I liked that I could picture Mowgli riding Colonel Hathi in the jungle book, the little boy steering/guiding this large, ponderous animal. I was able to see the rational vs emotional symbolism with this. I also understood that emotions need to be reined in by the rational part. I am not sure we all have that control and when you try to apply RATIONAL to ninth grade developing brains...it makes Mowgli look smaller and the elephant even larger!
Jen, I found this on another site. "Johnathan Haidt, a psychologist at New York University has written extensively on the automatic and controlled mind paradigm and has developed a extraordinarily intuitive analogy that we can use when talking about how to train the brain. He describes our automatic processes as a Elephant, a creature controlled by instinct. Atop the Elephant is the Rider holding onto a set of reins. The rider is your controlled mind, they are rational, and calculated." So, I think analogy, but you can also find many people calling it a metaphor...
Mrs. Postilli, this description of the elephant and rider makes more sense to me than the one in the book.
Maria brings up a good point, when we apply this analogy (?) to the 9th grade developing brain...it makes one think! I agree, Mowgli looks smaller and the elephant- huge!
I also should have used proper format for the title The Jungle Book - I didn't capitalize, nor did I italicize or use underlining....I can't find those tools on this page.
My rider and Elephant live in a love/hate relationship all the time. When working towards goals where I feel I might have success, the two work well together. When working towards goals where one or the other feels like there is failure lurking, their is a lot of starting...but a lot of stalling and then a lot of over analyzing and then my elephant just lays down and quits. I bet this happens alot for our kids .... how do we show them that success it attainable if we keep their elephants and riders in sync?
I'm glad I wasn't the only one picturing Mowgli, Maria!I've spent most of this book thinking about my 9th graders as well. What really got me thinking was the study about impulse control and how the college students had an impossible time resisting defeat after eating the radishes. Aside from admiring their ability to eat such a disgusting vegetable (my mom would be disappointed in me…), I found myself considering the amount of time I spend each day telling kids to stop doing things. I never considered that their self-control was expendable. Every single day, kids have to sit down, shut up, and learn. We don’t consider that if they do this every single day, in every single class, then OF COURSE they’re going to explode. It’s why we see behaviors increase at certain points during the school day and during the school year. What bothers me is what we should do with this information. It isn’t like we can take our kids outside every day to run around and scream before teaching. I know there is a bit more wiggle room in the lower grades (certainly not much), but in the high school, kids have no option to lost self-control. We expect student drones during 100% of the school day, and offer little time to “give them a cookie.” As the authors say, this isn’t a lack of willpower in kids, it is actually a necessary self-supervision component that more often than not, is not given time to relax and recuperate!It frustrates me to think that I know what the issue is but cannot solve it. I’m hoping some of the information in the rest of this book will give me a glimpse into what I can do as a single teacher in a single school for these kids!
I could not get my elephant motivated to read the book in a timely matter because one of the Switches that I need to make in my life is to stop putting things off until the last minute. That being said, as I got through the book, the analogy makes perfect sense. I have even found myself explaining the analogy of the elephant, rider, and path to a friend of mine who is struggling with some personal issues and wants to make some major changes in his own life. I have found the book to be extremely helpful. I have not, yet, applied it to much in school. However, I can see a lot of potential for it in situations I have had to deal with in the past. This year just happens to be an anomaly as far as the group of students I have... (really amazing!)
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