On being a teacher

I have to to say if you had asked me 3 years ago what I would be doing now the answer would not have been sitting in a office in France preparing to start an English lesson. It’s  a strange life and I’m not sure now what that means I’ll be doing in another 3 years.

In many ways that’s scary, in many more ways it’s exhilarating, intriguing and motivating. I would never have believed I could be good at English grammar until I had to teach it for thousands of hours, my grammar has always been abysmal. I would never have believed I could live in a foreign country for over 2 years, or speak a foreign language until I had too.

Being a teacher is probably not the career I will follow until the grave but it will always be a part of me, and through teaching I have learnt me a great deal about how we learn, about peoples temperaments, about language, culture and how we approach problems. Not to mention I can now speak happily in front of groups of people manage time a little better and generally I’m more confident when it comes articulating my ideas.

Not to mention all the time I’ve had to write up my various thoughts and clarify what I believe in life and what I want to be in the future.

It’s strange how unexpected events lead to better situations even if they seem at first to be a mistake or a problem, it’s all about framing I guess. Now I’m working seriously on my French, getting my fitness back to a good level and returning to programming.

I can’t wait to see where and what I’ll be doing in 3 years time :).

Exploration I


What are the systems of hierarchy and methods of decision making?

The community will be divided into general disciplines or fields of study. Much of the overall system can be taken from existing university structures. Students defer to a teacher or mentor who defers to a department head, who in turn defers to a committee or a faculty leader. Some temporary or oversight committees will be formed by use of a random ballot of all full-time members.

Elected administration officials will hold controlling poitions for the period of time dictated in the initial constitution. When dividing into different people into separate subjects this should be done with great care and should not isolate subjects or members completely from each other. Evolutionary theory and programming can be very inter-related not to mention physics and chemistry, art and biology etc.

Decisions where practical should always be contestable by a dialogue in a public forum once the motion has been overturned or won however the decision should be gracefully accepted until new facts have been found to bear on the case in dispute.

Exploration I


What are the rules and regulations of the community?

While a full transcript of the rules should be decided by a committee of the initial members, essentially it should cover the ethical oath of your initial entry, the principal routines during the day of the members. The balance of hours between individuals; work, chores and duties, learning, training and teach, relaxing, reflecting leisure and the assignment of tasks.

The document should also cover inappropriate behaviour but should more generally state what is good and assume a certain level of individual responsibility and cognisance of what is inappropriate or morally wrong . All interactions should stem from respect, patience and responsibility.

Finally, the document should clearly state all the positions within the community, the methods of electing such people, those who are permitted to vote and the powers invested in each station and the procedures for making amendments to the original document.

[note: I know essentially this describes a constitution but I obviously wasn’t thinking about it at the time, it borders on a semi-political / ethical document that describes and enforces the ideals of the community.]


Exploration I


What do members do?

Primarily, members research, study, teach and practise their skills as much as possible. On top of this they will have additional duties for the benefit of the community as a whole and physical and mental training as part of their daily routines.

Duties will comprise of community chores like farming, laundry, lab work, cooking. Elected duties such as administrating departments, regulatory matters, community decisions and contractual duties – using ones skills for external groups, peer reviews of studied papers, working on community software and open source educational tools.

There should be a balance between reason, aesthetic and physical conditioning to create well balanced individuals.

[note:These ideas are developed much more in later posts, including specialised positions and methods of electing officials etc.]

Exploration I


What is the purpose of the community?

This has been covered in numerous past entries, however there is no single use to a multi-tool. But the more these entries are written the more the purpose has evolved. From being prepared -> providing for the community -> helping those organisations that currently exist through our expertise.

Thus we can help the world via the frameworks that currently exist, alongside our own contributions. The ultimate aim is to reduce the suffering of the world and that of future generations.

Life Writing

Disaster ahead in Egypt?

So, Mohammed Mursi has been declared the winner of Egypt’s presidential election run-off. He was a long standing member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical hard line Islamic group who want to apply sharia law on a national and preferably a global one I imagine.

I did say “he was” as since as he became president of Egypt, he has left the group and there is some hope as he is US-educated engineering professor who taught at Zagazig University. I just hope that he leaves religion at the door of politics and tries to build a gender equal, free Egypt that was what the spirit of the people who initially rose up intended.

Though the ruling military and the judiciary have constrained Mr Morsi’s power by dissolving the Islamist-led parliament and restricting his authority over national security matters, he is still a force to be reckoned with.

I can’t say how this will all turn out but I think of the hard line people who helped Mr Mursi achieve power and I can’t believe with him having left that it will really be that simple. Expect to see a snowballing campaign of hatred against the millions of non-muslims and a slow but sure erosion of women’s rights.

I would be over-the-moon happy to be proved wrong but somehow I seriously doubt that will be the case.

Exploration I


Why use dialogue between members?

Dialogue is not an open conversation it is a formal discussion between groups or individuals with the intention to teach, learn or evaluate what is being suggested. In many schools students would memorise notable dialogues that perfectly explained or clearly identified a particular subject. The reason for using them in the community is to keep alive the idea of clear logical reasoning and debate, this also prepares the student to be use logical steps to draw conclusions from facts.

The other idea is to give a method of individual teaching create a framework to allow disagreements between members in a civil manner.

[note: I wrote and read a lot more later on dialogue and dialectic methods so I know this isn’t exactly a clear description of why we should use them, or even what dialogues truly are, it’s true that dialectic and dialogues feed the minds ability to debate and reason arguments, the noting of fallacies etc. are all good reasons to have at least a broad understanding of the discipline, but I wrote more on the subject later.]

Exploration I


Why prepare for any situation?

To be ready when life demands it is far preferable to arriving in a situation you could (or worse should) be capable of managing or dealing with but instead find yourself led by the events around you. Dealing with a roadside accident, running to reach the bus to make a deadline, planning ahead for difficult days, using consistent effort to achieve a goal as opposed to rushing the end, delivering live saving CPR to a stranger.

Furthermore, the community is designed to provide for and help the next generation, in this regard they must create worst-case scenarios or predictable disasters and either safeguard against them or have a response planned; From the ultimately predictable ‘global warming, lack of drinkable water, lack of sustainable energy sources, reliance on fossil fuels to the possible disasters of disease, flood, earthquakes it’s necessary to think of ways of how to deal with them or aid countries effectively and quickly when these things occur.

Being prepared starts with the individual being able to be fit, strong and healthy enough and well informed enough to act when it is required. The organisation can be thought of an act as a unit prepared unit constantly looking at its resources both physical and experience to prepare for any contingency.

Random Links

Landing on Mars

I always knew that landing on Mars would be not only difficult but one of man kinds greatest challenges, I’m impressed they’ve worked it out, I believe you have to have boulder sized balls made of granite to be the one to go through with it.

7 minutes of terror


Poll choose my 30 day challenge

Inspired by Matt Cutts‘ video on 30 day challenges I thought I would attempt to do something challenging for 30 days. In a slightly different shift I decided rather than pick a challenge for myself I’d leave it up to my friends because.. Well… what could possibly go wrong with that?!

Firstly we’ll pick from my list but if you have better suggestions for tasks comment and when I complete this challenge we’ll put your suggestions on a list and see what I have to do then…

Give me a challenge; Choose a task or undertaking that I have to uphold for 30 consecutive days!

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