by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Michael Arce
Teaching newly made Masons "The Work"
Performancy vs Mastery
The great secret of a good teacher
Of all of the learning principles I have been exposed to, this is one that has a dual meaning - making it somewhat Masonic. Scaffolding the process of supporting students in their learning. Just as construction work requires a raised support system for men to work, the same applies to how we learn. The goal of the teacher is to have more of a mentor/facilitator role rather than the traditional professor of ideas. Students share the responsibility of learning, taking ownership of the success of the class. Scaffolds can be small groups where individuals demonstrate their mastery of an area to other students - speaking to them in their language - fostering peer teaching and learning. For material that is difficult or abstract, scaffolding can help bring support through group learning to understand complex ideas. This method also allows the instructor to break the class into groups, which are smaller more manageable teams rather than trying to teach to the whole class. Masonically, we can adopt this practice in our ritual practices. One of my Brothers suggested the idea a few years ago of organizing our degree rehearsals like a theatre production: principles, backups, secondary performers, ensemble and then we all meet for a full cast run through. Not only would this allow for time to focus on the individual roles, in small groups off to the side, but as the cast is slowly integrated into the full production, each participant would learn the flow of the ritual instead of just sitting in their spot, waiting for their time to speak. I often wonder of the Freemasons of years gone by, back when we still rode horses or walked to get from place to place. How in that time when the printing press was in its infancy and most Americans didn't know how to read, "mouth to ear" learning was to learn. Now I can be on the phone in my living room, talking for an hour with a new Brother who is driving home from work. What's interesting is that while the times and technology have changed over the centuries, "mouth to ear" is still the most valuable and rewarding form of learning. There isn't a video series (yet) to teach our new Brothers this important Masonic Education. Knowledge is still passed from the master who speaks, to his apprentice who listens. As the old saying goes, "The word 'listen' contains the same letters as the word 'silent.'"
Brother Michael Arce is the Junior Warden of St. George’s #6, Schenectady and a member of Mt. Zion #311, Troy New York. When not in Lodge, Bro. Arce is the Marketing Manager for Capital Cardiology Associates in Albany, New York. He enjoys meeting new Brothers and hearing how the Craft has enriched their lives. He can be reached at: email@example.com