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  #61   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 07-17-2018, 12:05 PM
Oblarg Oblarg is offline
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Re: Mentor coded robots

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
Plot a function on the range of (0,1) [1] where the output is the appropriate percentage of mentor involvement. The variables include MentorCommunicationStyle, StudentLearningStyle, Problem, TimeAvailable, InspirationOfFailure[2], InspirationOfSuccess.. and I'm sure I'm missing a few.

It's a pretty crazy plot isn't it?

That plot is worthless because the amount of effort to enumerate all the options and their impact. That's your "optimal" line. It's pointless. But that's the answer to the OP's questions. "Here look at this chart with a couple billion options and find your case"

I already suggested a more valuable discussion to have, how do we recognize and adapt mentor style and involvement. It's a very related question but it moves the problem from "let's draw lines in the sand" to "how can we inspire better"... Maybe I'm crazy for thinking one is worthwhile and the other is going to be washed away by the tide.


[1] I refuse to acknowledge white glove teams as acceptable in a Mentor based program. Don't @ me.

[2] This could represent the cost of failure in inspiration, but it can also be a positive if the student in question learns that way.
Perhaps an analogy might help to demonstrate my point: how is the argument you've made here substantially different than, say, complaining about the existence of feminism because "there are so many other factors that we need to look at other than gender?"

That it is a complicated multidimensional problem-space does not itself mean that it is not fruitful to sometimes discuss one dimension in particular. That requires a more detailed argument than what you're giving here.
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Unread 07-17-2018, 01:07 PM
Andrew Schreiber Andrew Schreiber is offline
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Re: Mentor coded robots

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Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
Perhaps an analogy might help to demonstrate my point: how is the argument you've made here substantially different than, say, complaining about the existence of feminism because "there are so many other factors that we need to look at other than gender?"

That it is a complicated multidimensional problem-space does not itself mean that it is not fruitful to sometimes discuss one dimension in particular. That requires a more detailed argument than what you're giving here.
That is more accurate than you believed. I'm complaining Feminism needs to exist because men are unwilling to look in the mirror and say "what can I do better?"

Inb4 someone quotes only a small fraction of this and jumps down my throat for complaining feminism exists...
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Unread 07-17-2018, 02:00 PM
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Re: Mentor coded robots



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Unread 07-17-2018, 04:06 PM
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Re: Mentor coded robots

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Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
This thread is not mentor shaming. The OP went to great lengths to make clear that it was not mentor shaming. It is entirely reasonable to discuss what the "optimal" degree of mentor involvement in a given aspect of FRC is. Is this team-specific and hard to generalize about? Sure, and the discussion should reflect that.

But it is puerile and betrays a certain fragility of ego to attempt to stamp out a discussion like this because of the whiff of "anti-mentor sentiment." A lot of you should be ashamed.
One does not say "This is not X" and then proceed to lay out a series of statements that imply the opposite, if they do not want to say that X is true, especially on CD.

If you have to put "This is not X" in the post, you are at best acknowledging that you may be seen as doing X, and at worst trying a late cover-up. I suspect this time is closer to the first.

BUT...better than 90% of threads like this are, in fact, doing X.
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Unread 07-17-2018, 04:19 PM
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Re: Mentor coded robots

I'm probably responding too late into this for it to be read by anyone that it may be useful to, and I may sound like a broken record, but I'm going to post anyway. I think there's a subtle difference between what I'm saying and a lot of what I read, even if we're in complete agreement.

I think when people bring up "mentor built" vs "student built" I think the heart of the matter is really what are the mentors responsible for and what are the students responsible. It still varies from team to team (and student to student), but I think this really addresses the issue.

My responsibilities as a "lead" mentor are:
1) Make sure students are safe
2) Make sure students want to contribute to the team
3) Make sure students have an environment they can learn in
4) a bunch of other stuff (help find sponsors, train students, work with the school district, etc)
5) mentor the students through building a robot. Depending a lot on 2 + 3 above, this may involve anything from CAD, writing code, picking up tools, showing videos, walking through math at a whiteboard, teaching from powerpoints, walking students through how another team solved a problem, asking questions, sitting at a desk and doing my own work but being available for questions, etc. People get hung up a lot on this while ignoring 2 and 3.

Some other mentors might have very reduced responsibilities:
1) Make sure students are safe
2) help students build a robot

Ideally most or all mentors have 2-4 in the "lead" mentor responsibilities...but that's just not going to happen for all mentors on all teams.

Student responsibilities vary greatly from student to student. Until they get to the point where they are wanting to contribute to the team, that is my focus as a mentor. Then, if they're wanting to contribute to the team - the environment for them to learn from might be me stepping away and letting them run with it, or it might be me there solving the problem side by side. Sometimes depending on the problem it might even be me doing it entirely the first few times to show them.

TL;DR - when you hear mentor built vs student built, reframe to mentor responsibilities vs student responsibilities.
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Unread 07-17-2018, 04:39 PM
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Re: Mentor coded robots

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Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
This thread is not mentor shaming.

[snip]

.......A lot of you should be ashamed.
I cannot make this up.
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Unread 07-17-2018, 04:54 PM
Oblarg Oblarg is offline
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Re: Mentor coded robots

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Originally Posted by EricH View Post
One does not say "This is not X" and then proceed to lay out a series of statements that imply the opposite, if they do not want to say that X is true, especially on CD.
The OP didn't imply that, unless you chose to read that into it. I don't think the OP was particularly well-constructed, but it wasn't posed as a normative statement about what mentors ought to do. If the OP's intent was to shame mentors who "do too much," then the fact that everyone responded this way was more efficacious at spreading that sentiment than the OP ever would have been on its own. I'm a programming mentor who has done quite a bit of "hands-on" coding for my teams in the past, and I didn't feel impugned by the OP.

Quote:
If you have to put "This is not X" in the post, you are at best acknowledging that you may be seen as doing X, and at worst trying a late cover-up. I suspect this time is closer to the first.
The first case is a really important tool for being able to discuss fraught subjects productively, though, and I really don't think it's a good idea as a community to become hostile to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmileH View Post
I cannot make this up.
If you can't see the difference between "the OP should not cause a reasonable person to feel shame" and "some people should be ashamed for the way they have responded to this thread," I'm afraid that we might have trouble communicating further. These aren't contradictory in any way, they're totally different things.
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Unread 07-17-2018, 06:46 PM
AlexanderTheOK AlexanderTheOK is offline
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Re: Mentor coded robots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
The OP didn't imply that, unless you chose to read that into it. I don't think the OP was particularly well-constructed, but it wasn't posed as a normative statement about what mentors ought to do. If the OP's intent was to shame mentors who "do too much," then the fact that everyone responded this way was more efficacious at spreading that sentiment than the OP ever would have been on its own. I'm a programming mentor who has done quite a bit of "hands-on" coding for my teams in the past, and I didn't feel impugned by the OP.
The OP is aware of previous Mentor Built™ discussions, and is thus aware that the title Mentor Built™ is reserved for teams on which the speaker believes the mentors are building too much of the robot. The term is most commonly used to deride high performing teams.

The OP then asks members of the forum to draw a line (well with 13 questions its more of a hyperplane) in the sand between robots where one specific aspect of the robot is Mentor Built™ and robots where that aspect is not, and lazily re-brands it "Mentor Coded."

The OP makes no attempt to separate the obviously derived new term from the originals derisive context, thus it is entirely reasonable for readers to assume that the OP has no intent of doing so.

When so many people "misinterpret" the OP, it's the OPs fault, and they are either incredibly bad at communicating, or are just lazily covering their butts.

Since the OP recently graduated, and I know most mentors attempt to teach their students to communicate effectively, I'm betting on option two.
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Unread 07-17-2018, 07:34 PM
Oblarg Oblarg is offline
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Re: Mentor coded robots

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Originally Posted by AlexanderTheOK View Post
The OP is aware of previous Mentor Built™ discussions, and is thus aware that the title Mentor Built™ is reserved for teams on which the speaker believes the mentors are building too much of the robot. The term is most commonly used to deride high performing teams.
The term is often abused in this way - but I will profess that during my time on these forums, I've seen it used in good faith and misinterpreted as something malicious about as many times as I've seen it used genuinely in bad faith.

This is something where I think we, as members of the forum, entirely have the power to make the situation a whole lot better by adopting a policy of being charitable. As I mentioned in an earlier post, not only does doing that lessen the chance of sustained misinterpretation, but it also robs the ability of genuinely ill-intentioned posts to start drama in the first place.

Quote:
The OP then asks members of the forum to draw a line (well with 13 questions its more of a hyperplane) in the sand between robots where one specific aspect of the robot is Mentor Built™ and robots where that aspect is not, and lazily re-brands it "Mentor Coded."

The OP makes no attempt to separate the obviously derived new term from the originals derisive context, thus it is entirely reasonable for readers to assume that the OP has no intent of doing so.
Yeah, and this was a bad way to frame the post and the OP could have done better. Won't argue there.

Quote:
When so many people "misinterpret" the OP, it's the OPs fault, and they are either incredibly bad at communicating, or are just lazily covering their butts.

Since the OP recently graduated, and I know most mentors attempt to teach their students to communicate effectively, I'm betting on option two.
I'm not sure what the value of assigning fault is, here - I don't think it changes the fact that most people who are reading this and getting angry have the very simple option of just "not reading the OP as a callout when it contains numerous caveats saying that it is not one and moving on."

I suppose one might object that doing that allows the OP to function as a sort of dogwhistle, and there's something to that, I guess; but I'd really just ask, at that point, a dogwhistle to whom? I don't think there's some populous underclass of closeted-mentor-haters on Chief Delphi who need to signal to each other. Even if there were, why care about them?
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Unread 07-17-2018, 10:22 PM
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Re: Mentor coded robots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
The OP didn't imply that, unless you chose to read that into it. I don't think the OP was particularly well-constructed, but it wasn't posed as a normative statement about what mentors ought to do. If the OP's intent was to shame mentors who "do too much," then the fact that everyone responded this way was more efficacious at spreading that sentiment than the OP ever would have been on its own. I'm a programming mentor who has done quite a bit of "hands-on" coding for my teams in the past, and I didn't feel impugned by the OP.
I can see how it can be taken either way. FWIW, I'm 90% sure and certain that the disclaimer was not there prior to editing. Try reading the opening post, ignoring that the disclaimer exists. I just did that. There's what I would consider a slight--very slight--implication due to the comparisons to mentor-built robots. Some people have hair triggers. Given the amount of flamewars I've seen in the last decade on this site caused by similar threads, I'm more aimed at using fire extinguishers!



I believe the proper way to ask the question would have been something along the lines of:
How much coding do your mentors and students do, and for whom? Is there a division of labor, and how much? What would your opinion be on (a few other broad scenarios involving different divisions of labor)?




I remember a few years back a kid (who came from an FLL background) posted a similar thing about a given team, but was highly specific enough that people quickly figured out the team. He was informed that this is FRC, not FLL, that there was nothing wrong with that, and that there was also nothing wrong with his team's method of all-student work (though maybe a mentor would be nice). He acknowledged the lack of knowledge, and the thread ended faster than this one, as I recall.
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