AD - Recognition - levels - reply to Francois

Russell Kinder russmax at
Fri Apr 23 15:34:27 PDT 1999

   Philip says we all consented to have levels at Crown. If that debate
is over, then I'm going to go ahead and post this reply to Francois.
It's basically what Philip said in his post today, only more so. It's
much the same as I would have replied to Ihon, but he brings up other
points that I also need to address. More later, since Ihon's post is
stored on a different computer. 

"Bordelon, Wendel" wrote:
> Guillaume wrote:  (pardon the cutting)
> >                 .... Isn't the main purpose of levels to keep track
> > of who the qualified teachers are?
> This seems to me to be the main issue to resolve.  If the guild is going to
> say that a person is qualified to teach or indicate what "level" of teacher
> that person is then the guild must decide what level the teacher has
> attained not the student. After all it is the reputation of the guild that
> is backing the assigned level.  Our own academic world has standards and
> exams that must be met and passed before you can be a teacher.

   The academic world is arranged to make graduation requirements as
objective as possible. This assures fairness and consistency. Your 
qualifications speak for themselves in the course-work you have 
completed. In the same way, each dance that your higher level Guild 
sponsor sees you teach is an "exam"; each requirement of running a 
ball, performing, and researching is an additional "standard" that 
you must meet. It's not like a member can say, "I think I deserve the 
highest level, so give it to me." They have to show a qualified Guild
member that they meet the requirements.

   Here's how I see it working. A person sends in a letter to the
Proctor that says, "I, Deux Gauchepiede, have taught these 10 dances,
I ran dance at these 3 events, I performed dance at these 2 events.
Here is the signature of C. M. Gagliard, Journeyman, who verifies that
I did these things. Here also is the signature of Art C. Irisbearer,
the A&S Minister of my Barony, who bears witness that I and Lord 
Gagliard are not lying knaves. Please add me to the list of
Journeymen of the Ansteorran Guild of European Dancers."

   Then, the Proctor rubber stamps the letter, adds Deux Gauchepiede to
the roster of Journeymen, records his qualifications, and sends Deux
a certificate denoting his new status.

   How much decision-making are you thinking is required to assign a
new level? How many people does it take to count the dances submitted and
see that the requirements have been met? Additional testing implies
that you think the candidate, his sponsor, and the local SCA officer
may be be lying to the Guild. Why add an unneeded level of subjective
judgement to the process? That can only lead to hurt feelings and strife
between us.

   I will grant you part of your argument: Universities often require 
candidates for Masters or Doctorates to take comprehensive exams. Anyone
who's been involved in that process knows how stressful it is, and how 
difficult it is to deal with the subjectivity of your examiners. Do we 
really want to take ourselves that seriously, or make the process that 
trying? Do you really think enough people would abuse the objective 
process described above, that the Guild's reputation would be harmed?
This is what we do on the weekends for fun. Ultimately, I would rather
the system were abused a little than be overly hard-nosed about it.

   Here's another perspective. Our tourney champions are decided by an 
honor system, with each fighter calling the blows he/she receives.
It's a good enough system that we use it to choose or presiding royals.
I think that our dancers are as honorable as our fighters, and will be
honest about what dances they have taught. Notice that I'm not even 
proposing that level of trust. I'm saying a higher level guild
member must vouch for them, as well as a local SCA officer.

> In the universities you can move from undergraduate and maybe run a lab
> in your senior year; to graduate student and teach some lower level classes;
> on up to Ph.D. where you are teaching more advanced classes and probably the
> future teachers.  Or if you prefer the guild structure...  a guild will take
> apprentices, they must accomplish a set amount of work and learning and then
> pass a skills test administered and judged by the Guild before they are
> advanced to the next level.  Neither organization would endorse the skills
> of someone they did not verify had those skills.  It would not take long for
> people to discount the certifications if they did otherwise.

   I'm not saying that we shouldn't have verification. That's why a
higher level member of the guild must endorse each applicant. If the
requirements have already been met, then additional testing is
redundant, and maybe a little demeaning. 

In sincerity and friendship,
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