Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this guest article by Lev Polyakov to advance the objectives of Section XII of our Platform, which reads, in part, “The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values.” It is clear that contemporary systems of mass education are broken in that they fail to encourage creativity, critical thinking, and even the acquisition and retention of knowledge. However, the ideas provided by Mr. Polyakov – which combine an Internet meritocracy with individualized attention to students and the ability of students to take charge of their learning – offer some promising options for elevating the quality of education and reaching more young minds at crucial formative stages. The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its members to consider these ideas and to offer their own perspectives.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 23, 2018
Today’s kids have outgrown the top-down-style assembly-line schools, and many rightfully hate them. While I don’t have exact numbers to quote, I can tell you I was not a fan of this approach for sure, and a change would be especially good for most boys who are missing the male role models they would have been able to get were this whole thing to have been structured differently from the bottom up.
Combine an Internet meritocracy (master instructors from anywhere) with smaller groups of kids assigned to an apprentice instructor who learns from the master instructors. Instead of sitting in desks facing one direction, the arrangement could be a circle, whose exchange of information the kids can look forward to. Weather permitting, many classes can take place outdoors, and if a kid doesn’t want to participate, he can go and play with some twigs. Eventually, were the class group itself worth being in more than the twig, he’ll come back to the group. The point here is to have these small circles engaging to the curiosity the kids have. And most kids, if they are younger and less jaded by normal school, will have this curiosity. If you don’t put in the effort on your end, the twig wins.
For apprentices new to teaching a group, they would first be the apprentices to a master teacher who would be teaching kids face to face instead of through the Internet. This would involve some travel for the prospective apprentice, depending on how many of these master teachers are in their area. But the understanding is that with time, the apprentice will become the master, and finding a local master teacher in your area will be easier.
These apprentices will also earn various markers based on their performance and what they learn, which will make them more sought after. Certain strengths of theirs can complete a particular neighborhood’s need for this strength. For example, someone good at math in Neighborhood A could more become aware that he or she is needed in Neighborhood B which already has people good at science and geography.
As far as money is concerned, there can be various methods tried out, but in the end, I think it makes sense to have the remuneration be based on the merit of the teacher and results. Perhaps the compensation could even be based on results measured in the long term, as far as the kids giving testimonials about the teachers when they are older, though how this would result in more money is still not clear.
Lastly, classes would start later (giving more time for kids to sleep).
Follow Lev Polyakov’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/levpo
Visit the video channel co-hosted by Lev Polyakov and Jules Hamilton, “Lev and Jules Break the Rules“. U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II was recently honored to be the first guest ever interviewed on “Lev and Jules Break the Rules”. Watch this interview here.
Lev Polyakov is an award-winning independent animation director and conceptual artist, whose films were featured on WNET 13, Channel Frederator, and ShortsHD.
Lev Polyakov has been active in the animation world since 2004, starting as an intern for Signe Baumane, one of New York’s most prominent independent animators, and proceeding to write and direct his own animated films. His first short, Piper the Goat and the Peace Pipe, won the first place at the 2005 Ottawa Animation Festival. For his next film, Morning, Day, Evening, Night… and Morning Again, Lev was awarded a grant and an honorary membership from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. During his junior year at SVA, Lev directed and produced Only Love, a 15-minute animated short that premiered at the prestigious Woodstock Film Festival, and has been shown at more than 30 film festivals around the world, winning many first-place awards.
Lev has done work visually appealing character-driven commercial work such as character design, storyboarding, and animation for Giants Are Small’s “Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood” iPad app in partnership with Universal Music; and for the virtual reality studio, The Glimpse Group.
Lev is currently chair of the Art and Technology Committee at the National Arts Club in New York City.
You can see Lev’s work at http://youtube.com/levpolyakov
Follow Lev Polyakov’s Instagram account: https://instagram.com/levpolyakov/