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Putting Patrol method in IOLS Test-out..

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  • #16
    Actually IOLS has changed little from the outdoor skills portion of the old SM fundamentals course. In fact all they did if memory serves was divide SMF into two component: the indoor intro and how a troop meeting is done, and the outdoor, i.e. IOLS. And from what I've seen, read, and done, the IOLS of today is about 95% of what I went through back in 1992 or 1993. And the 5% difference is basicaly the LNT stuff.

    If done right the participants are living in a patrol and doing those skills over the weekend, not just watching. Thats BALOO with the CS leaders. Grant you not everyone follows the book, unfortunately I saw that first hand, and that may be your council's problem.


    • #17
      First off our council does not required Woodbadger "only" to be on our staff, I say they are good enough to be the tester, then that is that.. My only requirement will be that to be a tester, they have completed the IOLS test themselves.

      I first was thinking that I would have the participants move from station to station. The rope station, the map/compass station etc.. But then I thought of them with backpacks and packing and unpacking it at each station for whatever supplies they need etc. So the time for that caused me to ditch the idea.

      I then thought about assigning one tester to one participant (this was before the need to make some things patrol oriented).. And the thought that many who test scouts out of tenderfoot - 1st class should have the skills for all, but then most testers would be more comfortable testing what they are comfortable with, not all.. (Like don't have me test anyone for knots & lashing..)

      So right now my idea is to have the participants park it.. They pitch their tent, and do most stuff at this site.. For Flags & ax yard they can leave their site to go to where it is located.. Then having the testers doing the moving because they are not lugging equipment with them.

      I fail to see why you think adding the Patrol method is a "HUGE increase".. How much time does it take to do a scout cheer or wave a Patrol flag?? If you need to tie knots then what difference does it make that you do it in a game setting or not?

      The checklist for sign-off is set by National.. The fact they need to demonstrate is by National.. This is a "show competence that is suitable knowledge that you would expect of any first class scout.. I would see plant identification being something more of a choice of the participants what plants they wish to identify, as the scout requirement allow the scout the choice of which plants they wish to identify, rather then making an impossible test that you would need to be in the forestry industry to pass.. It would be more like choose 2 - 3 plants Identify them.. Of course they will be limited by the vegetation that is close by.. Now because the choice is theirs I would need the tester to be the forester that knows everything in order to know if they are correct or not.


      • #18
        "My only requirement will be that to be a tester, they have completed the IOLS test themselves."

        Entirely reasonable.

        But, the problem is that in our Council at least, not one of the 20 - 25 Scouters we know well enough to judge could themselves pass the IOLS test. No doubt there are some Scouters in the Council who could. Several rural troops who keep to themselves apparently have high skills, which suggests that their leaders do, too. But, among the highly visible active leaders, none could pass.

        Oops. Backing up -- there's a retired Marine who's started a new backpacking only troop who possibly could. Dunno for sure.

        TN Scout Troop


        • #19
          Could a first class scout pass the test they give you?? If not then you are not being given a fair test. If first class scout could pass, and most adult scouters could not, then your adults need training..

          But, you do bring up a valid point, that of the differences in troops from allowing scouts to pass requirements because they watched someone on time do it, to those that refuse to pass a scout unless he has the backwoodsman skill of Daniel Boone.. It means making sure my testers understand they are testing people to be knowledgable at a First class level not the level of the Instructor for the IOLS course, and that the pass/fail is that they know the subject matter well, not that every word uttered was 100% correct (like if your son got his boxwood identification messed up, and this is one sentence uttered out of a 5 minute discussion on plants & animals, and even if he tripped up in 1 or 2 other places, but he is 85 - 90% accurate with what he says, this should be a pass with verbal correction where needed...

          Also it may be a good idea to put together at least one group of referees made up of 3 people all from different units to be called in and vote on a disagreement between trainer & participant over a pass/fail on a subject matter.


          • #20
            TN makes a pretty good point: there's no pass/fail test at the end of the course. Sounds like they're trying to hold the test out folks to a much higher standard than those who take the course. Don't let the council folks derail you by raising the expectations beyond what is reasonable.

            The Patrol Method issue is a red herring. Sitting in the woods with six strangers for one weekend doesn't teach the patrol method. In that time you can teach folks some specifics -- like the 300' rule, the PLs job and how adults should and shouldn't interact with patrols -- all of which can be tested. But hanging out for one weekend doesn't add much to that process.

            I think the challenge is in developing a reasonable scoring system for the test which allows participants to demonstrate reasonable skill proficiency and factors that different folks will have different levels of expertise in different areas. Honestly, I think the test and scoring should be developed nationally, the same way the course syllibi are.


            • #21
              Well, they do give you a test "check-off" list.. Some is hard to mis-interpret.. Some can be mis-interpreted, and abused by any district trainers who really don't want to use the test-out option, and want to discourage it. Also by well-meaning trainers who just are very, very strict on their interpretation of how to test.. It could go the otherway also with trainers who pass you because you pointed to a tree and said "tree" in order to pass out of plant identification..

              It would be hard to get a handle on the interpretation, same as it is hard to unify all troops to be standardized in how the move scouts through Tenderfoot-first class..

              Take something on the test-out checklist for Clove hitch or Bowline.. This should be hard for anyone to make easier or harder to accomplish, either you know it or you don't.

              But take some others on the checklist.. Ax_methods, map reading, Orienteering.. You could basically make these very easy or very hard based on if you feel the person should know the info as any first Class Scout.. (ie basic training.. meaning getting the basics of the subject matter..) Or if you feel in order to test out you had better know To the level of a professional from that field.. (which I believe you are expecting something far more then your basics from these people)..

              But even if a trainer takes the meaning of basic to heart, and trains for the knowledge you expect from a First Class Scout.. Each unit has a different level of expectation as to what that level should be, so still you will get different interpretations.

              So yes, I agree this will be a major challenge for the test-out. Unless some of my nay-sayer people from outside my district come to the training day, and wish to be one of the testers, I would figure I will have only people who wish the test-out option to be successful as my trainers. Still there will be a need to have referees help settle disputes, I am sure, just due to different interpretations of what basic means..


              • #22
                Basementdweller writes:

                Do IOLS requirements state very clearly anything about the patrol method???

                No, the current official "Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills" (ItOLS) course outline specifies the "Buddy System," NOT the Patrol Method:

                This program works best when implemented by having participants pair off with a buddy to do each skill. Since skills-training involves, among other things, memorization, the buddy system allows you to teach (with sufficient instructors to ensure learning and participation) and have each participant practice the task with enough repetition to learn the skill well. Adults have a fear of failure, so working with a buddy teaches with positive reinforcement and helps eliminate the possibility of nonparticipation or embarrassment in a large group.

                The focus on learning by doing makes the buddy system approach the key difference between this course and merely showing how to accomplish a skill (ItOLS course outline, page 7).

                Likewise the Course Evaluation asks about the Buddy System, NOT the Patrol Method:

                Did you enjoy the buddy system? (ItOLS, page 94).

                Presumably the participants learned everything they need to know about the Patrol Method in SM-Specific Training where a Wood Badge expert took 20 minutes to explain that the Patrol Method = Adult Association + EDGE, and does include a Patrol or a Patrol Leader (SM & ASM Specific Training, pages 53-61)

                So, the real question here is: "How do we add to the requirements?"

                "Real" Scouting is defined by physical distance.

                When I serve as ItOLS course director, I put the Patrols in separate "Troop" campsites, so they are 300 feet apart, and I march them around to distant skills instruction areas as much as possible. I do like the idea of teaching ItOLS cooking with at least one Patrol meal prepared out on the trail using backpacking stoves!

                But how do we slip the Patrol Method into an ItOLS Test-Out?

                Good luck: The purpose of BSA Training is to replace the "Real" Patrol Method with indoor CEO-Wannabe skills.

                Why do we have an ItOLS course in the first place? Because Wood Badge kicked out Baden-Powell's Scoutcraft.

                "Real" Scouting is defined by physical distance.

                Understand that the purpose of Baden-Powell's Wood Badge is to teach Scoutmasters how to prepare a Second Class Scout for the test of his mastery of Scoutcraft on the "First Class Journey" (a 14 mile Overnight with no adult supervision), and (in both B-P & GBB's WB) how to teach Patrol Leaders to take their Patrols on unsupervised Patrol Hikes at least once or twice a month, and (after each proves himself) extended Patrol Hikes called "Patrol Overnights."

                So "Real" Scouting takes Real Leadership, which is grounded in Real Scoutcraft, not checking stuff off a list as in ItOLS.

                "Real" Scouting is defined by physical distance.

                So to allow an adult to test-out of ItOLS, I would require an him or her to be able to go on a First Class Journey alone or with only a single buddy, according to the Scoutcraft standards of 1916, specified by law in our Congressional Charter:


                Or Baden-Powell's version, which is more to the point:

                (9) Journey. Go on foot or row a boat, alone or with another Scout, for a total distance of fourteen miles, or ride an animal or bicycle (not motor) a distance of thirty miles; he must write a short report of the journey with special attention to any points to which he may be directed by the Examiner or his Scoutmaster (a route map of the journey is not required). The journey should occupy about twenty-four hours and camping kit for the night must be taken and used. Whenever practicable, the camp site must be of the Scout's own choosing, and not where other Scouts are camping. His S.M. or Examiner may indicate the route and suggest the approximate area but not the actual position where he will make his camp... This test should normally be the final one taken for the First -Class badge.


                So, the adult's "short report of the Journey" would include a list of all of the Tenderfoot through First Class Scoutcraft skills he or she used on the Journey, with a passing score of say, 65% of the requirements.

                "Real" Scouting is defined by physical distance.

                In the spirit of this thread's adding the Patrol Method to the aggressively lame ("Did you enjoy the buddy system?") ItOLS requirements, I would require the adult to take the other adult leaders (or the Troop's Patrol Leaders) on a Patrol Overnight, based on the common Baden-Powell Second Class requirement:

                Go on an eight-mile daytime Journey (minimum) with at least three other Scouts. Your Patrol Leader will set your route, and a specific objective will be given. Make an oral report from notes to your Patrol Leader immediately upon your return. Your Scoutmaster must know your hiking route, and must approve your plan in advance. If additional Scouts are taking the test, each will report independently.


                To prove an adult's real-world, practical understanding of the Patrol Method, I would also require a letter from his Troop's Patrol Leaders certifying that the Troop camps its Patrols 300 feet apart on at least one campout per year, and at least one Patrol Leader is competent enough to conduct an independent Patrol Overnight (if only on the opposite end of a Boy Scout camp during a Troop campout).

                So those are the "Test Out" standards that I would require.

                Yours at 300 feet,


                "Real" Scouting is defined by physical distance.

                You want your Patrol to be a real one, and only a hiking Patrol is a real Patrol...One of your greatest services as a Patrol Leader is to try to make your Patrol into a Camping Patrol trained in the ways of the experienced campers. This takes time. It takes also patience and perseverance. But it can be done, and you are will under way toward doing it, the day you have made your boys into real hikers... (BSA Handbook for Patrol Leaders by William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt).

                "Real" Scouting is defined by physical distance.

                Patrols are ready to go hiking and camping on their own just as soon as the Patrol Leader has been trained, and the Scouts have learned to take care of themselves....It should be your goal to get your Patrol Leaders qualified for hike and camp leadership at an early stage (BSA Handbook for Scoutmasters by William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt).


                • #23
                  Why did I know that Kudu would think the idea of what is considered by National as having the patrol method incorporated in the training is lame??..

                  Sorry Kudu.. I don't think I can alter the checkoff list for the test out from National That much! Sounds like a fun "Beyound the Basics" course for an elective supplemental training..


                  • #24
                    moosetracker writes:

                    Sounds like a fun "Beyond the Basics" course for an elective supplemental training.

                    Yes, it should be a week long, designed by Baden-Powell and William Hillcourt, and be called something "woodsy" like, um: "Wood Badge"


                    • #25

                      We all know that WB21C has taken the place of WB, so that aint gonna happen.

                      May I suggest a different name: Brownsea

                      Reread the post and something struck me. Prior to WB21C, Outdoor skills was a part of SM Fundamentals. So outdoor skills was part of basic SM trianing.

                      My understanding, and again this is based upon what I've read and been told, is that the original WB was to give the SM advanced mastery of outdoor skills.

                      (This message has been edited by Eagle92)


                      • #26
                        May I suggest a different name for the CEO-Wannabe course: Work Badge


                        • #27
                          Well, I never got to take the old Woodbadge, but I know that IOLS replaced Scouting Fundamentals, and my husband at that time took Scouting Fundamentals. He took the last course. The next year when I took it, it had changed to IOLS.. I know SM fundamentals was a much better course, when we compared notes, I thought I was cheated. Therefore I don't understand why you think IOLS is what replaced the original Woodbadge program.. To me it is a watered down replacement for Scouting Fundamentals, which was what the course run with the original Woodbadge program.. So both these courses took a hit to what they taught in Scoutcraft.

                          In my opinion IOLS rushes though the basic skills too fast for people who need to learn the skills.. They have time to get a glimpse of what they need to learn from others in their troops where they will have the luxury of time to truely learn it.

                          Probably the reason I don't have the viewpoint that eagle scouts & Adults who can DO a test-out for the basic skills are still in need of listening to our trainers go through their course.. If they feel they can test-out then they are more knowledgable then those who are totally green after having a course in IOLS, because these people, after the course, may know a sprinkling of this & that, but I do not belive they learned everything so well, they could do the test-out, directly after coming out of the course.

                          Maybe if we still ran Scouting Fundamentals, I would think the course was worth taking whether you knew the basics or not..


                          • #28
                            Pergo Badge?

                            I just finished IOLS. Although it was enjoyable hanging out with the other members of my Patrol, and exchanging info on equipment and good places to take the kids hiking, I wouldn't say I "learned the Patrol Method." As a matter of fact, I'd consider "the Patrol Method" part of the book learning - the concepts, why it's important, what it's supposed to accomplish. Those are things you can read about. I'm not sure there's a whole lot to be learned by a bunch of 30+ year old adults spending a weekend as a "patrol." Adults are fairly used to working in small, independent groups without close supervision. Kids aren't, that's why the Patrol Method matters - they get an introduction to the way the world really works and get to develop their abilities in a realistic group environment.

                            So, maybe you can test them on their knowledge of how the Patrol Method works. Show them a few diagrams of different campsites and ask which one best represents the Patrol Method (e.g. one diagram has the entire troop concentrated around the central fire pit, one has the patrols dispersed 100 feet apart, the third has them 300 feet apart).

                            As to the other objections you listed from your council...

                            They are not staying in the tent over night..
                            A Scout(er) is Trustworthy. Ask them if they've spent at least 10 nights (or whatever you think is the right number) sleeping in a tent the last two years. If Yes, they pass.

                            They may know older methods and not the newer ones. Like changes to Leave no trace..
                            LNT should be web-based training like YPT. Until then, give the testees a written test on it. You're not going to be conducting IOLS in a Wilderness area anyway, they'll be camping at an established Council camp with plenty of durable surfaces, so they won't have any real chance to practice LNT.

                            They want the people with the knowledge in their classes to teach those who don't have the knowledge..
                            That only works once - right now when all the experienced folks are signing up for training because they'll need it to recharter next year. After this year, you won't have very many experienced people taking IOLS, it'll all be newbies. And besides, newbies need way more than two weekends, they need mentors who will go with them on the Troop camping trips.


                            • #29
                              Really One or two nights should work. Many people talk about IOLS as 2 weekends. By the book it is 2 1/4 days Friday night thru sunday or some do the Friday night part a week or two early then only have one tent night between sat/sun..

                              When Required training hits, they will only have one year from when the register to train (unless they register for a committee position for a year or two and still go on outings.) Therefore asking them for 10 camping nights over a 2 year period would make the test-out basically impossible to accomplish, they only would have 1 year to do 10 camping nights..

                              Possibly some paper or verbal tests may work, I guess I may be hooked on the word "demonstrate" a little too much..

                              After this year, you won't have very many experienced people taking IOLS, it'll all be newbies.

                              Same with the test-out, we will have a large group who want test-out up to when they are forced to get passed in the IOLS course. Then there will be a trickle of people who were maybe registered as committee members, but had been in the troop long enough to learn it, those whose personal intrest have them naturally trained. Or those that just moved from Eagle scout into Adult leadership.

                              The big thing with Training groups accepting and using the test-out option fairly to get volunteers through is the fact you are showing volunteers you are working with them and for them to help them get through the required training. If you just play a power trip of "you must come to my class or else you don't know squat, because I know far more then you".. type of game with eagle scouts and scoutmaster of 5 to 20+ years, you set up an "us" vs "them" and you don't have a working relationship. Now try asking them to help staff your trainings.. You will get little help from them..


                              • #30
                                Moosetracker, it's our understanding Wood Badge (the week of Scoutcraft training) was replaced by Wood Badge (the weekends of corporate management training) . . . not IOLS. As we understand it, the old Wood Badge DID take Scouter to the point of POSSESSING First Class skills, but we're not aware of any other class that has done so. You seem to be coming up with a test that would be valid after a week long Scoutcraft Wood Badge.

                                IOLS (in our Council) is a "butt credit" course (if your butt's in the chair at the right place and time, you get credit) taught by people who often don't have the skill they are teaching. THERE IS NO TEST WHATSOEVER.

                                We want our new leaders to be taught by people who have the skill taught, and we want them to 'pass' only after they've learned the basics of those skills themselves. But -- as desirable as it might be -- we aren't deluding ourselves into thinking that new and unskilled Scouters can acquire full First Class skills in one or two weekends.

                                We don't think a test that requires them to do so is reasonable, especially since the test you describe could not be passed by 75% of the IOLS instructors or 95% of the IOLS graduates we've seen. It's reasonable for test-out to require more skill than IOLS, which in our Council requires none. But it's not reasonable for test-out to require what only a 'real' Wood Badge class could provide.

                                The OTHER issue with the test you describe is that it's so comprehensive that setting it up would be nearly as difficult and time-consuming as setting up an IOLS course. Of course, that may be the goal of your committee. If so, it would parallel the classic bureaucratic approach of sandbagging a proposal that's disliked, without actually opposing it publicly.

                                TN Scout Troop