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Words of Wisdom to Youth Chapter Leadership

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Scouters, what words of wisdom would you offer a Scout in a Leadership position in his OA Chapter?  Participation is so low that at some meetings they barely have enough members for a flag ceremony.  The Scouts remind members of meetings through email and text and have invited members to provide feedback on future events to make the meetings more fun.  How would you try to increase participation?   

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Unfortunately, the Scout is in good company.  He and many of his peers are asking the same questions.

Whatever the OA's woes are today, the key to success is in our storied past.

I'd recommend finding old OA literature from decades ago and browsing through (much on ebay).  Though some practices and traditions are no longer allowed, there are things, tangible and intangible, that would be helpful today.

Having fun and designing patches will only work to a certain point.  Recapturing that OA "spirit" is going to take some reflection and research.  And yes, work.  Granted, it's not for everyone. But that's okay.  For those that are committed to the OA's principles, it can be life changing.

PS.  Please encourage him to not lower the bar.   Three dedicated scouts that adhere to the OA's ideals will make much more progress than a large, semi-committed group that is just there for recreational events.   (The latter group won't organize the events, but might participate and will definitely leave before clean up.)  The three will set a solid foundation for future success. 


Edited by desertrat77
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This sounds simple minded but ...

3 hours ago, FaithfulScouter said:

....  The Scouts remind members of meetings through email and text and ...

Voice. Talking is a vital skill that the boys will need to get a leg up in their careers. Lodge reps not in the room? Phone them. Poor attendance? Call the house phone and leave a message that they were missed. Call the SM of the lodge reps who do attend and let them know  how you appreciate their scouts' participation.

Text/Email no more. Hand-written post cards are wonderful things.

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On 1/6/2019 at 3:34 PM, FaithfulScouter said:

what words of wisdom would you offer a Scout in a Leadership position in his OA Chapter?

How to motivate a scout? To do service? It has to be internal motivation. Here's an idea. Google calls this intrinsic motivation. Below is the first thing that popped up on Google: (just swap scout for student, scouters for educators, and OA for education)



"Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire." -Yeats

Ways to cultivate intrinsic motivation in students:

  1. Rethink Reward. Science has proven that for simple, mechanistic tasks, reward incentivizes students to perform well, but for tasks that require thinking outside the box, reward leads to poor performance.
  2. Atlassian Autonomy. The Australian software company Atlassian holds “FedEx Days” where engineers are expected to work on anything they want for 24 hours, then report back to the group. Many of their most lucrative ideas are born in these “overnight deliveries” of creativity. Try something like this with your students.
  3. Make Mastery Cool. As Ashton Kutcher revealed to us all in a recent Teen Choice Awards speech, “The sexiest thing in the world is being smart.”
  4. A Higher Purpose. Students who feel that they are working towards the greater good, or something larger than themselves, may have an easier time staying motivated.
  5. Make students feel like education is a choice, not a requirement. You know the bunch of non-engaged students. As simple as it sounds, remind them that they are making the right choice by showing up and working hard.
  6. Don’t use fear of punishment as a motivator. Despite what you read in The Prince, fear is not always the best motivator, especially for learners. The fear of failing a subject certainly has its place but should not be used as a substitute for intrinsic motivation.
  7. For learning management, expect self-direction, not compliance. It happens – classes get out of hand. Even online ones. But motivating students to follow the rules by threatening or goading won’t help your students in the long run. Help them become more self-directed, so that they end up complying as a result of their own genuine efforts.
  8. Visualize and Conquer. Have your students visualize a moment in their lives when they felt very proud of themselves for an accomplishment. Then let them loose on a task.
  9. Make every student feel capable. This may be a simple point, but it’s surely one of the most important. Some students feel incapable of completing a task before they even try it. The power of “You can do it” has perhaps been diluted over the years. Try “You’re capable,” which speaks not only to the task at hand but to the student’s sense of self-worth.
  10. Cooperation and Competition: Intrinsic motivation can be increased in situations where students gain satisfaction from helping their peers and also in cases where they are able to compare their own performance favorably to that of others.
  11. Help students trust themselves to succeed. When students trust themselves to succeed at a task, they are more likely to challenge themselves in other situations. Be sure to recognize student achievement in terms of personal worth and not just success on a particular assignment; this will encourage the student to carry that confidence into other learning situations.
  12. Make the attainment of goals probable but uncertain. Everyone is motivated to complete easy, reward-based tasks. It’s the more difficult ones, often accompanied by delayed gratification, that make us want to give up before we begin. On a day to day basis, aim for goals that are achievable but require just enough work to keep students engaged. It’s a fine line between interest and disengagement, but it’s this tension that keeps us all motivated.
  13. Give accurate and authentic performance feedback. A large part of continued motivation is feedback, but be careful not to make it personal. They should change their behavior, not their self-worth, as a result of constructive criticism.
  14. Relate achievement to students’ self-esteem. One teacher tells her students she “likes how they’re thinking” every time they provide a good response. This not only motivates her students to keep getting the right answer, but also to keep seeking praise for the way they use their heads.
  15. Stimulate sensory curiosity by making abrupt changes that will be perceived by the senses. Change the learning environment around mid-way through the semester. Paint the walls a different color. Students will respond to the new environment and be inspired to think outside the box.
  16. Stimulate cognitive curiosity by presenting a problem or question as a puzzle to be solved. Pose questions not as opportunities for reward or humiliation but as puzzles to be solved. Draw out the “right” answer by asking multiple sub-questions of different students, asking students to respond to each other’s answers, and making the conceptual investigation feel like a game or a riddle.
  17. Make clear the cause-and-effect relationships between what students are doing and things that happen in real life. One way to do this is to always illustrate the concept at hand in another context after the students have fully grasped it in the current context. This is partly what word problems in math are for: How many ounces of cinnamon are in the muffins? But you can also point out that conversions are important for road trips in foreign countries, foreign currency calculations, and figuring out how much you get paid per hour as a freelance photographer!
  18. Enable learners to believe that their work will lead to powerful effects. Students won’t remember everything you teach them – such is the limited capacity of the human brain. But the point is not to memorize every fact and concept. The point of school and homework is to cultivate an academic work ethic of sorts, so that someday, that million-dollar idea won’t be so hard to realize.
  19. Allow learners to freely choose what they want to learn and how they will learn it. Ask students to fill out a survey detailing how they would like to spend the school day, what they would like to learn more about, less about, and what kinds of lessons or projects they enjoy the most. Better yet, hold a discussion on the topic.
  20. Connect games and learning. You’ll agree that learning is fun. That’s why you are a teacher! But how do you expect Marcus to feel that special little thrill you feel when you sit down in front of your morning crossword or watch Jeopardy at night? The truth is, he does feel the thrill – when he gets a new personal best in the 800 meter dash. Try to connect his motivation on the track with his motivation in learning. Acing the test may not make him feel quite as good as winning the championship, but the two drives are related.
  21. Encourage students to compete against themselves. Just as a runner, jumper, or thrower not only competes against others but also tries to achieve a new personal record, intrinsically motivated students are always hoping to better themselves.
  22. Help students navigate the continuum of motivation. Intrinsic motivation isn’t built in a day. Help extrinsically motivated students move from lacking motivation completely to integrating an intrinsic attitude into their work to performing well for the sake of performing well.
  23. Talk about it. Have your students heard of extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation? Simply making them aware of the difference might spark some useful discussion or thought.
  24. Introduce “soft opening” between peers. In a controlled study, Kitsantas, Zimmerman, and Cleary (2000) found that girls (ages 14 – 16 years) who watched a person throw darts perfectly 15 times in a row were not as motivated as those who watched the person improve their skills over successive trials. The girls who had watched the person improve were more likely to attribute their successful shots to strategy (rather than ability), and this attribution led them to their experiencing greater self-efficacy and intrinsic interest. What is transferred that stimulates intrinsic motivation is not simply behaviors, it is the mental process of engaging with the challenges of an activity.
  25. Model intrinsic behavior yourself. Educators’ demonstration of how they approach work, their expectations, values, and beliefs can be transmitted to students and facilitate their intrinsic motivation.



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