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Twocubdad

Top-Down Advancement -- Why?

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So, its ok to sign off on a scout skill and the scout never again has the opportunity to use that scout skill because through your program, he learns the skill. Is deemed proficeint and never has to use it again

 

Got it

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So, its ok to sign off on a scout skill and the scout never again has the opportunity to use that scout skill because through your program, he learns the skill. Is deemed proficeint and never has to use it again

 

Is it OK if the scout never uses it again? Yah, sure, if the lad earns Climbing MB and decides after havin' reached that level of proficiency that he isn't really that interested in climbing, then he might choose not to use it again very much. Not everyone becomes a climber as a lifelong hobby. What we still gave the boy is da experience of becoming truly proficient in a skill. He learned what it takes in terms of work and effort; he learned what it feels like to really get good at somethin' and be properly recognized for it. Even if he never goes climbing again, the character lessons he learned will stay with him.

 

But if we need him to act as a belayer for younger scouts da following summer, his skills are still reliable and we can trust him with another boy's life. Even though he spent all winter snowboarding and not using his Climbing MB skills.

 

Now, my personal experience is that lads who are proficient at somethin' usually enjoy doin' it and choose to do more of it, more often than not. Those Snow Sports MB kids are back out on da slopes this year, eh? Even lads who were a bit scared of snow sports when they first got started. The desire to get a badge was used to get 'em proficiency, and proficiency gave 'em confidence, and confidence gets 'em to do it even more.

 

Most of da once-and-done badges boys earn at summer camp they never go back to, because they never got proficient. They were shortchanged by us, both in learnin' the skill and developin' confidence and interest, and in da character development that goes along with that.

 

The lad who really knows how to light a fire will be the lad who steps up to light his patrol's fire, while the lad who got da signoff but not real proficiency will hold back because he's not confident. The boy who knows how to change a tire is goin' to be willin' to stop and help a person with a flat tire on the road, while the boy who never really got proficient will be reluctant to do so.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Beavah,

I'm assuming that OGE was referring to 1st class skills, not MB's.

 

OGE,

I don't think it should be an either / or. A good program should provde many opportunities to use first class skills. Scouts should have opportunity to use and practice the skills many times before he is tested and recognized. Scouts should continue to have the opportunity to use the skills. In a mixed age patrol troop, the first class and above scouts should have plenty of opportunities to mentor the younger scouts in their patrol in those skills. Younger scouts should have the opportunity to look up to older scouts as "proficient", and have the opportunity to be mentored by them.

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I'm assuming that OGE was referring to 1st class skills, not MB's.

 

Yah, hmm... not sure how that changes anything, VeniVidi. A lad may become proficient in swimming and decide that he just doesn't like it, and opt never to swim as a scout again. He may never practice a water rescue again. But two years later, if he was signed off for being truly proficient, he would still be able to swim or perform a throw rescue if he needed to, eh? Or if he found a girlfriend who liked to swim. :).

 

I agree with yeh. If you have used advancement well, odds are that a lad will keep doin' that thing in the program. If yeh really got the boy to being a proficient swimmer before signing off for First Class, then odds are pretty good that he'll keep doin' swimming and water sports, and get even better. Yeh used da advancement method to give him real character and confidence. Same with anything else, eh? If yeh didn't do once-and-done cooking, the lad who is proficient is goin' to seek out more cooking opportunities. If yeh didn't do once-and-done navigation, the lad is goin' to be confident and seek out more.

 

Da flipside is that if yeh signed off without proficiency figuring that the program would provide repetition to get the boy there later, it doesn't always (or often) work. The boy no longer has the advancement incentive. Because he's not confident, he's also apt to avoid da task. Not good at firebuilding? Fall back and let another boy do it. Not good at compass work? Follow along with a patrol mate and fake it. Yeh never can be retested, eh? So yeh aren't likely to be put in a spot where yeh individually have to perform da skill on your own. Unless some SM sees yeh can't do it and is feelin' mean and assigns yeh to teach it, so that yeh can be publicly embarrassed. :p.

 

But to get back to da OP, what's wrong with a troop that wants to emphasize more proficiency than national's materials suggest? What's wrong with a troop that wants to retest? Are we really goin' to be upset by a troop that insists all of its Eagles can still pass their T21 skills? If they've been doin' it all along, seems like it would be dirt easy and kinda fun for 'em. ;)

 

Beavah

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If they have been doing all along as part of the units program, there would be no reason to retest because all the adults, the whole unit would know Johnny scout knows he stuff because we have all seen him do it

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Beavah - "I'm not sure why this is so hard to grok, but let me try to make it simple and bold. If a boy cannot perform the skill six months later then he was never proficient in the first place. Your test failed. Yeh signed him off when yeh shouldn't have. You blew it. You let the boy down by not givin' him da real Scouting program."

 

Yah, I'm not sure why this is hard for you to grok, perhaps I'm not usin' da correct accent, eh? Thank you for finally agreeing with me when I said, "If SM's are signing off when a boy is not proficient, that is on the adult and the program. If boys are not being given the opportunity to use the skills and maintain proficiency, that is on the adult and the program. I don't understand why so many adults don't get this. If little Johnny isn't proficient......why did you sign him off. If little Johnny isn't retaining it......why is your program not designed to provide the opportunity."

 

When BSA decides to do a comprehensive review of every requirement from Tenderfoot to Eagle to earn the Eagle rank, you'll have a comparison to your bar exam. Currently it doesn't. It relies on the adults in charge of program to determine a boy's proficiency, sign off on it and provide a program where the skill can be used and honed. Whether we like it or not, that is how the real system is currently set up. If you believe differently, I'll be happy to look at the program documentation you provide that informs your opinion.

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SR540,

 

Perhaps there is a bit of memory of several very vocal posters in a recent similar thread who were quite adamant that the requirement for advancement was to have done the requirement once; that expecting proficiency was adding to the requirements. Looks like this time around that we are all saying that proficiency is and should be required before signing off on a requirement. And that after signoff, there should still be opportunities for scouts to show off their proficiency.

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Venividi ... I don't think that tide has changed. Just alot of us have taken this discussion to the parents and units instead of wasting time discussing a topic with people that don't want to learn and then be accused of being the once-and-done crowd or the anti-proficiency advocates. That's just offensive and the sign of scouters that should not be scouters.

 

When people talk of "proficiency", they are just manipulating the words to fulfill their own purpose. The written requirements speak for themselves. Trying to make them more than they are is just a dis-service to the boys and to scouting as a whole. The climbing merit badge is not a certification to belay scouts a year later. The first aid badge is just a starting point. The BSA advancement program is just a starting point and one of multiple methods scouting uses to teach character, citizenship and fitness (physical, mental and emotional).

 

Ya can make the words as rosey and elequent as you want, but I'm sad that I can walk away from the hot air, but real live scouts in their units are misled and damaged by this bull hockey and that scouting as a whole takes hits all the time from real scouts damaged by this B.S.

 

...

 

It astounds me when the requirements are specific and scouters refuse to give credit. Even worse, when scouters later demean the scouts as not being worthy or not having earned it. At that point, scouters either need to get off their high horse and join the program or just ride off into the sunset.

 

Now if you want a different program? Fine. Find or create that program. But if you want to be a BSA scouter, get a spine and stand up for the program you represent.

 

I'm amazed when our goal is to teach character and citizenship and fitness, yet scouters won't follow the words as written. "Oh, but that's not what BSA really meant..." "Oh, national doesn't really have leaders that like the outdoors..." "Oh, national doesn't know how to run a program..." ...

 

Give me a break. Back to people that will listen and remember the program run by and for the scouts.

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Because he's not confident, he's also apt to avoid da task. Not good at firebuilding? Fall back and let another boy do it. Not good at compass work? Follow along with a patrol mate and fake it. Yeh never can be retested, eh? So yeh aren't likely to be put in a spot where yeh individually have to perform da skill on your own.

 

I see this all the time. The same handful of truly proficient scouts build the fire, cook the meal, etc., for the guys who don't have the skills. I mean, after all, we teach them to be helpful, right? Now, as SMs, we hold up those proficient scouts as great guys, but ultimately, even though we have a very active outdoor program, that by itself isn't a guarantee that each individual scout will learn these skills. We need something to prod them into learning. Advancement is one of the individual things in the program - seems like a waste not to use it.

 

I'm amazed when our goal is to teach character and citizenship and fitness, yet scouters won't follow the words as written

 

Y'know fred, if us folks who you think shouldn't be Scouters were willing to just ignore what BSA put out when we didn't like it, we wouldn't be having this discussion. We'd just be ignoring it instead of making the case for changing it.

 

Remember, there's a second part to the full definition of "A Scout is Obedient." It doesn't end with "he follows the rules" and it doesn't say "he follows the rules without questioning the wisdom of the people who made them."

 

 

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Scouts should have opportunity to use and practice the skills many times before he is tested and recognized.

 

EXACTLY!

 

There are a couple parts to providing that opportunity. Hopefully, many of the basic skills are used organically -- you go camping and boys build fires and cook, set up patrol flies using the proper knots, navigation, etc. Other skills which are not frequently used in a normal course require some contrivance -- like a lashing competition between patrols or a first aid review day.

 

The other part of that is motivation. Some skills have their own, obvious motivation -- you want to eat and stay warm, right? People are motivated by different things -- some kids may simply enjoy a particular activity; some may be motivated by the challenge of mastering a skill; some may enjoy the simple sense of accomplishment. But some folks may need need more external motivation. This is where advancement SHOULD come in. If boys know they will be RESPONSIBLE for maintaining a realitive level of proficiency in a skill, they may be more motivated to participate in programs involving basic skills or to occasionally practice the skill themselves or even pick up a piece of rope or their first aid merit badge book and brush up before a Scoutmaster's Conference or Board of Review.

 

Of course that's not the be-all, end-all of the program, advancement or otherwise. It's simply another arrow the unit should have in it's quiver to help instill in the boys responsibility, preparation, self-reliance and other values at the core of the program.

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If a Scout doesn't have the skills, I mainly blame adults for not making him practice the skills. With my sons, we occasionally grab ropes and practice our six knots. I've found in our unit, we are slowly getting increasted mastery of knots, primarily due to having our own space. Prior to October, we had use of the church's Family Life Center (aka gym). Great space, but it wasn't ours except for two hours on Monday night. Now, we have a scout hut (aka trailer). We have a plastic bin with 10-15 3 ft long pieces of rope in it. I'm finding the boys, while they fidget, are practicing their knots. While milling around waiting for the meeting to start, they are practicing their knots. Now, if only we can get them to practice the tautline and timber hitches, we will have a proficient troop.

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TCD ...

 

At the end of the day, the Boy Scouts of America National Council is in the business of selling PROGRAM MATERIALS to local councils, districts, and units. The brand name "Eagle Scout" belongs to THEM, not to the chartered partner.

 

I may part company with Beavah here, but the brand name does imply a standard product. Now, can the unit require other things as part of their active participation? Certainly. Can they deny rank over those things? Not without a pretty strong shot at being zinged on an appeal...

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If you think that the Scoutmaster isn't testing your Scouts correctly, then you need to bring that up with the Scoutmaster, it isn't the Scout's fault and you don't punish the Scout by retesting them.

 

This mindset is a by-product of advancement mills. I have to say it hurts our scouts and Scouting in the long run.

 

I tell my scouts and students that THEY are responsible for learning and knowing the material. Have a question, ask. Have a bad merit badge counselor/teacher, find a better one. Don't understand the book, try another or an app or youtube video on the subject. LEARN! You take your own tests and you are RESPONSIBLE for learning the material. PRACTICE!

 

If you dont use it, you lose it. And if you lost it, it costs you and others... on exams, SAT's, scholarships,...emergencies or do Scouts not do emergencies because they are retests? If you grandmother falls down some steps and needs help, the scout that comes to her aid should he know first aid or is having known it once good enough for you and Gramma? What kind of scout does your Gramma deserve? What kind of scout do you want to be?

 

Be prepared.

 

My $0.02,(This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)

It's not retesting, it's enabling (last part of EDGE). I agree that scouts shouldn't lose their ranks if they fail at basic Scout skills. However, that said, I think that is reteaching time for the Scout leaders/Troop instructors.

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Jblake47 - "Right now we are so gun shy that we don't even dare "re-test" at the BOR's. Why not? Do the kids know this stuff or not? If not, why are they advancing? "

 

Imagine a college student in his second semester of his senior year. Before he can graduate, he has to be retested on every course he took the previous seven semesters. Would you pass? Do the grades he made in each of those classes mean nothing?

When I was working on my master's degree in biology, I was tested on general biology (the prerequisites to get into the program), along with what I had learned while in the program. Yes, the grades meant something, however, the grades in those class should also be reflecting a knowledge of the subject area.

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