VIRS: principles and guidelines

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Vigilante Intergalactic Roustabout Scholars – or, education piracy

First and foremost, a VIRS is a teacher.

As teachers, VIRSs do not seek violence even while preparing themselves to face it without fear. A VIRS constantly seeks to share knowledge and experience with other VIRSs, or anyone else who demonstrates a desire for and commitment to learning.

Build your own tools.

VIRSs explore the unknown and thus require the ability to build custom tools from finite ingredients, optimized for the needs of the moment. VIRSs cannot prepare everything they may possibly need before embarking on their adventures and projects, nor do VIRSs wish to constrain themselves to only asking questions or solving problems for which optimized tools already exist.

Trust your crew.

Exploring the unknown requires the strength and resilience that comes from living as part of a healthy, fun, and hardworking crew. Joining or leaving a VIRS crew is a process of mutual respect, vulnerability, and empathy.

Information is free, knowledge is built.

Information – facts, figures, detailed descriptions, processes, and procedures – can be transferred without experience, and thus should be given freely to anyone who seeks it. Knowledge – the how, why, when, and with whom one should use information – depends on experience and thus must be built. VIRSs do not expect to transfer knowledge to a student without asking the student to go through the experience of using and living with the information involved. VIRSs also do not expect a student to understand the knowledge of a teacher without first having access to the same information as the teacher and potentially making many mistakes with that information. However, a VIRS is expected to clean up their messes, and to ask for help when they need it.

Be “Against Method”.

It is both unrealistic and detrimental to information discovery and knowledge building to believe that education piracy can and should be run according to fixed, universal rules. Learning happens in the interplay between minds, bodies, environments, and their shared history. Each teacher, student, and moment will have different needs, and a VIRS must be prepared to improvise along the way.

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Vigilante Intergalactic Roustabout Scholars (VIRS) by Danbee Kim is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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