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Author Topic: What would you include in Lesson 0?  (Read 712 times)

Haptalaon

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What would you include in Lesson 0?
« on: February 01, 2021, 02:22:44 pm »
Hello all,

What resources would you include in a Lesson 0 reading list?

I mean Lesson 0, rather than Lesson 1, the sort of getting-to-know-one-another/ground-rules session - one that wouldn't necessarily be about the specifics of your kind of paganism, but about setting ground expectations or embedding good habits in a student.

This was brought on by seeing a good "how to spot fascist dogwhistles" video today - a problem which, unfortunately, comes up in my corner of paganism a lot. And I've thought for a long while that a resource on spotting cults/unsafe religion would be a good step in taking accountability in a pro-active fashion. Maybe something on doing research or critical thinking?

idk, give me some brainstormed ideas  :) What links, chapters or kinds of topics would be on your Lesson 0 "not really getting started on anything specific yet, but these will stand you in good stead" reading list?

& cheers all
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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2021, 04:47:25 pm »
Hello all,

What resources would you include in a Lesson 0 reading list?

I mean Lesson 0, rather than Lesson 1, the sort of getting-to-know-one-another/ground-rules session - one that wouldn't necessarily be about the specifics of your kind of paganism, but about setting ground expectations or embedding good habits in a student.

This was brought on by seeing a good "how to spot fascist dogwhistles" video today - a problem which, unfortunately, comes up in my corner of paganism a lot. And I've thought for a long while that a resource on spotting cults/unsafe religion would be a good step in taking accountability in a pro-active fashion. Maybe something on doing research or critical thinking?

idk, give me some brainstormed ideas  :) What links, chapters or kinds of topics would be on your Lesson 0 "not really getting started on anything specific yet, but these will stand you in good stead" reading list?

& cheers all

Somewhat context dependent, because the stuff that's immediately relevant in a prospective small-group situation is somewhat different than for people working more independently.

As part of the intro series of classes I do with prospective students (which have no commitments other than basic "treat other people involved respectfully" stuff), I ask people to read Thorn Mooney's Traditional Wicca: A Seeker's Guide which is widely applicable to other coven-shaped groups despite the name of the book if someone is able to generalise the parts that aren't initiatory-coven specific. It's got a lot of "How to find groups" and also "how to figure out if you want to spend more time with these people"

I also need to weave some more pointers to Yvonne Aburrow's Inclusive Wicca site in various places (here's the articles index) which has a lot of good material on this kind of thing, from multiple authors.

I also have a thing on my site, CARE, about evaluating groups and community situations consciously. (Stats tell me it doesn't get read much, alas.) It's derived from the ideas in the old Coven Abuse Self-Help Index which was online for many years in the 90s and early 00s, which was a great doc with examples of "how these things can go wrong, and how you could maybe spot them coming more usefully". When it went offline, I wanted something that had some of the same kind of concrete examples that the CASHI had, because that kind of doc seemed thin on the ground.

Once I start with Dedicants, our first two classes are "Self awareness" (starting to build up conscious recognition of when something is or isn't good for them, establishing record keeping to help with that, etc.) that includes an explicit discussion of group norms and practices, even though we've talked about them before this. Class two is "The Craft is not like other learning aka Better Pagan Research", and talks about how to find and evaluate info.

(Turning the latter class into an online course of some kind is one of my projects for the year, but I'm currently at the "outline and a couple of sections drafted stage. It is something I've taught in multiple community contexts as a workshop over the years.)

I've had enough bad or just weird experiences in group context where I am sure something's been discussed, and then someone goes "But you never mentioned this!" so for key stuff, I am now at the belt-and-suspenders approach of giving a text doc and discussing it explicitly with time to digest the reading in advance. One of my personal nightmares is the "Did I never actually say that?" gaslighting thing (thank you, occasional brainfog, for being so not-helpful with this part) so I keep pretty good notes on what we've covered in class, as well.

This current cycle, the two students I started with (we're now down to one) included neurodiversity as a thing explicitly on the table, so I also wrote up a detailed doc of "Here is how we do things" that laid out the practice, followed by an explanation of why it's that way and what parts could be adapted if needed. (Since some of them involve accessibility needs in various directions, some bits are more flexible than others.) I'm really glad I did that, and will keep revising it as needed in future.
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Altair

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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2021, 09:13:53 am »
Hello all,

What resources would you include in a Lesson 0 reading list?

I mean Lesson 0, rather than Lesson 1, the sort of getting-to-know-one-another/ground-rules session - one that wouldn't necessarily be about the specifics of your kind of paganism, but about setting ground expectations or embedding good habits in a student.

This was brought on by seeing a good "how to spot fascist dogwhistles" video today - a problem which, unfortunately, comes up in my corner of paganism a lot. And I've thought for a long while that a resource on spotting cults/unsafe religion would be a good step in taking accountability in a pro-active fashion. Maybe something on doing research or critical thinking?

idk, give me some brainstormed ideas  :) What links, chapters or kinds of topics would be on your Lesson 0 "not really getting started on anything specific yet, but these will stand you in good stead" reading list?

& cheers all

I think I'd go with

1) Who & Why--Who are you and why are you pursuing this? Why have others pursued this? What's the purpose or value? Part tone setting, part getting to know each other

2) Ethics--how to behave responsibly in this or any effort, and how to spot those who don't

3) Critical thinking--dont just accept things; ask questions, check and evaluate sources, etc.

4) Context--a bit of overview of religious history and comparative religion

Admittedly, the priority I place on 2 & 3 is probably colored by the seeming near complete absence of both from political discourse in the U.S. right now, with catastrophic results.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

SunflowerP

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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2021, 01:23:33 pm »
This was brought on by seeing a good "how to spot fascist dogwhistles" video today - a problem which, unfortunately, comes up in my corner of paganism a lot.

If you can provide a link, I for one would be interested in checking out that video.

Quote
And I've thought for a long while that a resource on spotting cults/unsafe religion would be a good step in taking accountability in a pro-active fashion.

I also have a thing on my site, CARE, about evaluating groups and community situations consciously. (Stats tell me it doesn't get read much, alas.) It's derived from the ideas in the old Coven Abuse Self-Help Index which was online for many years in the 90s and early 00s, which was a great doc with examples of "how these things can go wrong, and how you could maybe spot them coming more usefully". When it went offline....

I am pleased to say it's not completely offline; it can still be found on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Looking to see if I could find a URL to enter into the WB Machine, I also found a link to the 'Warning Signs' list at the Cult Education Institute's site - something I might have sought out to post in this thread anyway (I'm not always a fan of those who describe themselves as experts on cults, but I've known of, and thought well of, Rick Ross for many years now), so it was handy to get a link without having to hunt around.

And of course there's that old standby of the neoPagan movement, the Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame, colloquially known as the ABCDEF (or just as 'that cult checklist Isaac Bonewits made'). For many years, this was the only such tool that was specific to paganism. Since the pagan scene now is significantly different from the pagan scene when Bonewits wrote it (or even from the time of the last revision), I offer it as much for historic perspective as anything - though not obsolete, it can't take new developments into account as more recent resources would.

This isn't an answer to your whole question, Haptaleon. I haven't done anything more than informal mentoring in (wow!) almost 15 years and don't expect that to change anytime soon, and have never had a 'Lesson 0' in the way you describe (setting ground expectations was mostly included in the interview in which a prospective student and I determined whether we were a good fit for each other; instilling desired habits is a process that takes more than a single session, no matter how many reading resources are included, and was part of training as a whole), so I don't know whether I'll make a complete reply or not, but I'll let it simmer in the back of my brain and see if I have anything to add to the thread.

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Haptalaon

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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2021, 01:31:13 pm »
If you can provide a link, I for one would be interested in checking out that video.


Quick response before engaging with the other replies, to make sure I answer this - it's this one by Contrapoints . I thought it was short, fun and nicely made, and focused on spotting dogwhistles - which is maybe the most useful topic for this context (i.e. how to spot this language in others around you)

Edit to add: neat, I didnt know it was going to embed! and also, content warning for discussions of fascism, some nazi imagery and language, including from recent USA news stories.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2021, 01:36:58 pm by Haptalaon »
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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2021, 01:56:44 pm »
Edit to add: neat, I didnt know it was going to embed! and also, content warning for discussions of fascism, some nazi imagery and language, including from recent USA news stories.

Thank you!

And, ha, I should have warned you - it's often just as well not to include YouTube, Twitter, etc, links in a post in which you have other text content, but to give them separate posts, since we don't know how to get them to not embed! In this case embedding is a feature, but all too often, it makes a post harder to read.

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Jenett

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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2021, 01:58:24 pm »
I am pleased to say it's not completely offline; it can still be found on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Unfortunately, that's only part of it - there was a shorter version and a longer version, this is the shorter one. The longer one had some detailed examples of what the things on the shorter version looked like, which I found incredibly helpful at the time. (And I haven't been able to find a longer version on the 'Net, alas, even on the Wayback Machine.)
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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2021, 02:03:21 pm »
Unfortunately, that's only part of it - there was a shorter version and a longer version, this is the shorter one. The longer one had some detailed examples of what the things on the shorter version looked like, which I found incredibly helpful at the time. (And I haven't been able to find a longer version on the 'Net, alas, even on the Wayback Machine.)

Is this what you were wanting?

https://web.archive.org/web/20010107192000/https://www.wyrdweavers.org/files/cashi.html
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Jenett

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Re: What would you include in Lesson 0?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2021, 04:05:35 pm »
Is this what you were wanting?

https://web.archive.org/web/20010107192000/https://www.wyrdweavers.org/files/cashi.html

That is the long version! (I swear I'd tried it previously and kept getting errors on it.)
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