Maxwell is an
education methods developer with experience developing new methods
of teaching into commercial products that have been used in public
schools throughout the US and internationally. He is currently focused on
developing education perspectives, methods and tools in service to the public
good that will be given away for free over the internet.
A SOCRATIC PERSPECTIVE ON THE MISSION TO EDUCATE
Socrates believed that the most
important aspect of human living is a successful journey of self
improvement. His perspective on self improvement focused heavily on
the acquisition of knowledge. The great choice for humanity at
this time is: Shall we choose to create ourselves or to destroy
ourselves? Will we seek to travel the path of increasing knowledge and
cooperation in service to solving our problems and thrive as a
species, or do we continue as
we are by allowing fear and ignorance to dominate so much of our
living in the destructiveness that comes with the lack of
Socrates believed that improvements in our ability to
acquire knowledge were so essential to the welfare of humanity that
they should be available to all. Even though he had a reputation as
a teacher worth getting to know, he never made it his mission to
make a living off of his contribution to education. He never refused
to participate in someone's quest for knowledge because they lacked
the ability to pay. In our time this is more important than ever.
Innovations in education that have any chance of improving people's
ability to learn should be given away for free as much as is
possible. This is necessary to the survival and thriving of our species. The wide adoption of effective education methods and tools
is much more important to the prosperity of humanity than is the
cultivation of business structures that operate with the typical corporate mentality of giving as little as possible while taking as much as possible. We
cannot afford to completely subjugate improvements in the cultivation of human
understanding to the priorities of business profits.
The survival of our
various civilizations demands that we become the best learners, gain
the finest understanding, and cultivate the greatest wisdom that is
possible for us to bring forth. This means we need to create free access to improvements in education methods that are able to be distributed as efficiently as possible. The internet is perfect for this mission.
The Socratic Method Research
Portal is dedicated to advancing the use of the Socratic Method and
the human quest for knowledge. All perspectives, methods and
resources developed for this purpose will be given to
the public at no cost. To support efforts to give away free education resources, some secondary software tools designed as a
non-essential, but very useful, practice benefit will be sold at very low cost to help
raise money to further research and development. Resources that
are essential to the learning involved with the online courses will all be free. There will also a couple of dedicated fund-raiser products.
FREE EDUCATION RESOURCES
(Some projects still in development)
HOW TO USE THE SOCRATIC METHOD
Over 200 pages of original research is summarized with a focus on using the socratic method in live conversation. Read my essay, "The Fundamentals
of Education: A Socratic perspective on the cultivation
of humanity" for a philosophical foundation that is valid for all possible expressions of the Socratic method.
The purpose of the "Fundamentals" essay is:
• To offer a philosophical basis for a broad range of uses of the Socratic method
• To demonstrate the principled potential for creating innovations in the use of the Socratic method
• To indicate new directions for future Socratic method research
New material on creating new Socratic exercises for classroom and individual application will be added as they are completed.
A full list of Socratic Essays on this web site
This project's goal is to develop methods and
tools that will empower even persons with below
average aptitude in mathematics to develop a superior
ability in two areas of focus.
The first area is
basic calculation. The methods and tools will focus on
giving people an effective pathway to the development of
skills in rapid and accurate calculation using their
minds, as opposed to dependence on calculators. There is a philosophy in some of academia
that we should lean on computer based calculators as
much as possible. I find this to be a weakness to the
extent that we are very capable of developing our own
minds to do much more. A superior ability to do basic
calculation also makes learning the rest of mathematics
Project Mathema's second area of focus is algebra. The failure to learn algebra is a great stumbling block in mathematics education. If Algebra is not mastered, access to success in the rest of mathematics studies is limited or destroyed. The goal of this second area of focus is to make it possible to teach algebra to younger students, with much greater success than is currently possible. They must not only pass tests, but develop the long term ability to use algebra in their thinking and problem solving. In this second area of focus, it is also deemed absolutely necessary to make such success in algebra possible for students of below average mathematical aptitude.
MUSIC THEORY ADVANTAGE™:
There are two methods released with this project, which
have been tested down to seven years of age. The first
is an effective mental musical interval calculator. As I developed math and
music courses for use in public schools, I noticed that
the frequency ranges of musical intervals (as measured
in semitones) have the exact structure of natural numbers. This observation
led to the insight that music students should be able
to learn to spell intervals as easily as math students learn to
count. This method works by simply memorizing a
seven note interval structure and learning a few simple
rules. Then you can name the note that is any interval
above or below any given note. With this method, being
able to spell a series of intervals as easily as you can count
single digit numbers is the expected norm. For the first
time, all music students can easily master interval spelling
even at the beginning of their music studies.
The second method is
the scales portion of the course, which is designed to
make it very easy to memorize musical key signatures. This means you
will know what notes are sharp or flat in every musical
key. This knowledge is what you need to be able to spell
the diatonic scales for all the musical keys. This
method works by remembering a series of easy to learn
images that decode into the number of sharps or flats. This is an extremely easy method to teach the spelling of the major and natural minor scales for all the musical keys.
Both methods are
designed to facilitate the rapid development and
superior long term retention of important skills in
handling basic music theory facts.
Software will be
developed for the practice of the methods presented in
this music course. This software is not needed to master
the content, but will be a plus to use.
TEACHING THE PIANO
A new philosophy and method for teaching Piano are in development. It has in common with the Music Theory Advantage™ the idea that skills normally relegated to more advanced students should be developed in the first year of study.
This style of teaching:
- Develops specific sight reading skills in the first three to six months of piano study that is normally not achieved until after years of study. This refers to being able to instantly know and be able to finger the correct key for any note on the staff be able to sight read simple melodies and chords with superior skill. It does not refer to the higher level of sight reading more complex music that must be accompanied by more advanced playing technique.
- Does a better job teaching the notes on the grand staff without, ironically, ever teaching the notes on the grand staff. Students realize they know the notes of the grand staff after the fact.
- Develops improvisational skills and musical creativity immediately.
Due to a very heavy production schedule, I may just write up an outline of these piano methods (as opposed to producing fully developed curriculum) in order to let people start experimenting sooner.
The Socratic Method Research Portal will be offering a full series of essays on the use of the Socratic Method, Socratic exercises and projects that can be implemented in classrooms or in private homes, new work on Project Mathema, music theory and piano and more.
Page updated on 11-13-2012