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Nessmuk

What would you do differently in Training?

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From another thread... I answered what I would do/am doing differently in Basic Adult Leader Training (based on my comments about my Wood Badge experience) I was primarily focusing on Non-Wood Badge training in my response.

 

What would you all do?

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Nessmuk, great ideas and I can tell its something you have put a lot of thought into and the unit you serve is lucky to have you as well as the District, Council, etc. And this is a great way to move along the discussion Thank You

 

An aspect of training that is often overlooked is the educational level of the materials. Given the breadth of the volunteer base, this has to be an issue

 

Given the following scale, where should the materials be placed?

 

Post Graduate

Baccalaureate

Associates

High School

8th grade

6th grade

Other

 

At what educational level should training be placed in the BSA?

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That's a tough one. As a former District Trainer, I have had a wide range of student abilities, ranging from 18 yo high school students to MDs and PhDs, and all the blue collars and white collars and soccer moms in between. In my professsion, I have had a lot of experience in developing training and teaching adults, so I try not to "talk down" to anyone, but if there are questions, make sure they get answered before they leave, even if it meant "staying after class". It is challenging, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the BSA materials are at the appropriate level, I just had issues with time...they allowed just enough time to read the syllabus and play the videos. Anything more in depth than that, and we ran overtime.

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Newspapers vary in their reading level - some at 5th Grade (USA Today) and some at maybe 10th Grade (Wall Street Journal).. I would pick something in between (8th to 9th) for Leader Training - not too high for unskilled or blue collar and not too far down for college grads. There's always higher level (usu. older) materials for the more educated.. But you always need a basis that will catch most everyone.

 

I wonder what level military manuals are written at.. That would be a good data point.

 

 

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Target about 15 years ago was 9th grade, for most Army operator and organizational maintenance technical manuals and all training circulars.

 

Field manuals can be written up to postgraduate level (chaplain, legal, and medical). Most branch specific stuff is bachelor's degree level.

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Whenever I conduct training, I try to use 8th grade as a baseline. However, If I can determine that higher or lower, I change accordingly. Honestly, I don't see much point in going much beyond high school level anyway.

 

If I use what I think might be an unfamiliar term, I define it first and then continue to use it.

 

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"What would you all do?"

 

Going along with SctLdr's comments about the syllabus and videos, there isn't any time allowed for discussion. Also, the basic BSA premise is that if you sit in the room, you are trained. There really should be some sort of basic exam to get your certificates.

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The first thing I'd do differently is to recruit people who have experience with running trainings in their day jobs, whenever possible. The second thing I'd do differently is to insist that they be brought onto the training team well in advance, rather than 2 days before, or worse yet, the day of the training. I am not talking about emergency situations here; I'm talking about lack of planning and lack of coordination. (These have been recurring themes in my area in the past, and they drive me absolutely bonkers.)

 

Staffing issues aside, I'd focus more on the "how to" practical aspects of the job, especially in cub leader training. People want to know tips, ideas, etc. and not just the big picture philosophy (though that's important). Sure Round Table exists for this reason too and I'm not saying basic leader training should replace or replicate RT, but a little more of that hands on focus would make new leaders feel confident that they could actually run a meeting, once they'd been to training.

 

For committee members (particularly for troops) I would put more emphasis on how to run a committee meeting (robert's rules) and on how to manage conflict among adults. A lot of committees get into trouble because they have no idea how to get things done in the absence of unanimity. Consensus is great but it isn't always going to come about.

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I gotta agree with Scoutmaster52 on this. Most training should be offered at summer camp and camporees. The people who need the training are already there, the boys are off doing something else anyway, may as well conduct training.

 

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"The first thing I'd do differently is to recruit people who have experience with running trainings in their day jobs, whenever possible. The second thing I'd do differently is to insist that they be brought onto the training team well in advance, rather than 2 days before, or worse yet, the day of the training."

 

Don't know about that. Sounds good but the worst teachers that I ever had were college professors (some of the best were college professors as well) as well, likewise a state teaching credential doesn't indicate an ability to teach, it shows that you passed a test.

 

When I first joined the district training team, there were meetings weeks in advance of the event to get up to speed on the material and with tips on how to present the material. I recall one fellow saying, "I have a masters in education," I don't need to come to your meetings. He was dis-invited.

 

What makes a good teacher? Enthusiasm for the subject. Knowledge of the subject. The ability to express concepts in different ways to connect with the students.

 

Where do you find good teachers? Everywhere. The fellow who signed me off as a shooting instructor was a high school teacher and he was horrible. The guy who first taught me how to drive on a track was an engineering student.

 

 

 

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"The first thing I'd do differently is to recruit people who have experience with running trainings in their day jobs, whenever possible."

 

I would disagree with that.

 

There are many people who do training as their 'day job' who are frankly poor trainers/teachers.

 

I know of many people who do training/presenting not as their paid job, but as part of what they do with various orgs. There are many opportunities to becoming an excellent trainer (Toastmasters, etc) for such people.

 

You would eliminate many BSA trainers (many of the best) with such a policy, and strickly limit who could be a trainer. Not a good idea.

 

 

"The second thing I'd do differently is to insist that they be brought onto the training team well in advance, rather than 2 days before, or worse yet, the day of the training."

 

Would agree. Training events go on the calender several months out. By that time the staff for the event should have been lined up and ideally, a good percentage of these people should be experienced with the materials. (always good to have a mix of experienced with new people, so the new people become experiences, but with enough experiences people that they can step and help so the participants get good training).

 

Sadly it seems some training (usually the lower level basic stuff), seems thrown together at the last minute.

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Nessmuk,

 

 

Greetings!

 

Most Scout trainers attempt to establish a reputation of not being a "know it all" or "too busy to be bothered", but an experienced peer to peer relationship. My friends know that I am experienced, but far from an expert.

 

I try to make it known to my newest friends.... That even though I've been Scouting for a while, Geez, I still learn something new every campout or Den meeting, Pack meeting or Troop meeting. So during a day of NLE and Specifics, I can learn from them too (no kidding, I really do learn some unique techniques).

 

 

Guided discussions. Hopefully, they will learn a little from me, but they will learn much more from each other by networking and discussion. They will answer such questions as "How do you run 3-10 boys thru learning a skill in 30 minutes?" They can discuss the 4 phases of learning and 4 phases of advancement, while attempting to keep a coherent den or patrol. Their experiences are much more than I could ever have thought of sometimes. As we move thru explanation and discussion of New Leaders Essentials and Specifics, I share my experience, but ask them to share their experience and concerns.

 

Few people are conceptual learners, the can read text based literature once and bingo, they are an expert. They can instruct or guide others thru a skill, as though they have been doing it for centuries. Seriously, they have a talent I wish I had.

 

I would imagine most people are like me. Experienced based learners. Let me see it, perform it, experience it, then I got it figured out. Because of this, though we don't want to create too much of a divide between adults, but we do desire learners to adopt a mentor - protoge' attitude, our NLE will divide the learners into Packs, Troops, and Crews; and the Specifics staff will ask learners to divide themselves into Dens, Patrols and Crew Divisions. We ask for a Denner, Patrol Leader and Vice President Program, and ask for them to go thru the experience with a view as a youth Scout.

 

While NLE and Specifics is exposure to fundamentals, paperwork administration and safety. Roundtable is where the real program learning is at.

 

Roundtable, for an hour and a half is much more effective in experience based learning, guiding Cub Scout leaders and Boy Scout leaders as a youth thru learning a program theme skill they can take back for the coming month.

 

Probably the best advice for a District training team, is for them to ask learners to participate in the day's events as a youth. And adopt an experience based role, not acting infantile or childish, but going thru the role of using a Denner, using a Patrol Leader, and seeing what the boys experience.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Crew21 Adv,

 

My WB Patrol had the exact opposite attitude from what you wrote:

 

"Probably the best advice for a District training team, is for them to ask learners to participate in the day's events as a youth. And adopt an experience based role, not acting infantile or childish, but going thru the role of using a Denner, using a Patrol Leader, and seeing what the boys experience."

 

In fact, we excoriated the SPL, the CD, and the one 20-something who suggested we "play Scouting again." I've told this story before: The SPL screwed up, did not take the day 4 Patrol Leaders on a pre-walk of the 2d weekend campground for site selection as a PLC. Our Patrol did. By God, when we were dismissed to establish campsites, 4 of us had duty to claim the corners of our turf. We upset three other Patrols because we we were prepared. When the CD/PD (SM/SPL) confronted us, our response was "When did you schedule the PLC walk-through? That's right, you didn't.... pound sand." Needless to say, SM/SPL lost some face.

 

Yes, we were using all the learning styles in the course, but in the aggregate, we had something like 20 years postgraduate education in the Patrol. We neither wanted to, indeed we refused to, be handled like children again.

 

It is far easier, and far less demeaning, to take a few minutes after an element of training, and think through what the 11-14 year old going through his first time, than to reject his station and accomplishments in life and treat the Scouter below where he/she really is.

 

The new Scouter is often behind the power curve in terms of technical skill, and may also be behind in terms of processing the skill as well.

 

I just went to Freshman Orientation at University with EagleSon. He had a huge amount of data dumped on him. Separately, so did I. The staff worked us not as "live it again", but rather as "here is how you can best assist your child."

 

Feedback is a gift. Rethink the processing of having your Scouters re-experience as youth.

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