Of Education, Fishbowls, and Rabbit Holes
Rethinking Teaching and Liberal Education for an Interconnected World

Foreword by Dawn R. Person
Paper: 978 1 62036 420 8 / $22.50
Published: February 2016  

Cloth: 978 1 62036 419 2 / $95.00
Published: March 2016  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 62036 421 5 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: February 2016  

E-Book: 978 1 62036 422 2 / $17.99
Published: February 2016  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
140 pp., 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
figures & boxes
This book questions some of our most ingrained assumptions, not only about the nature of teaching and learning, but about what constitutes education, and about the cultural determinants of what is taught.

What if who you think you are profoundly affects what and how you learn? Since Descartes, teachers in the Western tradition have dismissed the role of self in learning. What if our beliefs about self and learning are wrong, and relevance of knowledge to self actually enhances learning, as current research suggests?

Jane Fried deconstructs the Grand Western Narrative of teaching and learning, describing it is a cultural fishbowl through which we see the world, rarely aware of the fishbowl itself, be it disciplinary constructs or the definition of liberal education.

She leads us on a journey to question “the way things are”; to attend to the personal narratives of others from ethnic, racial and faith groups different from ourselves; to rediscover self-authorship as the core task of learning in college; and to empower ourselves and students to navigate the disorientation of the Alice in Wonderland rabbit holes of modern life.

This is a book for all educators concerned about the purpose of college and of the liberal arts in the 21st century, and what it is we should reasonably expect students to learn. Jane Fried both upends many received ideas and offers constructive insights based on science and evidence, and does so in an engaging way that will stimulate reflection.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: Themes, Terminology, and Reader Engagement

1 Teaching, Learning, and Storytelling
2 Life Beyond the Fishbowl: The Grand Narrative, Academic Disciplines, and Deep Learning
3 Everybody Learns, Some Teach
4 Entr’acte: Is “Teach” a Transitive Verb?
5 Self-Authorship: A New Narrative of Learning
6 Professional Boundaries and Skills: Searching for Meaning Is Not Counseling
7 Curriculum, General Education, and the Grand Narrative
8 Assessment: Documenting Learning From Alternate Perspectives--Peter Trioano

Conclusion . . . Well, Maybe Not

Appendix A: Working in Groups and Facilitating Discussions
Appendix B: Contemplative Methods for Classroom Use


About the Authors


Sample: Preface

Reviews & Endorsements:
“Fried calls for a reevaluation of higher education in America in light of our evolving, high-speed world. She supports her arguments by explaining the history of current educational practices which are primarily grounded in the mid-nineteenth century. The author uses a fishbowl metaphor to describe [a] limited perspective [that] reinforces the outdated structures of teaching and learning that render college classrooms lifeless and disconnected from the real world.

Fried makes a critical point pertaining to how students learn and make meaning. She contends that human beings are self-organizing organisms who construct their knowledge in a particular and personal way. Hence, she calls for a redefinition of the concepts of learning and teaching based on the latest neuroscientific findings about how humans learn. Aligning these two fundamental processes in the classroom would, she argues, solve the current problem in higher education wherein ‘somebody teaches but nobody learns’.

This inclusive approach to education validates diverse ways of knowing and activates, awakens, and cultivates a sense of agency within all children. Active, engaged students who own their learning ask questions, seek answers, and develop intellectually to see the interrelation and interdependence between themselves and the world. This is the type of teaching Fried is calling for at the university level.

Fried’s book is a quick and easy read. Throughout the text, the reader is asked to stop and reflect on a variety of issues. Her ultimate challenge to educators is to reexamine teaching methods, broaden overall perceptions of education, and realize that learning is grounded in autobiographical issues. Approaching the concept of schooling from this perspective is vital in the 21st century.”
- Teachers College Record
“All I want to say is thank goodness for Jane Fried!

I just read her book titled Of Education, Fishbowls, and Rabbit Holes: Rethinking Teaching and Liberal Education for an Interconnected World. Don’t let the long title deter you from this compact gem at just 100 pages. I am thankful for Jane Fried because she has discovered what my personal experience and the science of learning indicate is the truth about how real and deep learning occurs and, most importantly, she is determined to help the rest of us understand it.

[This] book speaks to faculty directly about their assumptions based on how they were taught and learned and how their world view influences how they see students and how they teach. By another name, Jane Fried is still working to help educators understand that there has to be a paradigm shift. She makes concrete recommendations about how faculty who teach undergraduates can do so more effectively. True to how we learn, throughout the book, she asks the reader to stop reading to do some exercises and reflections in order to move beyond learning “about” teaching effectively and to begin to understand how learning occurs through their own experience and reflection.

I will continue to read whatever Fried writes because it takes a while to unlearn what and how we have been taught and to shift our perspective in how we see the world.

Thank you, Jane, for continuing to move classroom faculty and student affairs professionals toward understanding how students learn in order to be more effective educators.”
- Gwen Dungy in her “About Students…” blog