Those of us in attendance at FUSION12 were treated to a closing keynote address by Rafe Esquith. To be more accurate, many of us enjoyed the keynote while many others were already scrambling to get to the airport or negotiating the unfriendly skies on their way back home. One of the things that Rafe talked about is how he teaches his fifth graders about Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. He also writes about this in his book titled “Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire.” (See embedded video below.)
His students are taught not to do things because they’ll get in trouble if they don’t (Level 1), nor because they’ll get a prize or reward if they do (Level 2). It’s a little higher level of morality to do something in order to please others (Level 3) or because you want to obey the law or help maintain order (Level 4). At some point, people developing a sense of morality do things because they are considerate of other people (Level 5) and understand that what they do impacts on others. Esquith tries to get his students to develop their own personal code of conduct and to live it every day (Level 6). He also calls this the Atticus Finch stage. If you need a refresher on Atticus Finch, you can check out the Wikipedia page, although I strongly recommend the Art of Manliness page.
Sharing your stuff with others doesn’t necessarily fit neatly into one of the six levels. It could be that sharing is not exactly a moral act, or it could be that I am defining morality a little too narrowly. Regardless of what it is, I believe that sharing openly with the rest of your community is Level 6 behavior. If you share freely and openly, then you’re not asking what’s in it for you. If you only share when you get something in return, you’re living your life as if it’s some sort of barter system. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but nothing inherently noble, either.
There are many examples of educators sharing their knowledge with other educators and asking for nothing in return. Typically they do receive things in return which are the gifts of sharing that others are giving.
Go ahead. Operate at Level 6. Share your expertise, your ideas, your tips & tricks. Sharing your knowledge with the Desire2learn Community by being a contributor is a great way of living at Level 6.
“If that’s true Barry, then why are you offering Discovery Points to contributors when that is clearly Level 2?”
(I can hear you all saying that, so I just quoted the whole lot of you at once.)
Good question. I know that you want to share because it’s the level 6 thing to do. However, we also have all these spare Discovery Points just laying around collecting dust. Don’t be offended if you receive some of them for your contributions to the D2L Community. Think of it as our way of sharing with you in return for your sharing with us.
Or, you might want to think about it as Level Eight. You’re at level six because you shared freely and openly, and you get a level two reward for doing so.