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The Patrol Method

Lessons and questions of Scout leadership and operating troop program

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  • LATEST POSTS

    • Strongly disagree, I've raised my kids to do what they're told if it's a good thing, the right thing, and the smart thing.  Neither rules nor authority are self justifying, they're means to accomplish ends, and if they're not accomplishing those ends they're due no great deference.
    • It's not your scouts, it's not the UK, and it's not just kids.  Humans are social animals, much of our behavior is determined by the dynamics and perceived structures of the group we're in at the time --- how we see ourselves in it, how we see others and their status or position in the group, and how those others see themselves and us.   Kids generally are in groups where there is a defined or assumed authority based on age, and they behave accordingly. In groups where the norm is to have some hierarchical structure it is more challenging than in a pure peer group to speak up and try to overcome instructions.  Overcoming that deference to the structure is a learned behavior --- on the part of everyone, including the folks who see themselves as a natural leader or authority figure in the group. A great example of this and how it applies even to adults with a lot of expertise can be seen in the deliberate change in the "cockpit culture" of modern commercial aviation.  Post WWII. as commercial air transport grew in size, an analysis of accidents and near misses revealed that many were due to over deference in the cockpit to the pilot's decisions.  Other members of the cockpit team recognized when mistakes were being made or problems overlooked, but they were reluctant to point them out because the pilot was supposed to be in command and questioning his judgment was anti-social.  In addition, even when errors or omissions were pointed out by subordinates, pilots routinely ignored them because of the same social dynamics.  Today, every member of an aircrew is trained in overcoming the natural reluctance to speak up, and pilots are trained to ignore their own bias towards dismissing subordinate concerns and to take them seriously and respond appropriately to them.  This has driven down human error accidents dramatically. What you saw at the motorcycle accident, and your scouts' reluctance to speak up, are the natural norms.  You will be doing your scouts a great service if you continue to train and drill them in ways to overcome normal group dynamics, especially in an emergent or dangerous situation.    
    • I had one of those clown/know it all Scouts in an Indian Lore MB class. I didn't intentionally mean to shut him down, it just happened. We were discussing games, and the topic was lacrosse. He asked which is the more dangerous: lacrosse or rugby. At first I told him, "I don't know." and the smirk on his face appeared. Then thinking about it I said, " While the joke with rugby players is 'give blood, play rugby," there are still rules and no consequences for losing. Whereas for some First Nations, lacrosse is called "the little brother of war." There were little to no rules, violence, injures and even death on the field can and did occur, and for some nations the losers were enslaved or even executed by the victors. So in my opinion Lacrosse is the more dangerous game." You could have heard a pin drop after that response.And I had no more problems with him.
    • Then there is the class clown or know it all kid that will challenge everybody for the sake of making a scene or arguing with others. Those obviously exist, but my experience with my Scouts has been more of the opposite. 
    • Seeing this in my CCD, aka Sunday School, class.I teach Confirmation 2nd year, and had most of the students last year. Several I have known since Cub Scouts. It is like pulling teeth to get them to open up and have conversations with.
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