Fish is Fish: a world view

22 September, 2015
  • 2 min read
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At the moment I am following a Master in Education. One interesting story I found is a nice metaphor that I feel helps us become better educators and/or people. The children's book 'Fish is Fish' (Lionni, 1970) illustrates how people construct new knowledge based on their current knowledge. Everyone views the world from what they know already.

"'Fish is Fish' describes a fish who is keenly interested in learning about what happens on land, but the fish cannot explore land because it can only breathe in water. It befriends a tadpole who grows into a frog and eventually goes out onto the land. The frog returns to the pond a few weeks later and reports on what he has seen. The frog describes all kinds of things like birds, cows, and people.

The book shows pictures of the fish’s representations of each of these descriptions: each is a fish-like form that is slightly adapted to accommodate the frog’s descriptions—people are imagined to be fish who walk on their tailfins, birds are fish with wings, cows are fish with udders. This tale illustrates both the creative opportunities and dangers inherent in the fact that people construct new knowledge based on their current knowledge.” (Bransford, 2003)

Hopefully this story makes you more aware of people having their own build-in reference on how they view the world. 

About the author

Anemoon Schepel

Anemoon is a lecturer, researcher and coach. She teaches classes on Marketing and Innovation, Hotel Operations, Information and Communication Management, but is currently specialising herself in education with her Master studies. She conducts research on internationalisation in education, where intercultural competence plays a big role.


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