Upholding Obamacare means young people now get to learn what its like to pay for everyone else’s healthcare and not just their Social Security now. Maybe this is why we don’t teach them math skills, so that they dont understand what we are doing to them
Obama is willing to use Reagan for his own purposes when appealing to the moderate Right, but when the Brits offer a tribute to Reagan on Independence Day (remarkable maturity by the Brits dont you think?!), our ambassador, who’s chief qualification is his effectiveness as a fund-raiser, can’t be found. His absence was both remarkable and noticed by the Brits who used to have a special relationship with us, you may recall. Keep burning bridges, partisan hacks. we need more friends, not less. We need to act like grown-ups when in power whichmeans acknowledging our entire legacy, much of which we inherit, good or bad, from those who come before.
pretty shabby. Hilary at least should know better. Maybe she does, and did this to further spike Obama?
I am naturally skeptical about charismatic leaders, but I have seen its power in action.
He spoke in a very relaxed manner, hardly the tone you might expect for a guy getting ready to take on the most politically sensitive mission around, one frought with peril, and which could go wrong in a thousand different, easily imaginable ways
It was surprisingly intimate moment, as he spoke humorously with and about his aide de camp and some of the other majors in his morning running group
he spoke frankly about the challenges ahead and the values we were going to use to see our way thru the fog and danger.
after about 10 minutes there was a palpable feeling that we were in good hands at the top and that we were going to prevail, and that if there a way thru the forest we were going to find it
it was the opposite of demagoguery, yet charismatic in its own way in that it was authentic, and appropriate and somehow “fit” who we all were at that moment in time
So, I am intrigued by charisma, where it comes from, how it works, why it works, and all that jazz
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Reflecting on self-directed leadership in a military college environment (an action research approach)
The purpose of this assignment is reflect upon my learning through this course and to describe what I am doing to provide for the development of leadership capabilities in those who look to me for direction and guidance. My professional work centers on preparing Army organizational leaders for a world of complexity and uncertainty, and specifically in designing a teachable curriculum that satisfies both the accreditation system and the needs of individual students and faculty. As a result of many cycles of action research involving a variety of stakeholders, I have been designing curriculum that seeks to maximize the opportunities for student and faculty Voice in all phases of the classroom experience, including: design, preparation, delivery, assessment and follow-through. Because the strategy represents a significant shift from the traditional methodology, I am finding many leadership challenges and opportunities throughout the program. I will explore a number of important themes and strategies in this paper.
Chaos and complexity theory point towards a need for multiple points of view and an accommodating culture and practice in order to account for uncertainty in the world. Leaders set the stage for an organization that seeks to thrive under these conditions and therefore become primary leverage points in setting the conditions for success. Because our students are not objects at a distance, not third-party objects of study but rather thinking, feeling human beings with insights and experiences and discretion, we have shifted our design team composition to include routinely groups of students in the form of focus groups and co-researchers in the action research tradition. Incorporating students in the design of lessons that will be taught that academic year represents a paradigm shift.
I am shifting our feedback system to incorporate more qualitative assessments from both faculty and students. This is a departure from our standard practice of relying exclusively on quantitative instruments. Our new feedback system for programmatic assessment is much more from the mixed methods tradition, which seems to me to be central in going forward in our efforts to understand and appreciate complexity. My intent is that the mixed methods approaches in the classroom will expose students and faculty to this methodology as a way to prepare them with a useful tool beyond the boundaries of the college environment.
I am systematically pursuing outreach and connections with faculty and curriculum designers from other teaching departments in order to establish a network-centric approach to integrated curriculum design. This is taking the form of a leaderless, self-directed workgroup, with group norms and processes emerging to take the place of formal assigned individual hierarchical leadership. This self-directed work group presents recommendations of consensus to the traditional leadership of the College and is proving to be more and more influential with each successful project.
Because collaborative and adaptive leadership represents a shift in the cultural and operational perspective of the college, students and faculty, it is necessary to build up a resource and reference base that can be used to justify and support our inquiries. We are building a set of wiki’s and blogs that are interactive in order to prepare for our new lineup of lessons, to support collaborative learning inside the lessons dynamically, to document the results of our in class inquiry and to expand the knowledge base both for future lessons and for the field force in general. There is evidence to show that our students and faculty are getting the hang of this technique. This is reshaping the way we approach lesson preparation and our resource base and it is carrying over into our distance learning and remote site teaching strategy. Remote site teachers now have access to our growing experience base on the wiki and blog and can use that in their classroom for air where they do not possess personal experience and expertise.
Finally, I am working with interested others in formalizing our new approaches into college policy and SOP in order to lock in our games in the college’s infrastructure. Without these changes, initiatives are only as enduring as the energy of the interested parties. By incorporating them into our explicit rules and policies, we can institutionalize changes and ratchet our way towards success.
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|Hadot’s thesis is that the ancient Greek philosophers understood philosophy to be a love of wisdom, He placed philosophers in a state of conscious striving, between the already realized perfect wisdom of the gods and the masses of unconscious humankind, unaware or unconcerned with arête (excellence). He examined how four schools and two refinements answered the three common elements of philosophical inquiry: physics, ethics and logic. Based on fundamental assumptions, rooted in values, each discipline defined the Good Life for their practitioners. The physics described the nature of reality, cause and effect, and situated man properly within the world. The ethics described the proper treatment of one’s fellow man. The logic provided a discursive structure of context, concepts and rules for dialogue.
Hadot convincingly demonstrates how the six disciplines shared two incommensurable perspectives: (1) that of philosophy-in-action, as a life lived, and (2) the philosophical discourse that critically analyzed the context, concepts and claims of the discipline’s tenets. After tracing how these two perspectives diverged in modern philosophy, Hadot argues that the ancients integrated them to understand and live the Good Life. I argue that this is as valid and important today. I adopt both perspectives to link personal reflections, Moodle discussions and my applications of these insights in my own life as an exercise of the ancient philosophers’ ask?sis (exercise) (Griffin, 2009, p.2).
Reflection: The practice of applied philosophical discourse.
The observation: Hadot says “ a dialogue is possible only if the interlocutors want to dialogue” (p.63). He describes the essential characteristics of a specifically philosophical discourse: neither imposes his truth on the other, but seeks rather to discover and understand himself through disinterested transcendence of personal perspective.
My reflection: the spirit of the philosophical discourse requires values of mutual trust and vulnerability; integrity in representing our position; humility and restraint in order to appreciate your partner’s position; critical thinking skills that deconstruct, analyze and synthesize the essential elements of the argument, and a respect for the nature of inquiry; the maturity to separate your Self from the argument that has been offered for examination.
Our discussion board: I offered a discursive opportunity on the subject of a sage who asserted that Silence is an appropriate technique when encountering critics. I proposed that this was the opposite of wisdom, arguing that it allows you to access wisdom of your own making, does not engage in open dialogue with respected others, and rejects the possibility of shared insights and mutual construction of new knowledge. I felt very disappointed that my offer to dialogue was not accepted but I publicly respected the decision. I also have observed another student’s best passionate efforts to push discourse to the forefront, often generating more heat than light, but with more success than I expected. It has become much clearer to me how important Hadot’s prescriptions for successful, responsible discourse are. It is a special form of discussion, whose nature must be explicit and intentional for both parties in order to engage fruitfully, since it approaches values and emotions that are at our very heart and soul.
I am developing formal materials to improve the critical thinking and discursive skills in our college, motivated by student interest and their assessed skill level in argumentation. I’ve helped develop the argumentative essay rubric I shared with group. I discovered convincing research demonstrating how “argument mapping” improves critical thinking skills. Its educational efficacy is so demonstrably superior to traditional means that I have started a campaign to discuss making major modifications to our core curriculum. Creating a rubric is discursive; using it is the practical application, thus closing Hadot’s loop.
My latest late night father-son discussions include the ingredients of discourse, particularly the respect for the Other and self knowledge through transcendence. In fact, the outline of this paper’s arguments emerged from the hot tub during one such heated discussion on the nature of Creationist “science”. My son was conflating positions on Creationist claims as science, with worth as human beings to society. Hadot helped me describe a reframing that he was able to see and accept without sacrificing his personal beliefs.
I critiqued Strunk & White’s formulaic advice in our first paper, and then disinterestedly applied their formulas to my critique, which measurably improved. This paper is better after re-writing. Writing is thinking, and thinking is hard. Transcending my own initial position has been fruitful and refreshing. I am better able to improve my positions without regret for revising my statements.
I expressed my frustration in the lack of discourse in Moodle with the professor, who guided me to think of ways to meet my needs in other ways. This has led me to continue to provide connections of our material to Chinese philosophical traditions (Confucius and the Legalists), insights from the Mahabharata (the epic story of Yudisthira’s principled rejection of Heaven) and the analogy of Hesse’s Glass Bead game in Magister Ludi as an example of discourse for discourse’s sake. I have been trying to improve the quality of my small group feedback, and taking on some essay critiquing outside of my small group.
Brief summaries of other reflections and applications.
I continue to grow in respect for the courage of my peers to push past their own boundaries. In particular, Mel is working hard on channeling her passion in new and constructive ways, reaching out to other cohorts to engage in discourse even when it’s not popular. That she can do this while double loaded with classes and in China is remarkable. Tamara continues to read deeply and express insights clearly and personally. Reviewing her comments about askesis made me think more deeply about that topic, which led me to this paper’s theme. Andy and Negar each are pressing on through the fog of finding researchable questions while pondering what can seem to be so abstract on the surface: ancient philosophy. I admire that they are asking for more and deeper critiques even when their plate is full.
Hadot’s treatment of the bifocal nature of meditation was a nice way for me to reconnect and synthesize my own experience of sitting meditation which in turn can be inwardly focused on your core being, and outwardly expanding in search of reconnecting with the unity of all things. His review of the various ancient Greek traditions and how this practice fits into a larger set of exercises was elegant.
The deep review of the six disciplines allowed me to reconnect their tenets with times and places in my life where I had been trying on all of their styles for fit. I have been at various times Socratic, Platonic, Aristotelian, Epicurean, Skeptic, Cynic, with an increasing predominance of Stoic throughout my military career. I sense a return of the Epicurean on occasion, as I follow my bliss more often these days with this program and with youth soccer.
I think Hadot, and this review of the principles of “principled discourse” will enable me to engage with both Fromm and Kuhn, about whom I have had well-developed positions, which I am now prepared to transcend to see what I may see.
Griffin, T. (2009). Ancient Philosophers, paper 2, MGM830, Colorado Tech.
Hadot, P. (2002). What is Ancient Philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard Univ Press.
Giving feedback about the paper is a way to show who you are and how much you care about the author.
Suppose, in your opinion, the author has made a glaring error in logic or has not supported the thesis, or mischaracterized an opposing view, and because you are concerned about hurting their feelings, you don’t say anything.
How are you helping them? By letting their paper out into the world?
If you were right about the paper, and didn’t tell them, shame on you.
If you were wrong about the paper, that should emerge in the continued dialogue between professionals and now you have a chance to sharpen your own tool. You miss that chance if you don’t CRITIQUE THE PAPER, NOT THE PERSON.
If you comment on the paper without regard for the human who offered their vulnerability, their knowledge, their insights, THEMSELVES to you, try remembering to walk a mile in their shoes and ask yourself, before sending, have I been fair? have I been constructive? What is the tone of voice I used?
If you would say things anonymously about the paper in a double blind, but not to their face, that says more about you than about the paper you are critiquing.
Envision the paper as it leaves their hand and lands on a community table of knowledge for consideration. Focus on the paper on the table, not the person who offered it. The paper is not the person; restrict yourself to examining what has been offered. Don’t assume you know anything about their feelings or how they might take it. They have offered a piece of academic writing. Your duty is to evaluate it academically, while remembering there is a person on the other end, eventually.
The author has given us all a gift. Respect the gift by giving it your best critique: with support, with care, with your best work. Respect the author for their gift and vulnerability. The critiques we offer are more important than anything we are likely to write on our own, and we will do a lot more of them than our own writing.
If you are an author, recognize the boundary between your Self and your paper. Be clear about what you are asking for when you offer it for review. If you want self-esteem more than honesty, you’ll get both, but not as you might want it.
Consider Socrates’ choice to join the army and constrain himself to the dicispline and regulations of the army in defense of Athens. he made a choice to submit to those constraints because he made a principled value judgment that it was worth giving up some of his freedom and comfort in support of a higher value for him: defense of Athenian democracy.
I dont equate a “philosophical life” with a life of complete autonomy and unlimited choice. The philosophica;l life is worthwhile precisely because it helps us make the tough tradeoffs in a way that are consistent with our values. Your decision to wear the uniform and accept the constraints allows you to support other values you place higher than the freedom to wear PJs.
You probably have decided that a choice to wear PJs might prohibit you from earning a living to supoprt your self and family and achieve other goals you value more than maximum comfort.
To me the philosophical life comes from a desire to live intentionally, to make choice son the basis of your own values, and not simply as an animal life form reacting instinctively and thoughtlessly to random environmental pressures. To live intentionally is to ask of your self, “which intentions?” and “what values?” and “what tradeoffs?” It is then fair to examine our decisions for consistency and integrity.
Principles mantter precisely because of the consequences they lead to. To select principles without consideration of the consequences begs the questions about the values that would allow such a decision.
Living a “full time philosophical life” in this schema, becomes an extraordnary effort: to live intentionally in all things?! and with consistency to set of carefully chosen and prioritized principles?! thats the work of a lifetime for sure, a worthy goal. Its an ideal that led the Stoics and the Buddhists to ask of themselves, each in their own way, what’s the difference between want and need? They came to different conclusions, as did the Epicureans etc but they all shared the goal of living the examined, consistent, intentional life.
Thanks for your patience to let me think out loud
What follows is a 1st person, stream of consciousness reflection written to my mentor & committee chair.
I describe what it was like to record a 10 min video “telling the story” of some preliminary findings emerging from my action research cycles into curriculum and adult learning.
It will be shown at an international conference in Athens, as part of the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) annual conference, as part of a bundle of reports from the Future(s) of Education project, an international participatory action research network.
i am just glad to get it out of my head
i had a real out of body experience recording that one;
i am a very effective briefer in person, because i can read the audience pretty well.
i have recorded hundreds of mini lectures etc for my business and for use here at the college on various topics.
i have never, ever needed more than a single take to record, decent and sometimes even inspired voice-overs until last night and that briefing.
I literally needed about 30 takes to get thru it; most i stopped when less than a minute into it because the tone just didn’t feel right
i think it has to do with being a fish out of water, and the difficulty i felt in trying to tune my story for an audience i couldn’t see, but more importantly didn’t have empathy for
because the audience characteristics still feel fuzzy to me, i couldn’t call up the right tone, voice, persona to apply
this caused me to have almost a split personality in the moment, when i am ordinarily dialed in
i had a “talking part” and a “look ahead part” that is concerned with shaping the transition to the next point/slide
but now i had a disconcerting 3rd part that was trying to anticipate the possible reactions of an unfamiliar, and hard to imagine audience
this is what made me feel so out of sorts
until i “wore out” the last, 3d part and was able to trust in just telling the story, and accepting the vulnerability of knowing that i couldn’t know the audience, i found i just couldn’t get thru it.
this is the same phenomenon I spoke with Prof Mike Wesch, the digital anthropologist at Kansas State University, and world thought leader on social dynamics in social media: the camera eye represents the unlimited, unfathomable infinite future of all possible audiences across time and space who can be looking in on the “telling moment”.
in a sense, its like coming face to face with the unblinking eye of God and wondering what she is thinking
it is trust that lets us get thru that moment, the accepting of vulnerability, that creates the empathy that hopefully fills the story, as told, with hope.
that’s a clumsy way of trying to express my meaning of the risk and vulnerability to “telling” and why it can be such a powerful learning moment, and why we need to model it, embrace it, encourage it, and support it.
Your “producer’s draft” was exactly what i needed to be able to get out of my own comfortable fishbowl;
you gave me a bridge to the audience that i could not create on my own.
this has become an interesting reflection to me already
please put the video on the website, and any or all of this reflection as you deem suitable
have a great time at the conference!
Who am I as an adult learner:
I am framing the answer within the context of my “Big 5” (Strelecky, 2007). The “Big 5” focus my thoughts about self, purpose, mission and values. In Strelecky’s work, the Big 5 are 5 things you want to accomplish in your life. My “Big 5” are all states of being, roles that I want to live with the highest quality (arête). My Biog 5 are: father, husband, teacher, student, warrior,
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: ENTJ I am getting closer to the “I” as I get older which moves me from “Leader” to “Scientist” in the typology. My scores are very high on the NT domain, which gives me a global, theoretical perspective. I notice that I am always searching for the broadest generalizations that can be made from an incident, or the widest application of an idea. It doesn’t take much for me to go off on a tangent. I am least happy when bringing a project to a conclusion, as it feels stifling and disconnected from the dynamic world around me. Finality and endings are disturbing to me, and I dislike graduation ceremonies above all else. I am much more at home in the developmental and conceptual phases of any project. I get bored easily by data gathering and have learned to offload that task to others. I am a good project manager, as I have learned to build teams of various skills and aligning tasks with strengths.
Kolb Learning Style Indicator:
The Kolb LSI measures self-reported preferences along 2 dimensions: Concrete experience-Abstract conceptualization and Active experimentation-Reflective observation. These 2 dimensions reflect how we prefer to gather our information about the world and then how we prefer to make sense of it. The intersection of these 2 dimensions establishes 4 quadrants, and can be used as a way to describe a classroom population as well as individual learners. We use this model extensively at the Command & General Staff College, and I have become convinced of its practical uses when used within reason.
In this model, I am classified as an “Assimilator”, which combines a preference for Reflective Observation and Abstract Conceptualization. This means I don’t need to spend too long “in the moment”, fully experiencing every nuance of the moment; I am always ready to begin reflecting on its dimensions, characteristics, descriptions and classifications. As an Abstract Conceptualist, I proceed to place experiences within my larger world view, as a particular example of a class of experiences. I spend little time in active experimentation to validate the data, once satisfied that it makes theoretical sense.
These preferences are helpful when approaching new material where the connection to theory is strong or explicit, because it satisfies my need to be situated in the world. I am comfortable with complexity and nuance and am competent at brainstorming and imagining future scenarios.
The downside of my preferences is that I am prone to overlook deep subtleties in experiences especially if the situation is slow moving. The idea of sitting in a duck blind for hours waiting for birds is my idea of hell on earth. I am also prone to accept theoretical justification as truth and am willing to short change practical validation of new concepts simply because of the theoretical elegance.
As a consequence of knowing this about myself, I find it necessary to do sitting meditations to work on my mindfulness and presence in the moment, to learn to appreciate the experience simply on its own merits, without a need to explain it or frame it as part of a larger construct. On group projects I am careful to include pragtmatists and naysayers who will insist on evidence and results from fair trials before we adopt policy changes.
These strengths and weaknesses, and my accommodations to the limitations of my learning preferences are an integral part of my business success as an equity trader which puts a value of new ideas, but also on backtesting and forward risk management.
Brainmodepower typology: AVK, global.
I am off the chart on the audio learning, and on the globalization scale. I have now noticed that when I am really trying to concentrate on learning I do not look at the person talking, but need to doodle in order to free my ears to hear. Doodling helps me occupy my eyes and hands (visual and kinesthetic modes). This has been a problem for others in the past when they would say “Look at me and pay attention!” when I was doing my best to pay attention.
2 stories from combat on this topic which reinforces the power of the insight: On a night attack, wearing night vision goggles I had high explosive rounds land near me and “whiteout” my night vision goggles, and I lost my night vision for about 15 minutes: I was able to command my company though because I could hear what was going on via the radio and I had a sense of where things were based on noise, sounds, and the volume of fire. A few days later, in the daylight, I had a hand grenade land very near to me and I didn’t have my earplugs in. I was deafened for about an hour before my hearing returned, and it was the most frightening experience I had ever had. I felt absolutely cut off from the world and was unable to command effectively. It was terrifying, even though I could see everyone around me and could consult a map.
I am a fast reader and I prefer to read in burst of 10-20 minutes, rendering my notes in visual, mindmapping form. I will generally develop detailed cognitive maps and turn them into slides as cues for recalling detail and cognitive structure. I take semi-structured notes on standard note-taking forms that I have developed over the years to suit my style. I will often color code the notes to make structure even more apparent. When I review notes from my Masters program (15 years ago), they make perfect sense to me and I can recall the circumstances of the classroom and the moment as if no time has passed. This form of “chunking” supports my assimilating style.
At any given moment I may be engaged in reading up to 20 books at a time in various locations, and I follow my mood or sense of urgency for picking up the next book to read. When I find myself drifting I stop and do something else until my attention is focused, rather than trying to force concentration.
I can concentrate for hours at a time in reading if needed, but I prefer the shorter bursts when my mind is feeling especially sticky. Learning to crate feelings of “sticky mind” is an essential part of my practice of sitting meditation, which Buddhists call “child’s mind”.
I will rarely read a book from cover to cover, preferring to read from top down and outside in, by examining the covers, introduction and forward, table of contents, index and references and chapter summaries first, and then come back to the book after 24 hours when that has had time to digest and become embedded. I will then skim chapters based on my interests, and finally skim the whole book. I have adapted this technique from Mortimer Adler’s “How To Read A Book” (Adler, 1940) and it has helped me integrate a lot of material from a broad array of fields.
I am not very good in free form dialogues of material, preferring to hear structured presentations that reflect deep inquiry on the part of the presenter. Lectures are excellent for me as I can listen carefully, while doodling and seeming to daydream in my own personal comfortable space. I enjoy writing and working on a topic while having a background lecture playing, trusting that if something interesting is being said that I will tune in to it. Some of my most creative work is done in this manner in the apparent cognitive dissonance set up by 2 different information streams. I am listening to a Teaching Company presentation on Chaos by Dr Stephen Strogatz as I write this.
My biggest problem as an adult learner is procrastination and time management, since I am always eager to read one more thing before generating my final conclusions. I also find it difficult to recast my theoretical framework of information once established and will generally try to find ways to accommodate pieces of my original insight in an evolving understanding. I try to delay taking final positions in order to gather more information for this reason.
I find it amusing that despite a strong rational component, and a structured approach to learning, that my decisionmaking and sensemaking is much more intuitive than rational. I trust my instinct far more than my conscious mind. This is a habit perhaps ingrained into me from 15 years of being an infantryman in combat and trusting my senses in dangerous situations. This habit of mind is so odd that it is even the subject of discussion among peers who know me well and wonder how I can be so rational and yet make instinctive, intuitive decisions.
I have been teaching in the Command & General Staff College for 8 years and have reinvented my whole approach to teaching as a result of the action research inquiry while attending CTU. While I acknowledge the need for competence at the data level I also have become much more aware of the importance of the social level of learning. I no longer think that learning and education are like filling up a pail, but are rather like lighting a fire (to paraphrase Yeats).
I am trying to create an educational space in the classroom, in the college, and in my professional work that encourages and supports free inquiry, a commitment to truth and academic freedom, and both a respect for and a seeking out of diverse perspectives and points of view. As a teacher in the classroom I try to model the behavior I seek from students, by the quality of my preparation, a concern for the learning and perspectives of others, and a willingness to be vulnerable in my ongoing search for knowledge. I am encouraging as many means of formal and informal feedback as possible to help students shape their own educational programs and outcomes. I encourage and support their inquiry in my classes and through support of their independent studies. I reach out to other colleges and programs to create networks of learners and to act as a catalyst for learning.
I respect the action research construct of multiple ways of knowing (experiential, presentational, propositional, and practical) and acknowledge the learning that can happen through 1st person, 2d person and 3d person action research.
I favor the connectivist learning school of thought being developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes at University of Manitoba, as I believe it represents a realistic, sound, robust and challenging way of developing knowledge and practice to appreciate and thrive under conditions of uncertainty. More at: http://www.elearnspace.org/
As part of my research I am looking carefully at how to add Voice to the environment by encouraging, supporting and promoting the diverse needs, intentions and inquiries of faculty, students and curriculum developers in a way that advocates a move away from an industrial age view of curriculum and towards one of connectivism and individuality. In this sense I have taken on an advocacy perspective that is values-based but which respects the perspectives of other members of the action research teams that make up the projects.
My role as a father influences my role as a student. One of the important reasons for me to begin the doctoral program was to set a personal example for my kids, who at ages 18, 15, 11 are getting to see their dad doing his homework and reading books every night as a priority. My father set the same example for me as a kid as he went to night school to work his way up the engineering ladder from “shop rat “to full-fledged design engineer. I’ve been trying to re-learn math and physics to be able to keep up with my son who is getting ready to go to college next year to be a physicist or an engineer, but just like in video games, I believe he has passed me for good. I am content to listen to him and get him the occasional book to feed his curiosity.
Husband: without my wife’s support I could not have dreamed of taking on the active role of student once more; in fact she finally told me to stop moping around and dreaming about it and just get it done. I need that boost from her to get moving at times. I want her to be proud of my work and my goals.
I use Warrior in the eastern sense, as one who is called, by his dharma, to seek mastery of self first in order to protect the weak and promote justice and compassion in the world. This calling is well described in Trungpa (1984). In this sense, my role as an adult learner is to focus on those things that I ought to be learning in order to improve my practice; to find worthy teachers and learn from them; to questions my own assumptions and preconceived knowledge in order to step outside what I already think I know and to follow my beliefs to their core to find the source.
Warrior learning also has a strong service component, and so the topics for inquiry, the choices for action research must satisfy the “so what” question, must be directed towards a virtuous end. For me, the choice to do action research within my college represents a way to do the right thing in support of my duty to country and soldiers whom I support. Action research’s methodology strongly supports these values, particularly when fellow inquirers are positioned as co-researchers.
Adler, M. & Van Doren, C. (1940). How to read a book. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Strelecky, J. (2007). The big five for life: Leadership’s greatest secrets. New York: St Martins’ Press.
Trungpa, C. (1984). Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior. Boston: Shambala Publications.
Peter Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) describes the use of models to help us frame questions to ask of the world, and which help us become explicit about our world views, assumptions, frames of reference, theories of cause and effect, values, and desired outcomes.
Checkland, P. (2006) Learning for action: A short definitive account of soft systems methodology and its use for practitioners, teachers and students. Chichester, England, Oxford Press
We’ve developed a deceptively simple Force Mgt practical exercise in the form of a card game. The complete rule set is simple; takes 5 min to scan and understand.
Rapid rule summary:
1. Students buy forces (5 cards) from a production table (a limited deck) and in each of 5 rounds, deploy them into 5 regions to compete for Victory Points
2. Win: first one to 51 victory points OR most points after 5 rounds
3. Game: lasts up to 5 rounds
4. Each round has 5 hands , each hand is worth Victory Points (VP)
5. Hand 1 is worth 6 VP, hand 2 is worth 5 VP etc…
6. Player 1 buys from the red deck, player 2 from the blue deck)
7. After you buy your 5 cards, you place 1 card face down in each region (hand)
8. Once all cards are placed, cards are flipped over and you determine results
9. If your card wins the hand you get the victory points and keep you card; if you lose the hand, you get no victory points and lose your card. If it’s a tie, you keep your card and no one gets points.
10. Each player has an identical deck to buy from.
It turns out that the development of strategy and then fielding an appropriate force really matters, AND there are distinct choices that are meaningful, available and feasible.
If you are interested, we’d like you to review the rules, and :
- 1. Buy your first round of forces
- 2. Deploy them into the 5 regions for turn 1.
- 3. Send your “Round 1” move to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a short description of your strategy
We are interested in examining the variety of forces and the strategy employed in round 1. Do you, for example:
1. Buy 4 ea 10s and a Joker to kill any enemy aces and retain max budget flexibility to see what he has remaining?
2. Buy aces early to get a lead on victory points and then protect them?
3. Buy Jacks to kill 10s while still preserving SOME budgetary flexibility?
4. How do you balance economy of force with winning victory points? (efficiency vs effectiveness)
And then tactically employing forces, do you:
1. Put aces against 6 and 5 victory point regions?
2. Put 10s against 6 and 5s to hunt aces?
3. Aim for maximum victory points each round?
4. Aim to capture 11 of the 20 available points each round? (ie bluff on 6 and 3, but try to win 5,4,2?)
In the actual play of the game we’ll look for adaptability and learning, and how strategies change after teams have played each other a couple times etc.
We’ve play tested it enough to know there is a rich source of insights available in the game and that it is simple to play. We’ll play it with decks of cards in the classroom
We prototyped the game in our Force Management elective and are satisfied that that we generate student interest and insight into broader questions of Army force management in an interesting way.
Here are some student insights gleaned from our playtesting:
1. Round 1 results dominate the rest of your strategic choices, so getting Round 1 is crucial.
2. Round 1 strategies are dominated by uncertainty because you have no information about your opponent’s strategy or adaptive style yet.
3. You have to decide when you want to buy strength: early and aim for quick wins, or later after you have seen pieces of the opponents forces and strategy.
4. Forecasting your opponents moves is problematic and make this more like poker than chess or bridge.
5. Aces are like the FCS: dominating until low-cost alternatives found the weakness. It wasn’t unit Aces were developed that the 10s became meaningful, so be alert to deep flaws in complex technologies.
6. Kings are costly but dominate the field; An opponent with Kings drives you to buy Aces but make you vulnerable to 10s.
6. Jacks (J) are a low cost success strategy against 10s, but can be incrementally be defeated by other mid-weight forces.
8. The costs of transforming cards between rounds is significant but manageable and may lead to strategic advantage. Scenario: You buy Aces on the first round and are successful, opponent buys 10s to kill your aces in the second round, but you trade down to Kings which dominate, and which remain difficult to defeat in subsequent rounds.
9. Deciding where (in what regions) to selectively deploy strength
10. Tactical results can overcome strategic insights and strategic failures. Tacrtics can be game changing.
11. What if the enemy has different victory conditions? Price points? Has different rules?
12. What if new cards are introduced after the first rule set is established?
13. How much would you pay to see the opponents’ hands?
14. What if there are partial wins? Or more than 2 teams playing?
15. Simple games can be powerful learning strategies
Conclusions: the game serves as a way to dramatize very clearly many of our force management challenges and is a useful way to create rapid, deep awareness of prime issues in this domain.
Here are some insights from a dedicated gamer and management game modeler:
I suspect that for most people’s first play they are strongly influenced by a form of Confirmation Bias: the As are priced higher, therefore new players conduct their analysis from the assumption that As are more valuable. Depending on the goals of your concrete experience, that may be the best argument for keeping the current price structure. However, an ace of spades loses to seven cards, including four cheap ones, where a KH loses to only four cards that are both expensive and vulnerable — the KH is easily the strongest card in the deck.
I assume trade-ins are secret — in fact that for all practical purposes players are operating behind a screen during their setup phase — because knowing whether your opponent has made any trade-ins is very valuable information. You may want to specify that in the rules.
Given the prevalence of 10s in everyone’s first turn strategies, it seems like the second-cheapest strategy is far more optimal than the cheapest — that is four tens and a jack of spades. That marginal $15 gives you a pretty good shot at a victory somewhere, and a decent chance of carrying more net capital forward.
Here are a selection of previously submitted moves for Round 1: (* = Joker)
|Region||Cards||Strategy: Cost: 102 Carry forward: 48|
|6||10h||I’m trying to kill aces while creating and deploying one, but putting it where it is unlikely to run into an ace-killer unless the other guys is trying an ace-killer strategy like mine. I’ve got cheap on the ace I bought, which is a risk that may not be worthwhile. I’m expecting to kill an ace in either 6 or 5, win 4 outright, and lose in 3 and 2. Expected results are thus 9.5 points to me, 10.5 points to the bad guys, I will lose approx $35 worth of cards and kill approx $70 worth. The enemy is expected to have spent rather more than me, so I will have more cash with which to restructure in light of what I find out. Cost: 102|
|Region||Cards||Strategy: Cost: 150 Carry forward: 0|
|6||10s||10 is the ace killer on 6, then we try to overpower each successive category on the way down. Assumes aces go to 6, which rapidly becomes a tail-chasing assumption.|
|Region||Cards||Strategy: Cost: 123 Carry forward: 27|
|6||Jh||Hunting the ace-killers, retaining some flexibility, winning early points|
|Region||Cards||Strategy: Cost: 150 Carry forward: 0|
|6||Ah||Maximum strength in every region|
|Region||Cards||Strategy: Cost: 145 Carry forward: 5|
|6||Ah||Maximum strength in main regions, try to hunt an ace and kill 10s; accept risk in small region|
|Region||Cards||Strategy: Cost: 149 Carry forward: 1|
|6||10s||Hunt aces and accept risk in regions 5,6, steal points with aces & J in regions 2,3,4|