To get my points across about work place attitudes, I used three children’s books for a talk to my class at the University of Latvia. As you know from my previous writing
.* I am continually impressed with the students’ very good work in using children’s books to underscore learnings from lectures and readings, to engage in teamwork and to facilitate creative expression
There were four steps in my attitudes exercise- Big Attitudes in Little Books:
1. Read out loud to your group (as in story time!) the assigned book. (each team had three or four copies of the assigned title.)
2. Discuss: What attitudes are in this book? Where do these attitudes come from? What is the key learning, the main take away, the “So what?”, the “Now what?” from this book?
3. Create: a page of your key finding – use markers and flip chart paper.
4. Present your group’s drawing to all.
Mon. Saguette and His Baguette. by Frank Asch.
Mon. Saguette is making soup? Sacre bleu! What is soup without bread? Buys baguette. “Help”, cries a little girl, get my cat down from the tree. He does with the baguette serving as ladder. A crocodile is about to eat a baby! Baguette props open croc’s jaws. No baton to lead the parade? No problem... Ah, good soup as he eats the bread. And, then, wasting nothing, he feeds the crumbs to birds.
Not only is Mon. Saguette resourceful, he remains cheerful and unflappable throughout. When faced with a challenge, humorously presented, he does not fall down and gnash his teeth in despair. Au contraire, he smiles and waves his baguette at the problem. Zoot! His is a mind set and attitude that creatively uses existing resources to meet new or unexpected needs.
My Latvian students’ graph outdoes any to be found in MBA program readings. As you can see, the baguette, adorned with Mr. Saguette’s sunny-attitude achievements, points upward as his “Positiveness” and “Active-ness” come into play. Positiveness is defined as helpfulness, kindness and happiness. The more positive action, the better the attitude (as symbolized by the baguette), and the more influential that attitude becomes. Taking action to help others only enhances a positive attitude. By itself, we may feel kindly to our beaming self-image, but that feeling of bonhomie is wasted until we help others, until we share our positiveness.
Terrific by Jon Agee.
Free vacation? Terrific (sarcasm)! I’ll probably get sunburn! The cruise ship sinks, leaving Eugene on an island. Terrific, I’ll be eaten by cannibals, he worries. Nobody there but a parrot. What good’s a parrot? asks glum Gene.
Through a series of adventures the two become friends.
Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins.
Two wooden dolls, a boy and a girl, with an assortment of wooden blocks.
They build a house, each doing his or her fair share. Fire erupts, an alarm. They refigure blocks to put out the fire, losing some, but not all. After several more challenges to their resourcefulness, the book concludes with a happy ending and a new home. Key point: Each cloud has its gold (silver) lining! A friend can help us see that more positive side of a disaster.
The book is about being resourceful and inventive, theirs is a can-do, positive attitude. They do not stop and wait for rescue, they use what they have. Challenges are overcome by reconfiguring literally; both people survive, and appear the better for it.
*I owe much to Frances Yates for the concept of using children’s literature to teach management. My adaptation is based on her presentation at the 2010 ALA conference in Washington DC.