Before I get going, just a reminder...I hope to see you tomorrow at 7pm EST for the LIVE Launch Party.
In the title, Engagement Is Not a Unicorn (It's a Narwhal), I reference two animals, a unicorn and a narwhal--one that's real and one that isn't. The idea being that even though unicorns are widely recognizable even by small children, only narwhals (which are more obscure) are real. Both animals are interesting, have horns, and can be thought of as mythical, only unicorns are invented.
When we think about engagement in a classroom, there are also two thoughts that we can have. One is that engagement is a myth and the other is that engagement is real. If you think that engagement is that students do as their told, i.e., be compliant, your idea of what engagement can be is false--or at least your bar is too low. If you think about engagement as something that would look like students clapping at the end of the class for the teacher and begging for more dittos to complete, your idea of engagement is also false. It's not that your bar here is too high, it's that your bar is warped. These ideas about engagement are engagement unicorns.
So, then, what's an engagement narwhal? It's a realistic understanding of what high levels of engagement can look like in school. On page 166 in Engagement Is Not a Unicorn (It's a Narwhal), I share a side-by-side comparison of Engagement as a Unicorn and Engagement as a Narwhal (see below). On the next page, I write:
Notice that unicorn ideas can be both ideas of fancy such as “all students always do their homework,” but it can also be a bar set too low like “students do what they’re told.” Absorbed people are not extrinsically motivated—they tell themselves what to do. Examples in the Unicorn column are adult-centered or have hopes for homogeneity. Conversely, the Narwhal column is student-driven and honors difference. If you try to achieve a classroom where “all students find even hard work easy,” you will not only be disappointed, you will also think it’s impossible. That’s because it is impossible. Absorption is not about trying to make the impossible possible; it’s about changing your idea of what’s possible. Don’t aim to make the work easy. That’s the unicorn. Aim for promoting empowerment. That’s the narwhal.
Also, because I can't count down apparently (LOL), tomorrow is my launch day so here's T-Minus 1 Day...There is really just one day left until you can buy Engagement Is Not a Unicorn (It's a Narwhal) . I am so grateful for your support and encouragement throughout this process. So I wanted to use this ONE last post prior to the launch to say this ONE word. THANKS!!!
Again, I hope to see you tomorrow at 7pm EST for the LIVE Launch Party. In the meantime, ONE more time, thank you for your support!
Want to know more? Great! Go to Barnes & Noble and pre-order my book today or wait until tomorrow to buy it on Amazon.