What methods of teaching will be employed?
There are various themes in pedagogy that cater to different types of learner so classes should do their best to reflect these types in the classroom.
There should be a division between lectures and seminars/lab work, or theory and practice/debate. This means information is distributed en mass initally and the discussed in smaller groups for clarification.
As stated earlier (e8) students who are proficient in a topic, mitosis for example, should be able to help assist teaching those of a lower level covering that subject. By explaining a topic one comes to understand it better.
Each high level student will have a mentor he can refer or defer to in times of need and have dialogues with. A mentor must be at least a number of grades above the student.
E-learning will be progressively worked on as will videos created to explain all topics in the subject, complete with questions to assess comprehension and open questions that students might consider writing experiments for, contemplate on or engage in dialogue about.
New methodologies of teaching should constantly be assessed and debated. Also all new members should have some exposure to teaching seminars and lectures [not just participating].
[Note: In the years since I’ve written this the rise of MOOC’s and available resources for learning everything from code to languages has exploded across the internet, in this case these give the community nearly all the material required to created an extremely nuanced hierarchy of grades without lifting a finger. However, all free open projects should be given as much support as possible via the community to continually help and improve their services. I know these initial thoughts were written on buses and trains around town, each one of them could be the basis of whole books in themselves, however the good news is there is a huge wellspring of available resources now to help any community member learn an incredible amount even if they are the first in the community to express an interest in the field.]
What system of dialogue will be implemented?
The concern of a dialogue is not to win an argument but to forge a greater understanding of the matter being discussed. Aristotle described and classified 4 types of arguments didactic, dialectical, examination arguments and contentious arguments. It wasn’t until recently and Waltron’s research which modernized the thoughts behind dialogues (1998).
In the new dialectic an argument is always an argument “for a purpose” whether for one person or another’s benefit, each speaker may have a goal or motive.
Types of dialogue
|TYPE||INITIAL SITUATION||MAIN GOAL||PARTICIPANTS AIM
|Persuasion dialogue||Conflicting points of view||Resolution such problems by verbal means||Persuade the other(s) in the dialogue
|Negotiation||Conflict of interests and need for more cooperation||Making a deal||Get the best out of it for oneself
|Inquiry||General ignorance||Growth of knowledge and agreement||Find a proof or destroy one
|Deliberation||Need for action||Reach a decision||Influence outcome
|Information seeking||Personal ignorance||Spreading knowledge and revealing postions||Gain, pass on, show or hide personal knowledge
|Eristics||Conflict and antagonism||Reaching a, provisional, accommodation in a relationship||Strike the other party and win in the eyes of onlookers.
The system used in the community will usually be an inquiry, persuasion or information seeking dialogue. To make it easier to tell when a dialogue has started key phrases might be worthwhile idea like “So we are discussing X now correct?” I need more research into dialogues before I write more entries.
[note: Dialogues are a form of discussion, not necessarily a debate, they were used as a teaching and reasoning method for thousands of years before falling out of vogue in recent times. The idea of discussing a principle with structured debate not just speaking louder or interrupting is a sorely required skill in the modern era. Remaining calm, noting logical fallacies in other arguments and our own is fundamental. It is especially useful in a community that actively seeks to improve itself, and where everyone should be able to voice an opinion.]
What fields of science, technology and education will the community endorse?
Due to primarily working on a practical development, skills and reasoning platform, there will initially be a focus on the areas of science, research and engineering (computer/electrical). With a broad base of the basic sciences mathematics and logical reasoning. Ultimately, the community should endorse, teach and promote all the legitimate forms of science and even assess the claims of things considered pseudo-sciences as well.
Initially the organisation will be small and this so this may result in certain certain subject or entire departments having only one person. In time these will fill to reasonable sizes and have more members to spread the duties among, the more time can be dedicated to unique and specialist areas.
There should be a special interest in promoting programming and computer science skills to every member as the ability to develop software is useful in almost any scientific discipline.
[note: computer science skills should also be taught as they should be the bread and butter skill of the community, allowing the community to work en mass on projects to improve them imagine having 5000 community members working on improving a project like Ubuntu or LibreOffice and the amazing strides those projects could make with simple bug fixes being implemented.
What types of research will the community endorse?
As long as the research does not go against the ethical oath [e57] of the community it should be allowed. Initially there will be limitations of scale and time constraints, represented disciplines e.t.c. But personal research should be given as much autonomy as possible. When it comes to resource usage, available equipment or problems of costs, there must be a meeting with the head of the relevant departments to request a loan, grant or new equipment. A project requirements document is needed [e62]. Conversely while projects can be endorsed that tackle similar subjects there is a focus on collaboration, so having 3 people doing the same thing seems like a waste. There should be a clear database of projects that are currently in progress to avoid such problems (or at least a list of projects internal to the country not including others).
[note: Massive projects and subjects require hundreds of concurrent teams collaborating, projects can also be approached from a number of novel angles. We could take cancer cure research or A.I as two examples where there are a vast variety of methods being applied to try and discover the best way to solve the problem. Similarly pure research into subjects such as climate change have thousands of teams researching a whole host of elements, while two teams doing precisely the same thing is not useful (unless of course there are multiple teams working on replicating research for peer review) there are a number of reasons that multiple avenues of research may run in parallel.
The database of current projects though is a great idea, more than this a list of potential project or research ideas could be added to the list allowing people to browse research that is considered open for review or investigation.]
What methods of self promotion or publicity will the community employ? There are three reasons, which immediately occur to me, to publicise oneself; reason one, is to find new members; the second is to find work and the third is to let people know what services you offer.
Secondary reasons are that such publicity can help correctly tell society who we are and what our motivations are.
As mentioned in previous entries it is necessary that we interact with the local community this word of mouth and actively approaching organisations is in itself a form of promotion. Offering cheap services to businesses and open source solutions to local administration and civil institutions, or simply providing free supplementary teacher aids to teach subjects like science, computing or debating skills, allowing the public to be members of the community dojo e.t.c. All of the above will be methods to promote the community.
Active ventures will include stalls at career days for colleges and universities showing people and the alternatives to the traditional systems. Conferences on subjects to engage the public interest writing peer reviews for the scientific community or a free science column for local newspapers.
Essentially, promotion should not be done simply for the sake of promotion or self praise, but should occur out of genuine effort to help the general public and offer advice, education and help.
[note: since I wrote this in a book over 2 years ago, I have been struggling to create a language school, learning a great deal about promotion, sales, attracting attention and all that implies. While this the core reason I haven’t been writing up my community notes I realise how naïve I was when I wrote the above. It is an incredibly difficult process to sell something new to the public. This doesn’t negate what I said, public promotion selling our services and reaching out to the public is necessary but a solid plan of how to do that is very necessary. Also any teacher help, courses and writing science columns would only be accepted once the community has managed to establish itself as a reliable organisation without an agenda.]
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.]
On the previous post 99 I have had a few extra thoughts
There are times in extreme situations when this [following the laws of the host country] may cause a conflict of interest, take for example, a woman who was beheaded for practising witchcraft in Saudi Arabia, this followed the laws of the nation, and as such quite rightly caused international condemnation. How can one blithely say “follow the host countries rules without question”.
Similarly, what to do if a community member is called out as being a witch or sentenced in such a way? Or if a corrupt government or Nazi like dictatorship demands the community to obey oppressive, unethical rules.
In fact it may not even need to be that extreme what if a person arrives at the door begging for sanctuary because they are to be married against their will, or a minor who is experiencing abuse, an outspoken reporter who has been found to spread information about his corrupt government.
It would be simple to say; this is unlikely, this probably won’t occur but that would shy away from the simple question.
I am writing Exploration II which covers more of these moral ambiguities and questions of conflicts of state corruption vs. community ethics. Suffice to say I realise this is a complex issue and Exploration I is only intended as an initial foray into the concept of the community. It was never designed to cover every detail.