in ways that are meaningful to them as students as future citizens, We require them to memorize information that is at their fingertips at a moments notice but we don't teach them what to do with it once they have it in their grasp. Ian speaks to these issues and I wish he could pursuade my collegues to make positive changes for children. ALL CHILDREN