I'M WAITING OUT THE last few days before the Arquellian arbitrator is due to arrive. I had thought that I was well prepared to go before the Arquellian arbitrator. I'm well prepared to answer the most likely charges to be levelled against me by the Primitive Culture Police. I'm also ready, in turn, to charge the PCP with the almost certain violations of law that they have committed here on Corin. However, at the last moment I make a startling discovery.
While I wait for the arbitration, I'm continuing to work on my Loro. I'm still in a situation where any number of people want to kill me and for a variety of reasons. I really don't think that I'll use Loro as a primary defence against those trying to kill me. It seems much more likely that I'll use weapons to defend myself. However, Loro sharpens the senses and the reactions of the advanced practitioner. Sharp senses and lighting fast actions and/or reactions seem to be at least a good part of an overall defence strategy for me.
During my Loro work, I discover something that's been on the edge of my consciousness for some time. I use the alien language that I learned in order to read written material from some of my off-Corin suppliers. I have now begun to think in the alien language while doing my daily work. I find the alien language useful, as I seem to think more clearly and more completely using it. I can do more and better scientific work using the alien language than I can using my native Averonian. I now find that I can also use the alien language in my Loro work. If I think in the alien language when I practice Loro, I seem to be quicker and more focused.
I set up a test using a very long, complicated Loro form. I do the form, forcing myself to very strict following of each of the Loro moves while thinking in Averonian. Then I repeat the form, again forcing myself to very strict following of each of the Loro moves, while thinking in alien. I find that I can complete the form a bit faster if I think in alien. I make the test several times and the advantage of my use of the alien language is clear.
I determine that I'll use the alien language to do my thinking during the arbitration hearing before the Arquellian. I'll speak in Averonian, but I'll first do the thinking in alien.
I have imported certain advanced culture alien devices to Corin and I'm sure that the PCP has proof that I have imported at least some banned devices. However, with my own mathematical basis for the more complicated alien devices I have developed, I'm not just a primitive illegally using advanced alien technology. I'm at least an engineer who understands the basis of what I'm using. Actually, since I have even made some small improvements to the devices I'm using, I'm more than just an engineer, I'm a designer.
Because of the math work I have done on the design for the alien devices, I'm confident that I can survive the arbitration by the Arquellian.
I then realize that I may just have another advantage. I'm a native Averonian who has learned an alien language. The aliens will have to regress from alien to Averonian, since that's the only language that the PCP is aware that I can use. Since the aliens aren't native users of Averonian, there's the very real possibility that they'll make translation mistakes that I may be able to exploit. Since I'm assumed innocent in the arbitration and the PCP have the burden of proving that I'm guilty, small mistakes can become very big in the course of a hearing.
As I think a bit more on the matter, I come to realize that the alien language I have learned isn't anyone's native language, at least not originally. The alien language is perfect. There's a set of rules and the rules work in all cases. In order for there to be no exceptions, the alien language would have to have been be designed by a computer. I'm a computer mog and learning the alien language has been a fast, easy task for me. Thinking further, it may be that I'll have a usable advantage over the PCP people. The PCP people are almost certainly originally from several different alien cultures, each culture with its own native language. The PCP people will be forced to translate from their native language to alien and then to Averonian. If there are actually several alien races who will have to translate from several native languages to alien, the confusion factor may just help me. It's something I'll have to keep in mind.
While I'm preparing for the Arquellian arbitration, I get a visit from Ayah one day. It seems that Ayah has a question for me.
Ayah asks, "Would you please tell me exactly what you are doing with the teaching of reading to the children of Fori Novor?"
I say, "It's not logically possible to teach someone to read. I'm aware of the limitation. Therefore I'm not attempting to do the impossible. I'm not attempting to teach the children of Fori Novor to read."
Ayah says, "I learned to read. You learned to read. If it's impossible, how did we learn to read?"
I say, "Ayah, you have just answered your own question. We were not taught to read, we learned to read on our own."
Ayah thinks for a few seconds, "Yes, but my teachers did answer questions when I had problems."
I say, "After you learned to read on your own, then and only then could your teachers help you. Your teachers didn't help you to learn to read, but to read a bit better once you had learned to read on your own."
Ayah looks puzzled.
I say, "In order to read, the student reads very simple material. Of course, the material is simple for some students and not so simple for others. Then the student who is able to read analyzes what he or she has just read. A student can't learn anything by analysis, except what he or she already knows, but may not yet be aware of. The student who can't read obviously can't analyze what he or she can't read. Thus the child who can't read falls further and further behind. Since the ability to read is central to an education, a disparity in reading ability causes big problems for at least some of the students. The problems are then attacked by the schools asking for yet more money."
Ayah is still puzzled, she says, "But we learned to read, bit by bit."
I say, "We, you and I, were clever enough to learn the trick of reading, perhaps by unconscious observation of adults reading around us. Many students aren't that clever. The less clever students don't learn to read and trouble follows."
Ayah says, "What you are now having the students do is to start with letters and then build them into words."
I say, "Correct! The process the students are using is called synthesis. Any normal student can understand the concept of a letter. A letter is like, perhaps, a brick. A letter is a very simple building block. My method teaches the student to put together a very few letters to form a very few, very simple words. Any normal child can do this. Once the child learns how to write, not read, a few words, my method then has the student begin to form the very few words the student knows into very simple sentences. Not only does the student learn to form letters into words and the words into sentences, but the student also learns the functions and interactions of each item in the building process. The process is complete and works in all cases, because the student is working with a very limited set of the language. At no time do I try to teach the student to read."
Ayah thinks for a moment and then says, "Of course, if the student can write, the student can read!"
I say, "Of course! And, since the student is learning a couple of new letters every day, at least at the start, my method uses the same, repetitive patterns, only with new letters. Once the letters are all learned, then new words can be formed, each day, from the letters of the alphabet. Thus, the student gets the repetition necessary to implant the new information into the brain but without obvious, boring repetition. In addition, the student actually learns new things each class day. The new things that the student learns, day by day, are based upon the foundation of what the student has already learned and the new things are then put to use the same day. Since the student is constantly learning, and constantly being examined in class, the student is forced to pay attention during each class."
Ayah says, "OK, I see what you're driving at. However, your method places a lot of demands upon the teacher."
I ask, "You mean the teacher actually has to teach the students?"
Ayah takes a deep breath and says, "Normally a teacher works to a lesson plan. Once the teacher has internalized the lesson plan, the teacher's effort is sort of on remote control. Your method means that the teacher has to actively teach each and every single day. The teachers aren't too happy about the extra work."
I say, "How too bad. As you pointed out, my new teaching methods do place a bit more work on the teachers. However, teaching is what I pay the teachers for. My concern is with the students and not really with the teachers."
Ayah says, "Well, the students do seem to be doing quite well. However, the teachers are also quite unhappy with the coming elimination of certain study areas under your new plan."
I say, "I'm unaware of the elimination of any study area, save for the island dance classes, under my new plan. Since the students almost all participate in the several island dance competitions from shortly after the time they learn to walk, I don't see the elimination of island dance classes as a real problem here."
Ayah says, "The elimination of island dance isn't the problem. It's the elimination of poetry from the Averonian language classes."
"True, I did eliminate poetry from the Averonian language classes, but you'll note that I added separate poetry classes. Those who wish to learn poetry may still do so and in a class where that subject and only that subject is offered."
Ayah says, "The problem is that only the girls will sign up for the poetry classes."
"If someone, aside from the boys, is preventing the boys from signing up from the poetry classes, then that someone will answer to me."
"No one is preventing the boys from signing up for the poetry classes, they are just choosing other classes instead."
"Your point being?"
Ayah says, "The boys should also study some poetry as well."
I say, "I tried to study poetry and I disagree. I was flunked again and again and I couldn't get answers to my relevant questions. I never once understood as much as a single line of poetry. No one will treat a Fori Novor student in that fashion while I'm King here."
Ayah says, "Well, you may just have a teacher revolt brewing."
"Ayah, the people who previously ran Fori Novor left us with many shortages. One thing that the hoodlums left us with is enough first, second and third school teachers. If the teachers want to revolt, they can find new jobs. I have plenty of replacements on hand."
"I suspected that you would take a hard line. However, all of the students need to learn to think."
"I agree. That's why I have added things like Practical Accounting to the Woodworking list of required classes. Fori Novor has long been noted for craftsmen who work in wood. Now they'll be able to tackle larger projects and price them so that they can make a profit."
Ayah says, "Well, I suppose your new methods are working, but the classes seem to be getting very utilitarian."
"Ayah, when I got here, the schools were graduating just poets, steel band musicians, dancers and mothers to be. The classes were pretty much useless for the vast majority of students, as far as making a living is concerned. Fori Novor needs people trained in things that lead to making a living. There is currently an excess of those trained in steel band music, poetry and perhaps even in the art of mothers to be. In the last case, I don't mind the theory; it's the lab classes, mostly held after school that seem to be the problem."
"Yes, the boys do tend to emphasize the lab part of the mother to be track. I suspect that you were one of the offenders in your day."
"Now Ayah, we don't want to get into personalities here."
Ayah says, "I suspected as much. Well Justin, despite some complaints from the teachers, your new methods are working. Both the language classes and the math classes are producing outstanding results. In fact, Miss Biyone has requests for information from school people in Averon!"
"Ah yes, Miss Biyone is an excellent example of the kind of teacher we need more of."
Ayah sighs and says, "Miss Biyone has a genius level IQ. Plus, she could probably do well in the Miss Planet contest. Plus, she's an accomplished gymnast. Those kind of people are actually rather hard to find."
"Yes, but look at the results you get when you do find them!"
"Justin, I think it would be well if you let Miss Biyone handle the interface with the teachers. She seems to understand your methods and she's much better at dealing with the teachers than you are."
"I'll defer to your judgment in the matter. By the way, what are the chances of us getting more teachers like Miss Biyone?"
Ayah smiles at me, the kind of 'You missed the whole point' smile that women use when dealing with men. She says, "Well, going on just what I know, maybe we might find one every 40 years or so."
"Unfortunately, the children can't wait. Let Miss Biyone do that which she does. If she needs someone to come in and kick butt on the stupid teachers, tell her she can call me any time."
Ayah says, "Justin, some day we are going to have to have a long talk about how women deal with other women."
I'm stumped for an answer.
Ayah then leaves to do whatever it is that she's going to do.