Scoutmaster Musings - Life EDGE Requirement

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Scoutmaster Musings

Life EDGE Requirement
I've been thinking about it, and I have a concern with this new requirement #6 for Life rank:

I love the idea of having higher-ranked scouts teaching lower ones and of using EDGE as a standard method of teaching. The interaction of scouts and the extra opportunity for younger advancement is great.

One of the listed skills that can be taught, for example, is Second Class #1-a:

So, the Star Scout gets a compass and a map and a Tenderfoot scout that has not yet learned this skill. He then explains the skill to be taught, demonstrates the skill, guides the Tenderfoot through the skill, and finally ensures the Tenderfoot is enabled to perform the skill all on his own.

Throughout this teaching, the scoutmaster should be watching that the EDGE method is being used. When the teaching is complete, the Tenderfoot would then demonstrate the skill to the scoutmaster to show he has learned it well enough.

Here's my concern ...
The scoutmaster should sign off on the Tenderfoot's advancement requirement since it was done to his satisfaction. Then, the scoutmaster signs off on the Life requirement, unless EDGE was not used or the Tenderfoot did not learn the skill.

This seems to push the "Learn It, Show It, Forget It" problem we're working to get past. In this scenario, the Tenderfoot may have seen a map and compass for the first time, parroted what the Star scout did, and got it signed off. In a day, or an hour, he may not remember how to orient a map.

The adults and Star, Life, and Eagle scouts in our troop teach skills to lower-ranked scouts. They often use EDGE. They sign off on T-2-1 scout skill requirements. But, they don't teach a skill and sign off at the same time. If a scout wants a 'demonstrate' advancement requirement signed off, instructing has been done earlier. The scout walks up, demonstrates, gets the sign off.

This new Life requirement seems to promote the teaching and signing off at the same time, which I've found to lessen retention. I'm still trying to work out the best way to handle this new requirement without adding to it, nor weakening the skill level of the scouts.

The best way I've come up with is interpreting "so that he is prepared to pass those requirements". Since it doesn't say "so that he passes those requirements", the scoutmaster might observe that the teaching was done and it appears that the Tenderfoot knows the skill good enough to get it signed off. But, he may not sign off right then, waiting for the Tenderfoot to demonstrate the skill at a later time. Letting the Tenderfoot know this is just a training time for him rather than a sign-off time might set expectations correctly.

Any constructive suggestions out there?

Scout On
Posted: 12:01 03-04-2010 485
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 Mar 04, 2010 - Clarke Green
I don't concern myself with quality and retention of skills because they are not an end in themselves.

Do Scouts have repeated opportunities to orient a map, set up a campsite and start a fire? They get good at it with practice and that practice comes naturally by doing things Scouts do. I am concerned that the program is lively, engaging and centered solidly in Scouting this produces advancement, not the other way round.

There is nothing implied in any requirement that that indicates a repeatable level of expertise. If that were the aim requirements would read 'orient a map on seven different occasions'.

I'd say that 80% of the requirements signed off by our older Scouts, and our older Scouts do 95% of the skill instruction.

The new life requirement is very specific but I have no doubt that my Scouts will have completed it several times over in the natural course of running their Troop.
Jul 08, 2010 - Larry Geiger
I have no clue where I'm going to go with this. I certainly do not have the time to watch every skill training session that happens. I usually evaluate things like this in a Scoutmaster conference. Perhaps I'll pull in the trainee during the Life Scout's conference and chat with the two of them? We'll see how that goes. YMMV.
Sep 24, 2010 - Tom Thibault
I think teaching and retaining the skills are more important than the menthod used. Too often I have seen Scouts at an advanced rank who can not tie a taut line or not remember hurry cases.

The aim is for the Scouts to learn the skills and be able to retain them, teach them and be competent! Too often it is ticket punching and moving on to the next rank.

These skills if REMEMBERED and display effiency and comptency set the Scouts apart. These skill may save a life some day. Proficiency not expediency to the next rank is the aim with the ability to show leadership.
Feb 23, 2013 - Donald Saunders
It seems that the idea begins with scouts and includes tracking of other scouts training by scouts.
If training can be coordinated through the patrol council this new requirement can reach a new level.
A proposal of how a scout chooses to teach a scouts choice can envolve perhaps too many possibilities.
If this first question is presented to the scouts as a challenge, many results could follow from the past, present or future answers charted by the patrol council.
How was the done before?
Was it done while camping, lecturing, activities, anyway the scout could imagine?
Could the training provide some history or planning objective at the patrol council meeting?
If the requirment could be discussed as an open ended concept by scouts on how to teach younger scouts they could "have an idea of how to teach and then lead".
If you encourage ideas from skits, games, chalenges, races, fire building or cooking events to training by an experienced adult leader, then they succeed.    

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