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WisconsinMomma

What is quality control in Scouting

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Here's a follow up question --- what is quality control in Scouting supposed to look like?  Is there supposed to be quality control?   We have adult leader training and the handbooks and the publications -- is it supposed to go beyond that and if so, what does it mean and look like in action?   (This may be straying off topic, or not!)

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For quality control in the BSA look up "Tuckman's stages of group development"  and  you can also read Blanchard's book  "The Power of Ethical Management"  this is in part what the new Wood Badge is based on and they cover management quality control.    The goal of the new wood badge program is to teach adults to be all purpose team managers and bring a more school like atmosphere to scouting.  

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Wisconsinmomma asked who does "quality control?  The new software does not take me from the notice of her post to that post, wherever it is.

 

I believe that "quality control" in the unit is supposed to be by the COR, through the Troop Committee.  That assumes a level of knowledge and commitment that I have rarely seen in those persons.  BSA has shown a near total indifference to whether CORs and TCs achieve anything approaching such a level of knowledge.  The current orthodoxy is that training, the red-headed stepchild, is a burden to be reduced rather than a pathway to better program, except for the wonderful-sounding nirvana of "mentoring" (by ??) .

 

The biggest issue I have seen in the whole notion of "quality control" is the belief that it requires the application of adult standards to achieve the "well-oiled machine."  Nothing is more destructive of Boy Scouting, which requires boys to perform to a boy's standard, inclusive of errors by any standard.  BSA seems unwilling to stop adult's from taking the ball, toeing the "rubber" of leadership, and doing the pitching so the "troop can win."

 

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29 minutes ago, cocomax said:

For quality control in the BSA look up "Tuckman's stages of group development"  and  you can also read Blanchard's book  "The Power of Ethical Management"  this is in part what the new Wood Badge is based on and they cover management quality control.    The goal of the new wood badge program is to teach adults to be all purpose team managers and bring a more school like atmosphere to scouting.  

How ironic. I bet the folks who came up with this never read B-P's Aids to Scoutmasters since Scouting is NOT suppose to be like school. In fact, I found quotes from BP who said school teachers should not be Scouters since they would try to turn the program into school. If that is what the current WB course teaches, I will never take it as it is so far from BP's vision. And if that is what new Scouters are being taught, then I see an uphill battle on keeping traditional Scouting alive.

 

My thoughts on quality control is MENTORING. Training only gets you the basics. Without experience training only gets you so far. That is why experienced Scouters need to work with new Scouters. It worked with me and I've mentored many new leaders over the years.

 

But it is a two way street. Not only do you need to have experienced Scouters who want to mentor, but also inexperienced Scouters who are willing to be mentored. That's the current situation in my troop. We have a bunch of new parents with 4.5 years of Cub Scouter experience, but zero Boy Scout or Boy Scouter experience. Several have completed SM Specific and IOLS. But they still have no idea despite the training. They are constantly questioning why things are done, why their sons are not advancing as fast as others, etc. They do not want to talk rationally, they confront and complain. They are not willing to listen.

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Quality control ?  BSA quality control is to let scouts and families vote with their feet.  Units die if they go astray and it drives parents away.  If units go astray and scouts and their parents stay and the unit successfully recruits enough to keep alive, then it's a good quality unit.  

 

Nope ... Training  ... BSA training is introductory.  It's not meant to produce effective leaders implementing the same program in the same way.  

 

Nope ... Commissioners ... BSA commissioners are helpful, but not a day-to-day quality control.  

 

Nope ... BSA Oversight ... BSA exercises effectively no oversight of their units.  BSA staff and district volunteers will NOT reach into the workings of individual units.

 

Maybe ... COR ? ... Probably the closest chance to quality control, but there is really little mechanism designed into scouting for the COR to use other than generally watching how the program works.  

 

Yes ... Scout at the board of review ... The scout is supposed to give feed back to the adults at his rank BORs on how the program is working.  Is it meeting his needs?  Is it fun?  Is he learning?  What can / should change?  What are the problems ?  IMHO, the BOR is often poorly used as a feedback quality control loop.  BUT, that's one of the main purposes of the BOR. 

 

Edited by fred johnson
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Oh good lord please do not reference Management training. BLEECH! 

 

You just ask some questions to your self, fellow scouters, or other scouts:

 

Start with do they appear to be progressing in the scout law?

 

Are the boys having fun? Are they passive or engaged? Are they jumping up and doing things themselves or are they waiting on direction? Do scouts start things on their own or are they waiting on adult prompting? Do they laugh at meetings? Do they seem glad to see each other? How is attendance? If they have time conflicts do they tell anybody or propose workarounds?

 

Are they advancing at their own pace or are there artificial obstacles? Do they show pride in showing off scout skills like knots or putting up a tent or is it just perfunctory? Do they show interest on non-Eagle required merit badges? Is their strong patrol identity, pride, or competitiveness? Do the patrols have different personalities? Are they protective of their Patrol equipment? Do they want their own Patrol area away from adults at campouts? Do they plan, cook, and clean up for themselves at campouts? 

 

Are they willing to buck the adults when they feel it is important and the adult is violating the Scout Law?

 

Do older boys tolerate the younger ones and do enough older ones seem genuinely helpful? Do they teach other informally or only as an EDGE requirement. Do they have their scout book with them and does it look like it actually been used. Do they approach adults for sign offs? Do they suggest additional activities such as patrol get togethers or hanging out outside of scouts?  

 

Do they tell tall tales of the worst campout ever? Do they pass on Troop lore from before there time? Do scouts  and scouters have organic nick names?

 

All of these admittedly and subjective benchmarks point to the health of a troop.

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57 minutes ago, cocomax said:

For quality control in the BSA look up "Tuckman's stages of group development"  and  you can also read Blanchard's book  "The Power of Ethical Management"  this is in part what the new Wood Badge is based on and they cover management quality control.    The goal of the new wood badge program is to teach adults to be all purpose team managers and bring a more school like atmosphere to scouting.  

The "stages of team development" is a way to look at how, to use the 1970's training language, the leader determines what he needs to "supply" - what is "missing" -  so the group can succeed to its maximum potential.  Example: If the group lacks essential information, the leader tries to see that the group gets that information. 

 

Tuckman's "Stages of Team Development" is not well understood by BSA, or some of its members.  I have often heard it said that groups "always" begin with the "Storming" stage.   This is said although Tuckman did not say that in his articles and was still teaching psychology at O.S.U. as recently as 2009 and answered his own telephone.  I found him to be quite willing to discuss the conclusions he had drawn in his 1965 article, and the fifth stage he added a few years later ("adjourning").  He  was somewhat amused by BSA's description of "Stages,' which he had ultimately observed to be five in number and which he felt took place in no particular order and might involve regression to earlier "stages."

 

It is also one of the whipping boys of those who dislike the direction Wood Badge has taken since 1970, although the use, or misuse, of Tuckman's approach  began in Wood Badge in about 2001 - decades after the supposed "death" of Wood Badge when it ceased to be only about Scoutcraft through First Class.

 

Tuckman's article "Stages of Team Development" and subsequent scholarship, even the Wood Badge version, is not about "quality control," although "performance" to maximum group potential, a subjective standard, does have implications for the quality of group outputs.  QC when I was subjected to it as the TPC "flavor of the month, presented as as process to achieve objective standards.

 

Neither is Tuckman's study about school.  It was based on observing twelve-step groups in action and is used for team sports, militaries, and first responder teams.   What BSA has done to Wood Badge in terms of making it largely a classroom experience should be laid at someone else's door.,  It too began in 1971, long pre-Stages, although it maxed out (I hope) in 2001.  

 

Most of the militaries of the world use leadership training, and have done so for generations - arguably centuries.  Caesar was taught to know the names of the legionaries under his command and their strengths and weaknesses.    

 

Try Googling    be know do.  It's not just an NYLT "thing."  

 

By the way, the label "management" is meant to be a negative, like "White Stag training" or "leadership training."  This can be confusing at first.

 

 

 

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The best measure of a quality of a troop is the boys showing up and having fun.

 

When you see the SPL running the meetings and outings with just a little coaching from the SM when needed and the boys are having fun you have a quality troop.

 

If the adult leaders are are supporting the SM, making his job as easy as possible you have quality set of adults.

 

When the boys are advancing to the rank of First Class by just doing the normal scout stuff while having fun you have a quality program. 

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Boy Scout Troops, Patrols etc are fascinating laboratories in human organization; I think I learned more in hands-on scouts than most of the very expensive training my employers paid for.

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The new classroom style of wood badge with its power point slides,  flip charts,  movies and focus on learning to make presentations may have been carried from wood badge into scouting, it is most visible in the new way camporees are run now.  Many camporees activities consist of presentation stations were the boys sit on folding chairs and watch a flip chart presentation on, water safety, plant ID, how to make a survival kit,  and wilderness survival. Patrols are awarded points for paying attention and interacting in an active manor with the teacher.   The boys in my troop find camporees based mainly on flip chart presentations boring and avoid them.  Maybe it is not the fault of wood badge, I don't honestly know, I do know all the scouters running these new style camporees in my area are highly focused on wood badge. Maybe wood badge is just a reflection of the push to turn scouting into a more school like atmosphere.  I don't like it myself, I think scouting should be about getting out and doing things and having fun and learning and growing as a person while having fun with your close friends.   

  

Edited by cocomax

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3 minutes ago, cocomax said:

The new classroom style of wood badge with its power point slides,  flip charts,  movies and focus on learning to make presentations may have been carried from wood badge into scouting, it is most visible in the new way camporees are run now.  Many camporees activities consist of presentation stations were the boys sit on folding chairs and watch a flip chart presentation on, water safety, plant ID, how to make a survival kit,  and wilderness survival. Patrols are awarded points for paying attention and interacting in a active manor with the teacher.   The boys in my troop find camporees based mainly on flip chart presentations boring and avoid them.  Maybe it is not the fault of wood badge, I do know all the scouters running these new style camporees are highly focused on wood badge. Maybe wood badge is just a reflection of the push to turn scouting into a more school like atmosphere.  I don't like it myself, I think scouting should be about getting out and doing things and having fun and learning and growning as a person while having fun with your close friends.   

  

 

I cannot, in good conscientious, blame the Woodbadgers alone. My Methodist Church does the same thing, my kid does it if he is pitching a new purchase to his Mom, power point like presentations are everywhere. I would give a boy extra points if he used sock puppets at this point.

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30 minutes ago, cocomax said:

The best measure of a quality of a troop is the boys showing up and having fun.

 

When you see the SPL running the meetings and outings with just a little coaching from the SM when needed and the boys are having fun you have a quality troop.

 

If the adult leaders are are supporting the SM, making his job as easy as possible you have quality set of adults.

 

When the boys are advancing to the rank of First Class by just doing the normal scout stuff while having fun you have a quality program. 

When you see Patrol leaders running their patrols in separate patrol activities, with minimal coaching from the SPL or adults, you have a quality troop.  Otherwise, you do not have Boy Scouting at all.  You have this other things that BSA is increasingly tolerating, even as they use the right words.

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37 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

 

Try Googling    be know do.  It's not just an NYLT "thing."  

 

I just gave it a google. . . .

 

Wow,   "Be, Know, Do"   that is amazing.   That is fantastic stuff!

 

Very fitting to scouting.

 

Thank you for giving me a new path to explore.

Edited by cocomax

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