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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Didactic Gradualism

I have not a neuron of doubt that nurture trumps nature in the intellectual development of the mind. The evidence is indisputable. Take my own case. My recent experiments with proton polarisation scanning suggest that my brain has around 27% more synaptic connections than the average, by which measure I am within the top 0.03 percentile of humans. Impressive you might think. But when you consider that 2.5m other humans share my level of synaptic capacity you will realise the statistic is quite incapable of explaining my unique level of pansophic development. Ergo some other factor, that we may label nurture, must account for the gigantic difference in intellectual attainment.Today, however, I am announcing what may prove to be a revolution in teaching methods that will allow all to maximise their intellectual potential, notwithstanding their inherited cerebral constraints.

It is known by every schoolteacher that pupils best digest new concepts if fed in nibbles. Attempt to force down too big an idea, and the brain gags.The result is intellectual malnourishment, and loss of educational appetite. Now, after years of experiment and research by the EDSRF, that simple notion has been developed to a remarkable extreme: the principle of Didactic Gradualism. Plainly put, the principle asserts that ideas should be fed to the brain by the smallest possible increment.

The first practical public application of the principle of Didactic Gradualism is embodied in my newly published book 'Quantum Theory in 66,261 Easy Steps', in which you, the fortunate reader, are introduced to quantum theoretical concepts in such imperceptible steps that by the end you hardly realise that you've understood it at all.

My development of Didactic Gradualism is itself an illuminating example of the power of nurture. I am convinced that it has sprung from an example subconsciously digested during my childhood holidays in the Pravakesh area of northern India, where my enlightened step-parents encouraged me to learn the techniques of Vadeshni yoga. I remember seeing a farneshki guru who had a needle penetrating entirely through his skull from one side to the other without suffering any deleterious consequences, other than some additional complexities to explain at the barbers.  I learned that his remarkable, if pointless (pun strictly intended), outcome he had achieved by inserting the needle over thirty seven years through an incomprehensible number of atomically small increments, so that his scalp, skull and brain were able to accommodate the penetration through a natural relaxation of cellular structures. An inquisitive nine year old, I was frantic to question the guru closely about his extraordinary experience, but I was unable to speak at the time, being about half way through swallowing a forty metre strip of muslin for the 'kraveshdu' ritualistic cleansing of the colon. You know how it is.

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