"Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things."--Jefferson

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Master Class

PRINCIPLE: The youth, having acquired the skills in different areas, are now ready to actively participate in their education, and apply it in a world-changing way.  They have learned about the world and its needs, true principles for human interaction, and ways to creatively try to solve problems.  These come together as they discuss great works of literature, debate, plan, and learn in an intense environment.  I see this as a three hour discussion/experience at least, whether it is once a week, or once a month.

With a Master class, it is difficult to be specific. It is an intense one-on-one mentoring experience with a mentor for the youth, surrounded by others who are passionate and ready to do something with their knowledge.  Ideally, a few mentors need to be involved: a speech one to help with oral presentations and simulation feedback; a writing one to give feedback on writing style, efficacy, etc; and then a main one who is the main mentor for the class. This can rotate from week to week if it is based upon the lens, or month to month, if it is a once a month class where the principles of the month are shared.  Other mentors can be brought in according to the needs of the youth in the group.  Guest presenters or outside-class mentoring experiences (like a field trip) would also be very effective. (For instance, on mentor arranged for the youth in her group to get trained in CPR.)

The following is an idea for the format if the Master class was once a month:

-As much as the individual lenses apply to the book or article of the month, offer master-level inspirements that tie them together (i.e.  "The Count of Monte Cristo" the Master-level class; Europe Geography project--Draw a detailed map of the places mentioned in Monte Cristo)
-The youth will share briefly their projects in Core class

Master class itself: I would include some type of opening spiritual exercise--hymns, scriptures, devotional...however, I anticipate that, because the youth will have been educated to seek for the spiritual in their learning, that connections with scriptures and the spiritual will be a regular part of the discussion.

30-45 min:            Sharing time of master-level projects throughout month that don't directly relate 
                               to book
2-2 1/2  hours:      Begin immersion in book, article, or concept for the month.  Possible 
                               approaches:(with break, as necessary)
        -pre-assigned oral presentation or essay: share and present--discuss, give feedback, evaluate

        -simulation based upon book: i.e.  The Count is on trial: have a jury, prosecutor, judge, and defending lawyer present, first, the crimes he is accused of, and then determine if he is guilty of them or not.

        -hand's on activity of recreating the Chateau D'If (?) and possible escape routes

       -brainstorm mentors/people that remind them of the old fellow in the prison...write letters to them to have them present to their group in the upcoming months, or plan on visits to see them

       -Explore and discuss the penal system of various countries.  Determine what they can do to help, correct, or compliment  these systems.

       -Evaluate the justice system of the United States and compare it to the case of the Count.  Schedule a field trip to watch a court in session and draw comparisons and conclusions.

30-45 minute wrap-up: Decide on action to do during next month, either based upon book, or based upon a massive service project for the summer that they are deciding upon.  For instance, they could decide to schedule a field trip to the courthouse, and then brainstorm about possible areas for service around the world.  

Application is a huge part of this level.  They need to do something with what they are learning.  I think it would be powerful for them to not only have "smaller" projects that are specifically book based, but also plan through-out the year on how to put together a summer service project, either locally or in other parts of the world.

For instance,
Sept: Each participant share with the others at least 2-5 video presentations and articles about service groups or people doing service around the world online the week before class the first time you meet (to give everyone time to review them) Discuss in class which ones impressed them, what they liked and didn't like about them.  Have everyone select one they would like to contact and find out more about for the next month, or come up with a new plan of action inspired by them or their own ideas to bring back next month and report on.

Oct: Review people's plans of actions...discuss feasibility (cost, time frame, etc.) and narrow it down to two or three.  Make committees for each one, making lists of action that would need to happen to make it come to pass to bring for next month.

Nov:  Determine which project they are going to move forward with and get things like sponsors, fundraising, and timing planned out, delegated, and committed to.

The succeeding months will be assignments come up with by the group, by themselves, to make it happen.  Vision will be essential (along with a refresher about "team building dynamics"--excitement to frustration to discouragement to determination to success!), so a monthly "shot-in-the-arm" of vision (ideally supplied by the youth, taking turns perhaps?) would be helpful.

Good summer reads to prepare for this class would be "Do Hard Things," "The One Minute Manager" (formerly part of the 5 Pillar reading, now replaced with "The One Minute Teacher"), and "TJEd for Teens."

I feel that inspiration and synergy will be critical for the efficacy of this class, and that will be unique to the groups involved.  This is meant to be an intense class--to push scholars and challenge them.  If they are ready for the Master class, they will be ready for this.  Do not be limited by adult's perceptions of limitations.  The youth will rise to it.  The DeMilles stress the necessity for individualization of education: "Even in Scholar phase, they (the youth) only enter a proram at their own choosing and or a relatively short time period.  Overall, their entire education is personalized." (Leadership Education, pg 162)
EXAMPLE: Independent Project
Here is an example of a group in a public school that has a lot of great ideas for mentoring and is a great example of the synergy and excitement that can be generated in such a group.
The Independent Project  (One lady in it said that every group that does this will take on a different look and a different feel...amen!)  Obviously, this is a group that gets together daily, so it works a little differently, but something to get ideas from!
They have a blog similar to what some Vanguard groups have started to post ideas and work on.  Check it out! :)  I would recommend having your master-level youth look at this before planning out their year.  Start with one plan and don't be afraid to re-evaluate and tweak it!

An example of a master class can be taken from my own experience:
Tova and I were able to sit down in December of 2012 and really look at what she wanted to do and accomplish. We essentially had a Master class as she took everything to a deep level of understanding, knowing she would have time sufficient in class to share and use all that she learned. 

She made powerpoints, Jeopardy games for topics, studied Latin, taught from youth Leadership books (TJEd for Teens, 7 Habits of Teens) and read the books on the TJEd for Teens list that she wanted to catch up on. We continue to follow the 7 month principle outline, as always, and it has been AMAZING to see the connections Tova is now making in her reading and as we talk about things we see in society.

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