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Fish Out of Water

Mentoring, Managing, and Self-Monitoring People Who Don't Fit In

For anyone who doesn’t “fit in,” this book offers survival strategies for managing the dynamics of difference and mentoring others who are targeted because they are different.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781506303024
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2016
  • Page Count: 256
  • Publication date: April 07, 2016

Price: $30.95

Price: $30.95
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Sometimes people just don't fit in. They may not be a member of the dominant group; they may not have figured out the norms of the dominant culture, or members of the dominant culture may not realize that the organization's culture is marginalizing. As advocates for social justice it is important to notice and teach the cultural codes – the house rules – that contribute to success in a particular environment, and to dismantle the codes within those environments that target, marginalize or exclude. This book is helpful for

  • Managers who are working to create and sustain a healthy organization culture
  • Mentors of children who are targeted by their peers or other adults
  • People who want to make a difference in their environment and have not yet figured out the rules for doing that

What People are Saying

“Fish Out of Water is a great resource for navigating ponds that suffocate the marginalized with dominant norms and values. Linking Cultural Proficiency to decoding an environment provides more tools for code switching, code sharing, and conversations about making students and families feel welcomed, included, and safe in our schools.”
—Angela Ward, Office of Cultural Proficiency & Inclusion
Austin Independent Schools, TX

“This book made me think. It is a courageous attempt at the difficult subject of who ‘doesn't fit’ into the spaces and places we inhabit—and why. But the most valuable part of this book is that it describes what we can do about making our schools, workplaces, and communities more inclusive, and ultimately more effective.”
—Nicki King, Reducing Mental Health Disparities Project
University of California, Davis

Key features

(1) Provides a fresh perspective on diversity and inclusion by addressing both those who fit within the mainstream culture and the "fish out of water" who must navigate an environment that is not yet ready or able to embrace them.

(2) Explicitly addresses the tools of code-switching -- an important survival mechanism for managing the dynamics of difference -- in the context of culturally-proficient organization.

(3) Addresses the needs of both adults and children who don't fit the norms of the dominant culture.

(4) Includes compelling vignettes that chronicle the lives and experiences of fish out of water who have learned to survive and thrive in schools and other organizations.

(5) Each chapter includes self-assessments and personal inventories


Kikanza Nuri-Robins photo

Kikanza Nuri-Robins

Kikanza Nuri-Robins helps people to close the gap between what they say they are and what they actually do. Whether she is in a corporate boardroom, the fireside room of a retreat center, or a convention center auditorium, Kikanza uses her skills and insights to help people and organizations that are in transition – or ought to be. She shares her observations and recommendations with clarity and candor, while gently encouraging them to face the difficult situations that challenge their skill sets and their values. She leads people to this growing edge with unswerving focus, an understanding heart, and laughter that rises from the seat of her soul.

Since 1978, Kikanza has worked as an organizational development consultant in a variety of settings includ­ing education, health care, criminal justice, and religion, focusing on leadership development, change management, and cultural proficiency. Her clients range from school districts, to university faculty, to government offices and non-profit organizations. The connecting thread is her passion for working with people who want to making a difference for others.

Kikanza studied at Occidental College, the University of Southern California, and the San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is the author of many articles and five books, including: Cultural Proficiency and Culturally Proficient Responses to the LGBT Communities. Kikanza lives in Los Angeles where she spends her discretionary time as a textile artist.

Lewis Bundy photo

Lewis Bundy

Lewis Bundy has spent his career working for social justice. He has been a teacher, an administrator, a community organizer and a desegregation consultant. As an organization development consultant, he has provided training and technical assistance to a number of educational and non-profit agencies. Beginning his career as a middle school teacher in East Palo Alto, his focus has been on helping teens and young adults develop the skills to become highly functioning citizens, and helping the adults who work with them to respond appropriately to their needs.

Lewis retired from higher education having served as Director of Student Services at Argosy University in Alameda, California and Assistant Vice President for Student Services at Alliant International University, following a long successful tenure as Director of Academic Services at San Jose State University. His experiences also include: Director of Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and oversight of TRIO programs, Program Manager for a School Desegregation Assistance Center at Far West Regional Laboratory, Mental Health Association administration and board member for various community organizations.

Lewis received a BA from Occidental College, MA in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University and pursued additional graduate studies at UCLA. He and his wife live in Oakland, CA, where he is the father of four amazing women and four extraordinary grandchildren. He spends most of his discretionary time with his family or in his shed, and plays golf whenever, and wherever, he can.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

We Wear the Mask Poem

Foreword by Terry Cross


About the Authors


1. Who Are the Fish Out of Water?

2. What Is Code Switching?

3. What Is Cultural Proficiency

4. How Fish Out of Water Are Marginalized

5. The Consequences of Fitting In

6. From Code Switching to Code Sharing

7. Self-Monitoring When the Fit Is Not Right

8. Mentoring Kids Who Are Fish Out of Water

9. Managing Fish Out of Water

10. Managing the Environment

11. Leaving Well—Knowing When to Quit



Assessment Tools and Internet Resources

Videos and Teaching Guides

Fish out of Water in Literature

Book Study Guidelines

Afterword - Jeanne and Gordy



Price: $30.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.