Create a New Animal School

Create a New Animal School

There is an old story about an Animal School which I will include at the end of the new rule. It can be found in a book by Olsen and Sommers called The Trainer’s Companion published by AHAProcess, Inc. and other sources. It is a story about how a duck was great at swimming but failed at running, a rabbit was excellent at running but fail swimming, etc. As in many things, this has application in today’s educational system.

How about a new Animal School. Here are some current thoughts. You can expand the metaphor.
The New Animal School

Let’s get the following animals involved in making education more relevant

1. Giraffe – to create a vision for the future. With its long neck, the giraffe can see ahead to new lands, storms brewing, and alert those around them to challenges down the road.
2. Squirrels – creativity par excellence. I have tried everything to keep squirrels out of my bird feeder. I give up. They have overcome every plan I have tried. I saw one shimmying up a Shepherd’s Hook to the feeder. They win.
3. Cats – they are self-directed learners. They are going to do it their way. Help guide them and engage them by hooking their curiosity. Tantalize them, quit giving them rules. They will not respond to orders but willingly get involved if you make them curious.
4. Dogs – they will give and receive unconditional love. They need recognition and compassion. They are loyal beyond what is necessary. Most of us were taught to teach dogs who are compliant. The percentage of the population of cats in schools is increasing at a dramatic rate.
5. Goats – amazing flexibility in their diet. They make the most out of the least. They are stubborn to their core. They like cats are self-directed but will eat almost anything.
6. Bees – without them to cross-pollinate flora and our environment would be in serious trouble. I like bees as students and teachers They make connections that most of us overlook. Bees are critical to our survival.
7. Pigs – they don’t mind getting down and dirty if they have to. I think the old adage, don’t try to teach a pig to sing, it is a waste of time and it annoys the pig. Another one is if you are going to wrestle with a pig, you are going to get dirty.
8. Monkey – agility in most environments. The older we get, the less agile we are both physically and mentally. Keep the agility any way you can physically, emotionally, and intellectually. The future needs agile learners to face new challenges.
9. Dolphins – are the most intelligent species in the sea. If you haven’t read Strategy of the Dolphin by Lynch and Kordis (1988), do so. Dolphins survive and thrive a sea of sharks, carps, and pseudo-enlightened carps. The book is a great metaphor for working in organizations
10. Eagles – the have the ability to focus on the world from a higher plane, have great vision to see specific details, and are a symbol of our country’s vigilance and strength.

Dr. R. H. Reeves

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “New World,” so they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer, all animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor, and made excellent grades in flying, but he was very poor in running. Since he was low in running he had to stay after school and also drop swimming to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustrations in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree-top down. He also developed charley horses from over-exertion and he got a “C” in climbing and a “D” in running.

The eagle was a problem child and had to be disciplined severely. In climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way of getting there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well and also could run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to the badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.


Shift Happens. If you don't adopt New Rules, drop the "f" in Shift!