Pure Reason Inspiration! Apr 9, 2008 12:25:32 GMT
Post by hyperborean on Apr 9, 2008 12:25:32 GMT
I've been working on this paper for my Teaching Profession class this morning, and so far I've only just now finished the introduction... but it's a good introduction. And it was inspired by Pure Reason Revolution, by i. He Tried to Show Them Magic / ii. Ambassador's Return / iii. Asleep in Eidertown. Here you go, if you wish to see:
No Fear: Q-Learning in the tunnel of POMDP
“Nothing succeeds in which high spirits play no part. …such a destiny of a task compels one every instant to run out into the sunshine so as to shake off a seriousness grown all too oppressive.” – Frederick Nietzsche
What is success for the spirited student? Is it responsibility, like sport, for the goal of success to supercede the reward? Such responsibility, such seriousness is guaranteed indeed, designed to match a loser to every winner in contest; as such, it is a zero-sum success. And I find it hard to see that sort of success a realm of high spirits. Although one need not look that deep as the answer isn’t buried in the deep. Success? – it’s not even to be found in the shallows.* It is right on the surface, face to face, “Nothing succeeds in which high spirits play no part,” brings to mind some idea of success in which high spirits are at play. Then the kind of success one might feel some responsibility for, is therefore a spirit that, “compels one every instant to run out into the sunshine…” Before I examine the interplay of these thoughts on the responsibility of educators and the success of students in a modern article, I would like to continue this examination of spirit in the form of a short parable:
Ultimately he was found outside. On every sunny day he was caught there, just walking around the sunlit schoolyard, far from where class was held. We wondered: what was this student going to learn out there? Nothing, we feared. Nothing to raise his grades, and that would make it harder for him to be incorporated back inside the classroom. The entire faculty was aware; that out there all the student would learn was not to look directly at the sun. This they feared because we saw him do just that, appearing to focus on just that section of the sky. And as decision makers, we knew, we must provide the student a better way.
Hence with the intention of bringing his attention back to where class was held, we gave him detention. All day he sat, while the sun shown brightly outside was just beyond the blinds. In detention, we are sure; he was waiting for someone to turn off the lights, so he could go outside and be with the bright blue sky. Surely, that was not his responsibility, and we are responsible to this day to make that lesson quite clear. No one asked him why he was out there in the first place, because his irresponsibility is in esse the causa sui of his action. He was never meant to be out there in the first place, and that day, in the dim detention center he was shown the light.
The last proof of his existence was this evidence, on a piece of paper that fell from his desk as he left, he wrote, “What am I doing here?” Fellow students and friends say that later, the student would be at home and in bed – a restless night for such a patient knight. He must have dreamt of alienation, awfully worried. Was he no longer wanted at school? And no longer given respite at home? Despite this worry, our patience had past. Today just as that night, we can confirm that where his actions converged with the conviction to escape from class, as it happened so many times, our policy was thus; to provide indefinite detention until the students’ attention was turned back where class was held.
That morning a ransom note was given and received by a secretary in a sad state. Her mourning had explained one of the students had been taken away, stolen, and the only demand was that, “…all payment being made to the principal will be given to the students in stead, that payment to the principle is to be shared, all in all.” Spoken word of the stolen student spread like creeping fire, intense and in control of the attention of the whole student body. And without rest from this consumptive, it was too soon that other students who were being given detention were also going missing, leaving similar notes, yet none knew who was responsible. We decided whoever demanded such a strange reward for ransom could not be serious. Despite this, the students were nevertheless absent indefinitely. The danger was apparent, a parent threatened to take her child to another school. What were we to do? Where would we go, to be safe from this nightmare? We gathered far from the sun, where the solution could attract our attention; it was deep in the complex apparatus of the problem.
So, on we went underground! To hold all classes in the tunnel underground that connected the grade school to the middle to the high school. It was perfect: the same standard was incorporated throughout the whole environment; the student body was no longer separated by inconsistent and unmanageable affairs of various competing members. Teachers were given spotlights to direct their classes, in the dark down there. Their responsibility was never clearer; like the predominance of cornea that protects the eye, even as the iris takes a new shape when it has to narrow or widen the pupil, to allow enough light to travel through to form an image in the retina. The teachers could teach what was needed to be taught without interference. And the students would perform exactly as they needed to match the standards at best.
Now no student would be able to get up and walk away in the middle of class, no one would be taken away by the everlasting gaze of the Sun outside on a picturesque day. Not one student was replaced by a ransom note this way, and so on. Soon the student body became accustomed to their new environment, attuned to the tunnel. The student body was daily lined up against the wall, with spotlights shined on them, so they could always study their shadows and learn from their mistakes. The student body learned to perform well this way. No one questioned, “What am I doing here?” anymore. And soon the ransom nightmare was over. Success was destined for us, finally. The decision makers never had to punish anyone ever again, for no one - not even the slower learning members of the student body who were given their appropriate place in the tunnel – for no one was out of place. It was just the way they learned from now on; in the tunnel, where class was held indefinitely.