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12PointLife

EDGE In Action

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Robert Birkby, in his article, "Leading From Afar', appearing in the Jan-Feb 2017 edition of Scouting Magazine explained the use of the EDGE progression very well. EDGE applies four steps to success: Explain, Demonstrate, Guide and Enable.

 

In your unit, how have you implemented the EDGE progression and what was the outcome?

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You mean the method that we ranted about 6 years ago:

 

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/6887-to-edge-or-not-to-edge/

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/7204-edge-why-dictate-it/

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/9495-if-edge-is-badwrongpoor-how-do-you-teach-youth-to-teac/

 

Well, our boys merged with a troop who had learned, taught, and lived by this method. My anti-EDGE disciples since graduated and have had no influence, in order to focus on my crew advisor position, I've had no skin in the game for a year. I'm not being critical. The boys are at troop meetings and activities with smiles. My point is, they are learning the EDGE method without enduring any rants of mine such as I've posted in the links above.

 

This month the committee decided to use BoRs to test boys' ability to tie bowlines.* None of the scouts reviewed (5 I think) could  tie them.

 

One Life scout (who I mentioned in another thread), once he decided to actually master the skill, looked up the knot in a book. He read a reference, did what he just read in the handbook, then showed what he could do two days later for some adults. And, for fits and giggles, showed the crew what he could do and got a bunch of teens having fun tying knots. Now, I'm looking forward to what he'll do with some cooking references for his next merit badge, YUM!

 

So, I continue to recommend scouters abandon EDGE and teach boys that their first step in mastering any skill must begin with a reference.

 

*Those of you who are tempted to post about the "no testing during BoR" lecture: consider that, for all intents and purposes, these adults learned to convene BoRs via EDGE.

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The EDGE "method"  merely acronymizes  what good teachers have done for centuries.   Note I said "teachers", not students.     The assumption is the EDGE-r  already knows his/her subject.  If a person does not already know how the knot is tied (and for what purpose?), how would he be able to teach it to others? 

The "reference" book or video or illustration or whatever is used by the Scout to Explain, Demonstrate, Guide and Empower (I prefer that to Enable) to himself. 

My dad taught me a lot about carpentry and the building trades, but I also learned a lot about tool use by reading Eric Sloane's books.  Did dad EDGE me?  Absolutely, over and over until I could push his 9 point saw without binding it in the kerf.  Did he do EDGE consciously?  I doubt it.  

He Demonstrated, Modeled,  Exhibited, Instructed, Corrected ,  Encouraged and Provided Practice Opportunities.  How else to teach knife and axe safety?

 

Make an Acronym out of those !

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Our Troop teaches and uses the EDGE method consistently.  When the patrols are planning to run an activity for the Troop, the older guys teach the younger guys the skills they need to know using EDGE.  Then when they run the activitiy, the younger scouts used EDGE to teach other scouts.  After doing this for a while it becomes natural:

 

We're going to do this by going through these steps

Let me show you how to do it.

OK, I'll say each step as you do it.

Great, put it all together and do it yourself.

 

I agree with @@qwazse that there are other ways to learn skills.  I think the Research, Understand,  Memorize and Practice (the "RUMP" method) works well when you don't have a teacher available.

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We spend a lot of time teaching our boys how to use the EDGE method.  Ever since I started working with youth, either in the BSA or other community and religious contexts, I didn't teach them the EDGE method, I teach them how to teach.  There is a difference. 

 

While it might be going a bit above and beyond the accepted practice of doing the requirements, I don't teach the boys to tie knots the first time around, I teach them how to teach the knots.  That has crept into the requirements just a wee bit. 

 

Here's the routine:

 

1) Stand up, greet the students, and introduce yourself with your full name. (Rather ridiculous at first, but it does help settle the nerves and focus on the lesson.)

2) Tell the person you are teaching what it is you're going to teach.

3) Then tell and show them about the knot you're going to teach, including the actual knot tying, its uses and maybe a bit of it's history or something else that might help them remember better.  Maybe a little story about how you learned the knot, to help them remember and make connection to the actual knot.

4) Then tell and demonstrate to them once more.

5) Then have the student demonstrate tying the knot to the teacher, while the teacher watches and once they mastered it, HAVE THE STUDENT TEACH THE TEACHER what he has just learned.  If the group is large, they may wish to teach a parent or an older scout if time is an issue.  The teacher watches over the boys to offer suggestion or assist them in the teaching.

6) At this point, the student has a pretty good idea of what was taught.

7) Thanks for their respectful attention to the lesson.

 

Along with this, there's a number of other factors the teacher must be aware of.  If they face the student while teaching the knots, the students see everything BACKWARDS.  So all the boys are instructed to turn around, hold the rope above their head so the students can see what's going from the correct perspective and they will understand relationally better what is going on in the lesson.

 

Edge is a management technique that teaches the students.  But there are other means of helping the student master the process of teaching anything and puts the students better in a format of being prepared to carry on the instruction to others.  Did they learn to tie knots, or did they learn the skill of knot tying so they could help others.  The teacher is not just responsible for going through the lesson, but also do whatever it takes to help the student learn.  My parents pretty much know the knots as well as their boys.  :)

Edited by Stosh

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My argument has always been that EDGE reduces the process of instruction too far. Stosh's 7 points are excellent, but they, too, miss the referencing step. It could even be a step #8 in his paradigm: show where in a book or article your students can look up the material. Although, I would prefer it be towards #1 or #2 and involve actually having a student read the source material out loud.

 

I'm not wasting this thread re-explaining why I think your teaching is incomplete if you haven't offered at least one good source that a student could call upon in your absence. I'm just reporting my observations. Obviously I have biases. Thus, in this case I'm quick to highlight the negatives, and cynical about any perceived positives.

 

The one positive I could think of was our previous SM, who avoided public speaking until he had to give a minute at a court of honor, really became much more comfortable teaching the boys once he learned to remember those four steps -- plus my admonition to have some literature (even if it was the warning label on the box) for them to read.

Edited by qwazse
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My ustabee "public speaking"  class teacher always said first,  tell your audience WHAT you were going to tell them.... Second,  TELL them what you wanted to tell them...Lastly, tell them what you had TOLD them.   Then THANK them for their kind attention, and GET OFF THE STAGE.

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Where in the EDGE method does it state that you cannot use a reference?  OK I am going to show you how to tie a bowline know, found on page x in your handbook, this knot is used for, A B & C, this is how you tie it, now you can try it, yes that is right, now practice a few more times, Great job!

 

All four of the Edge steps, with a reference.  Problem solved.  Just a good teaching method, not the end all, be all.

Edited by pchadbo
  • Upvote 1

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Where in the EDGE method does it state that you cannot use a reference?  OK I am going to show you how to tie a bowline know, found on page x in your handbook, this knot is used for, A B & C, this is how you tie it, now you can try it, yes that is right, now practice a few more times, Great job!

 

All four of the Edge steps, with a reference.  Problem solved.  Just a good teaching method, not the end all, be all.

Well, get your scouts who know the acronym, ask them to tell you what each letter means, in their own words.  Determine what percentage of scouts mention a book, manual, or even online app. That percentage will tell you how often "reference" is understood to be part of the method.

 

If it's not the "end all, be all," why bother requiring it?

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Well, get your scouts who know the acronym, ask them to tell you what each letter means, in their own words.  Determine what percentage of scouts mention a book, manual, or even online app. That percentage will tell you how often "reference" is understood to be part of the method.

 

If it's not the "end all, be all," why bother requiring it?

 

First of all, if the Scouts do not understand how to use EDGE and that it includes reference material as part of the Explain portion, whoever taught them has failed. Any time you are teaching anything you should always be able to refer the students to something for additional material even if that reference is "it is in your Scout Handbook". 

 

As to why it is being taught if it is not the end all, be all, nothing is a magic bullet, It is a comprehensive, easy to remember technique for transferring knowledge that is better than most.

 

Let us not make perfect the enemy of good. 

Edited by pchadbo

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Maybe they should rename it EDGER. That doesn't have the same ring to it. REDGE? That sounds too much like a person's name. We have to keep thinking. After all, they (not the same "they") changed STEM to STEAM...

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Well, what are the most important things in science?   Observation?  Interpretation?  MATH?  Testing?   Trusting your senses/instruments?

MOIST. ?   

Howcum MATH is at the END of that acronym?  Shouldn't it be the FIRST?   It is the basis of the Technology, the Engineering and the Science..... 

 

E equals MCHammer? 

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With all these fancy techniques for teaching, wouldn't it be just as advantageous to teach the techniques for learning?....:  The relationship between teacher and student is symbiotic.

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As with all things in scouting, EDGE is a basic skill of teaching. It is not the end-all-be-all, it is just the beginning.

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