• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

levels: white belt, black belt  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22493
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There will be 25 different things for which there will be a "merit badge". And that badge will be shown in the signature area for permies.com users.

Later, there might be 40, or even 60 things.

Supposing there are 60 different things for which we recognize a "merit badge", there could be 42 that are part of "PEP1".

But to get to PEP1, it seems like there should be some level of skill that is required, but you don't have to have an expert level.

At first I thought of "level 1", "level 2" etc. But that seems so ..... metric. I remember that there used to be a web site where people would try to learn software engineering and they awarded "white belt", "yellow belt" and, eventually, "black belt." That worked well and there seemed to be a lot of fun with that. Plus, it would be cool to say "I have a black belt in gardening."

So, for each merit badge, I propose that there are levels. And these levels are with colors like the "black belt" system. I went and looked it up on the mighty internet and came up with:

white
yellow
orange
green
blue
purple
brown
red
black

I think for a lot of things there will be just three: white, green and brown. And maybe with a LOT of thought and care, we can come up with something that would take it to black.




 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For me this is amusing. I have trained for pretty much my entire adult life. In one system, where a fairly conventional ranking process is used, i hold a red belt, which falls two steps below black (brown being higher in that system). In another, that only awards one belt, I have that belt, with some trophies. For whatever reason, the martial arts ranking system as generally found in western schools of asian martial arts does seem to be a pretty effective motivational structure.

And yes, "I have a black belt in gardening" has an appeal.

This approach strikes me as less academic and more motivational, which I like.
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 655
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
24
trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Perhaps I'm the only one, but whenever I hear people talk about black/green belts outside of the field of martial arts it instantly triggers thoughts of six sigma middle managers who like to use "leverage" as a verb.
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
4 somewhat disjointed thoughts

1) I think it would be helpful to suggest some guidelines to folks brainstorming these various topics on how much time each belt should take. Yes, people vary tremendously in how fast they learn and work. But some of these lists are so ambitious-they would take all of a person's free time for a year just to do one, much less 20 topics envisioned to achieve the PEP1. Kind of like college where each prof would pile on the homework in their beloved topic, forgetting that the student has 4 other classes that semester. So profs have a guideline, usually 3 hours of homework/study per hour of classroom time.

2) Maybe there's a two part PEP: using the college model of a breadth and a depth component. Belts in 20 topics, mid range belts in 5, upper range belts in 4, black belt in 1. Black belting is going to require a mentor at the level of skill people are talking about in their threads. It's a lot to ask someone to mentor a learner through a topic to black belt status that isn't their passion.

3) Giving people a badge/belt early for an introductory level of competence (example: choose 3 from the list: bake a loaf of bread, make a cheese, make a batch of beer, make a sauerkraut. Get the lowest level belt in fermentation) encourages a lot of participation and enthusiasm. Ramp up the time commitment and competencies at an exponential rate if you wish, but start newbies low and slow.

4) I suggest that every belt after the basic level have a component where a skill must be taught to a novice. I heard jack spirko say it more than once that real mastery comes in what you learn while trying to teach.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22493
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ann Torrence wrote:4 somewhat disjointed thoughts

1) [...]


answered here.


2) Maybe there's a two part PEP: using the college model of a breadth and a depth component. Belts in 20 topics, mid range belts in 5, upper range belts in 4, black belt in 1. Black belting is going to require a mentor at the level of skill people are talking about in their threads. It's a lot to ask someone to mentor a learner through a topic to black belt status that isn't their passion.


Part of the goal of the PEP1 program is to be able to send somebody out to consult, or teach, or that they might be hired to manage land, or they might be gifted land. I feel like there are some basics that make for the bare bones of PEP1.

At the same time, a person might be more interested in being a black belt in a few things and green belt in a bunch of others. And that will be enough to get them on the path that they seek.



3) Giving people a badge/belt early for an introductory level of competence (example: choose 3 from the list: bake a loaf of bread, make a cheese, make a batch of beer, make a sauerkraut. Get the lowest level belt in fermentation) encourages a lot of participation and enthusiasm. Ramp up the time commitment and competencies at an exponential rate if you wish, but start newbies low and slow.


Yeah, I've been thinking about some stuff like that.


4) I suggest that every belt after the basic level have a component where a skill must be taught to a novice. I heard Jack Spirko say it more than once that real mastery comes in what you learn while trying to teach.


Yeah - I think in my earliest stuff about PEP1 I was suggesting that a person makes five mallets and then they teach five people to make one mallet each.


 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
as for 2, agreed there are sort of universal skills, like animal husbandry and earth works, for anyone heading off to teach, consult, manage land. And there are the topics people who gen up badges lists are passionate about. All I'm really saying is that time isn't infinite and no one can be a master of all trades. Then again, most farmers aren't...their special competency is being able to do well enough at lots of stuff. Helping the badge designers set reasonable targets is my main point.

your answer that the full PEP would take 3 years, divided effort among several competencies, should help the badge designers scale their lists.

WRT 4: Another reason for the teaching component is that teaching is a skill learned by teaching, not by topic mastery.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22493
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like the idea that somebody could say "I completed PEP1 and I have a blackbelt in gardening" - or maybe they have a blackbelt in natural building or a few things.

 
Richard Gorny
pollinator
Posts: 266
Location: Poland, zone 5
49
books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not to discourage you, but it sounds very "corporate" to me, like these Continuous Improvement "rewards".

http://www.sixsigmaonline.org/services.html
http://continuousimprovement.nd.edu/training/green-belt-certification/

Hate to suggest something more permaculture related ... errr... a flower?
but that ruins a concept of black belt in gardening ...
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:
So, for each merit badge, I propose that there are levels. And these levels are with colors like the "black belt" system. I went and looked it up on the mighty internet and came up with:

white
yellow
orange
green
blue
purple
brown
red
black

I think for a lot of things there will be just three: white, green and brown. And maybe with a LOT of thought and care, we can come up with something that would take it to black.

My only issue with this is a little ideological. In the permaculture universe, wouldn't green be the ultimate goal? I'm mean, if someone claims to have a green thumb they're bragging - a black thumb = self-deprecating.
 
Ludger Merkens
Posts: 171
Location: Deutschland (germany)
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
humus is black ...
 
Seth Peterson
Posts: 95
Location: Berkeley, CA
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wanna discuss and clarify white belt level.

As I read through some of the different PEPs, I notice the bar for white belt is high enough that I barely qualify in most, yet I have been doing these things for a while, these are topics in which I consiider myself intermediate, not beginner.

In martial arts, anyone can be a white belt, right? I mean absolutely anyone. It is a fully introductory level. With absolutely no mastery or ability necessary. Should we reflect that in the PEPs?

Seth Peterson
'Permaculture PEPetrator'
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22493
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I suppose we could attempt to align our belt system with martial arts. But I think that once we start doing that, then it can open things up to more people saying what can and can't be done because of a martial arts thing somewhere in china.

As I was coming up with ideas for types of community, I remember sharing those ideas with Diana Leafe Christian. For a short while, I liked the idea of "gulching" or soemthing like "thistle gulch community". She told me that I need to make sure to not do that because every yahoo with a theory on what gulching means will then contest all sorts of decisions.

Mostly I just wanted to have some sort of ranking system. And I liked the idea that a person could earn a black belt in gardening.

Now we hear about "six sigma" stuff and how our system measures up to martial arts. It makes me think that we might need something richer. A bunch of language where we can be on our own to get stuff done without needing to re-evaluate our stuff so it might line up with similar labels used for other stuff.

Maybe we need "white badge", "green badge", "brown badge" and "black belt". How does that sound?




 
Seth Peterson
Posts: 95
Location: Berkeley, CA
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that confusion and argumentation will take place so, I can totally see the benefits of making up a new set of words.

Therefore, the question I am posing is actually something like...

I see value in the idea that a white belt/white badge being an intro level that anyone can attain. It is the first step initiatory phase. I referred to the martial arts system not to strictly adhere to their system, but rather because I thought it would be appropriate.

My three levels would basically mean something like...
1) approaching: learning and trying out
2) accomplished: succeeding in general
3) mastered: teach others, spread the word

So, my question remains is white belt/white badge/ level 1/or whatever we call it, is it an intro level? or do we actually expect some mastery of 'advanced' skills? Like growing pounds of veggies or maintaining a beehive.

Yea,
Seth Peterson
Permie chef
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22493
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Things have evolved quickly. Right now I am looking at "white badge" level would be the sort of thing that a smart, hard working person at a really tough school would have completed in the first year.

"Green" would represent completing the second year and "brown" would represent completing the third year.

To get "PEP1" would mean having completed the "brown" level in about 18 things, the "green" level in a dozen things and the "white" level in a dozen things. Over the next few months I hope to make a list of exactly what those things are.

Part of what I'm thinking is that if I certify somebody as PEP1 and then they get hired by "Bob" and Bob tells me "this person sucks!" then I want to have powerful confidence that the problem is Bob and not the PEP1 person.


 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1682
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:Things have evolved quickly. Right now I am looking at "white badge" level would be the sort of thing that a smart, hard working person at a really tough school would have completed in the first year.

"Green" would represent completing the second year and "brown" would represent completing the third year.

To get "PEP1" would mean having completed the "brown" level in about 18 things, the "green" level in a dozen things and the "white" level in a dozen things. Over the next few months I hope to make a list of exactly what those things are.

Part of what I'm thinking is that if I certify somebody as PEP1 and then they get hired by "Bob" and Bob tells me "this person sucks!" then I want to have powerful confidence that the problem is Bob and not the PEP1 person.




Paul - the way the above reads could be interpreted as around 60 years of full time study! (18 brown levels at 3 years each). I know that is not your intention, but if you are hoping for a full time conscientious person to reach PEP1 in three years the individual levels of brown need to be balanced accordingly. Some of the levels seem way over to top ambitious in terms of time, especially if they are only a fragment of what an individual needs to accomplish in that year.

Perhaps a way of balancing it might be to ask "How many days labour is this?" The labour might end up spread out over a year (in the case of gardening where you obviously need to look at growing seasons) or might all come at once (eg earthworks where you hire a digger for a week and lay out 500m of swales on contour).

Lets say that a white belt needs one week of "full time" study - it would then be feasible for many people to get white belt across PEP1 in a single year, perhaps while also maintaining their day jobs.

Then Green belt might be 2 weeks and brown 3 weeks

This balances out to roughly 3 years of "PEP1 Study Time"


You can then look at proposals for what should be in each PEP element and work out where the time sinks are. For example - I posted in a thread about earthworks a little while ago where one of the proposals was "gleying a small pond with pigs" for the white belt level with a bunch of other stuff. Now gleying takes months during which time the pigs need feeding/tending etc... that time isn't furthering the learning of earthworks but if you spend 20 minutes a day on pig care to get your earthworks whitebelt then the time allowance is rapidly swallowed up. Similarly if hugelculture is in earthworks... do we then need a year long growing aspect to it, with all the plant propagation care and harvesting associated?

Now it may well be that different elements have different time demands based on the nature of the material and the time required to become proficient - but a week of full time application on any one element should get most people up to a reasonable minimum standard if the material is well chosen (and not a massive unnecessary time sink).
 
We find this kind of rampant individuality very disturbing. But not this tiny ad:
Video of all the PDC and ATC (~177 hours) - HD instant view
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!