01
Sep
09

Preparing vacancies

Also can be termed “establishing a line of inquiry.”

I have a five point educational falsehood repair, and these are really more like guidelines for avoiding the use of them yourself. Here they are:

Accuracy of statements
Succinctity of statements
Consistency across fields
Intriguing vacancies
Incorporation of new findings

ASCII is ironically, and quite accidentally, also that of the  “American Standard Code for Information Interchange” which is precisely, albeit quite differently, what these guidelines aim to promote.

1) Establishes that statements should be factually accurate without misrepresenting the information on hand.

2) Establishes that statements should remain as brief and clear as possible without sacrificing accuracy.

3) Establishes that accurate statements within one field should hold true across all fields, thus the maintenance of accuracy between fields is an extension of point 1, but a necessary inclusion as seemingly contradictory statements can be absolutely accurate in one field while blatantly incorrect in another.

4) Intriguing vacancies are a bit more difficult to describe. Rather than presenting all relevant information necessary for points 1 and 2, “filler” words can be used to establish lines of inquiry. The “DNA is a regulated…” example I previously used illustrates this. In order to maximize this effectiveness, the narrative should include an element of tension which remains temporarily unresolved.

5) Incorporation of new findings is a fairly straight forward idea, but a bit more difficult to put into practice. It would be fallacious to teach the plum pudding model; similarly, it would be fallacious to teach that Mitochondrial Eve is our most recent common ancestor. She would be, in fact, our most recent common ancestor in the matrilineal line and our most recent common ancestor in the patrilineal or mixed lineage lines may be fare more recent than both of these. Instructors should keep up with research and be certain they understand the research by making sure they understand the background of the research, and only use findings which are verified or verifying previously published work.

The first three are necessary for education, the last two provide means of keeping the attention of students without the necessity of drowning them in mounds of information.

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