Method to Teach Common Sense

The following is literally a brain building exercise.  For an adult, the tools may be familiar and not especially challenging.  However, for the young and those never exposed to this environment, it can be mentally exhausting for the first few sessions.  Make this fun before trying to solve calculus or world problems.

Refereed Development
The primary purpose of higher education is to build brains to Efficiently Teach themselves, to become experts in anything Passionately pursued; practiced experience in expressing Common Sense.

Common Sense is NOT the sense common to everyone;

Common Sense IS the sense needed that is commonly shared in a group to be able to earn Respect.

Definitions related to Common Sense  – Click Here


A primary goal is proposed, and the group/class as a whole is to find the best path, in detail, of how to achieve the goal AND to orchestrate sustainable support for that goal.

The goal can be a math problem, a story, buying a house, science project, business plan, safety exercise, process improvement, home improvement, medical procedure, medical diagnosis…

The class/team is put into groups of three.

Initially, choose the Referee of each group based on their demonstrated abilities related to critical thinking. This will allow distribution of this ability among the 3-member teams formed.

Each of the three members of each group are assigned positions of Visionary, Scribe, and Referee.

The Visionary details the plan of action from start to finish; slowly so the Scribe has time to record the plan of action in detail, and restates themselves when the Referee points out reasoning issues.

The Scribe writes down the sequence as the Visionary describes a supportable goal and related insights; “clearly” printed or typed.  Printing is preferred because there is neural memory that occurs when printing, it requires no technology, and it builds a skill in taking notes that business and industry demands.

This helps build many communications skills that industry has cited as being weak among their employees.

The Scribe can only ask “I did not understand, can you say that differently?” or “Can you say the same things with as much detail, but with fewer words?” or “That seems vague, can you clarify?” while writing down the Visionary plan of action.

The Referee can only make comments about illogical expressions, gaps in consequences, and using words and phrases improperly out of context.

Neither the Scribe nor the Referee are allowed to contribute to the solution.

After the Visionary no longer can add useful relationships to consider, the roles for everyone in the group rotates. The Scribe becomes the Referee, the Referee becomes the Visionary, and the Visionary becomes the Scribe. The process repeats. The new Visionary can use part, all, or none of what the previous Visionary expressed.

Preventing participants from interacting outside of their designated role, helps prevent them from falling back on their strengths, and helps develop their weaknesses.

The new Scribe was the previous Referee and they now have the opportunity to quickly correct any relationships that the previous Scribe did not capture.

During this time the new Visionary is developing a plan of action.

The new Referee is writing down notes of what was logically missing in the previous plan of action.

The participants will recognize what they contributed without being told.

Without exception everyone will have something useful to contribute.

However, the inexperienced Scribe may not recognize potentially useful insights, relationships, and/or perspectives because of limited experience. So emotional Visionaries knowing there are insights not being captured and not getting credit for it, may voice or show their Disdain. Watch for it, listen, and give them their due when practical. As a pressure relief, ask the participants to quietly raise their hand if they feel they are not being credited for their contributions.

After the present visionary finishes, talk with the person with the raised hand to hear their perspective and maintain a sharing of information; and show trust when something is shared that is useful.

Being able to recognize that something personally contributed, was not useful, was vague, confusing, has gaps, or that needs further research, and letting others know so as not to corrupt what is gained, is very important for building self-respect.  Knowing you are not deceiving others, builds self-worth.

In a small room the instructor can change the person being listened to quite easily to scan from one group to the next; with the exception of soft spoken individuals. Only one person is speaking in a group.  A talking stick can be useful.

Each Visionary is given 5 minutes (more or less time to make it interesting from one session to the next) to express themselves and may forfeit their extra time.  If a Visionary needs more time, they can request more time from the group members.  Care should be taken to prevent one person from dominating the group as Visionary. The next Visionary picks up the challenge to provide the best path and may use what the previous person provided to build upon.

Recognizing the source of information is polite and contributes to shared respect. A simple casting of a glance toward the contributor is usually sufficient recognition.

Each person should have a notepad to capture individual concerns/questions, in addition to moments of inspiration (sometimes, moments of genius).  Each item noted should be preceded by a sequential number so Scribes can make notations where in the Visionary delivery the note occurred; i.e. “Referee note 3” notated as R3, “Scribe note 8” notated as S8.

Immediately after a person’s second rotation as Scribe, the Scribe then rotates to another group to be the Scribe in the new group. If these are timed using a central clock, then it is a natural movement from one group to the next.

A stick with a blue end, and the other end red, can be held by each person to keep track of first or second rotation as Scribe. To keep things interesting, any object of two states could be used.

The same or different common goal is used in each group, depending upon the instructor/host. The person who just came into a group becomes the Scribe (optionally Referee) of the new group. This gives the new person in a group the opportunity to hear the present line of reasoning before becoming Visionary themselves.

Rotation of Scribes between groups allows everyone to be exposed to new people as much as practical. This builds bonding between everyone as member skills build from one session to the next.  Diversity valued instead of avoided.

After every team finishes writing their best captured solution. These transcriptions are emailed to all the participants and every person critiques the logical reasoning, the gaps, and cited sustainable support. All of the comments are listed, and everyone rates each comment for perceived value, and why. Anyone who does not contribute significantly to critique is remediated for lack of effort, so that they learn to contribute consistently.

Initials are used in association with every comment. This both gives credit to, and provides reason for participation. No comment is ever given anonymously to encourage the building of self-esteem within the group.

The Referee verbally guides the expressions of the Visionary to cite three categories of weakness:
• logical,
• path of consequences,
• sustainable results.

Additionally, the Referee verbally guides the expressions of the Visionary to cite three categories of strength:
• emotional connection,
• social connection, and
• clarity of processes.

A list of characterized points given or taken is provided to each participant before the session starts so that they understand and clearly have the point’s relationships in their minds.
Types of issues in each category might include:
• logical inconsistencies,
• holes in considerations,
• vagueness
• …

and points are charged (contributing to or taken from) to the participant. Care should be taken to ensure the subjects of development and critique are NOT chosen to bolster the position of one or more persons in support of “Empire Building” (i.e. a type of corruption).

The act of stepping into an unknown group trains shyness out of interacting in a group setting. Practiced Experience is necessary so that the group contributes to each person’s self-esteem (the trust the group will support the individual), and related confidence (the trust one has in themselves to contribute useful relationships and perspectives).

Within 40 minutes of useful time in a class (business or school), the employees/students EACH have about 12 to 15 minutes of direct interpersonal contact time. Versus about 5 minute of personal contact time with a few employees/students and only occasional contact time measured in days or weeks with others in a traditional classroom/meeting. In a college/work environment, unless the instructor/supervisor forces the contact, a student/employee may not usefully talk to the instructor/supervisor the entire semester/quarter; this is a method of changing that relationship.

Refereed Development can also be restructured into a Debate Team. Corporations and school systems can create corporate competitions or after-school competitions related to business, math, physics, construction skills, customer generation, Green Energy, Political Science, and any number of other academic achievement clubs. The local business community can become part of these competitions to both fund, and participate in community developments (to include an Interns In Industry local program[1]).

Even in sports, the act of refereed development reinforces the reasoning underlying coached plays and training. The attempt to reason broadly for a better solution builds a broad foundation of interrelated understanding.

The outcome:

A society of communities that actively participate in the teaching and learning of Common Sense.

1. “Interns In Industry” refers to a model where local businesses support the needs of local schools (all grade levels, college, trade …), local Representatives lead related committees, and in turn schools provide support for related employee education for adults and their children.

Implementing Common Sense

Developing anything requires some skill in Project Management. Implementing project management depends upon Efficient Learning Skills; that are assisted by Research Tips & Tricks. To be a valuable part of a group to usefully choose information and skills to learn and share with the group requires Common Sense. To prevent others who want to abuse group resources for their own agendas, skills related to Recognizing Corruption are required; and subsequently what to do to prevent Sustained Corruption.

Growth of group power and influence requires developing a powerful mutually sustaining group.  Where member weaknesses are recognized without condescension (Arrogance) nor self-deceit (lack of Self-Respect) and the group together prevents significant harm to the group; all members have weaknesses.  Together the group determines a reasonable set of goals, and each member teaches themselves additional skills to support achieving those goals. Demonstrated success creates a reputation of perceived trust in the group and its members.  A bad reputation of an individual affects the reputation of the group.  So perceived value of the group depends upon training the individual members.

Other persons or groups with control over under-utilized resources, tend to offer access to those resources where there is trust additional under-utilized resources can be developed more than they currently control.  The group must be able to show evidence of being a low-risk significant resource for development.

During development, others outside the group who appear to be worthy of Access to Opportunities to earn respect, are provided an opportunity to teach themselves related to a low-risk low-value project benefiting the group.

Failure does not significantly harm the group; depending on many factors the person may be trained or excluded from the group. Success means providing the person a higher risk but more significant opportunity to develop. The person learns to mitigate higher risks, by sharing risks with others in the group (mentoring). As a result, a long string of successes benefits both the group and each individual.
A person without Common Sense, cannot usefully participate in development, so they are either used a placeholders to implement some form of control, or they are taught to “consistently” express Common Sense so they can learn to become a useful part of developments.

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