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A scout learns...

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Over the years much has been discussed regarding "completing the requirements". Most of these discussions will focus on the the last 3 steps of the process, "the scout is tested, etc..." Sometimes, often in passing, a reference will be made to the first step in the process, "a scout learns". Also often ignored is the purpose of Advancement as a Method, and not the aim.

Thus, I think it might be a good idea, especially for new Scouters to hear (read) about best practices for  the "A scout learns" step. Also in the  GTA is a fifth step, often not very well utilized except by the best patrols.

I think it would be good to start by linking the appropriate language from the GTA. 

https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/ The Scout Learns

With learning, a Scout grows in the ability to contribute to the patrol and troop. As Scouts develop knowledge and skills, they are asked to teach others and, in this way, they learn and develop leadership. After the Scout Is Tested and Recognized

After the Scout is tested and recognized, a well-organized unit program will help the Scout practice newly learned skills in different settings and methods: at unit meetings, through various activities and outings, by teaching other Scouts, while enjoying games and leading projects, and so forth. These activities reinforce the learning, show how Scout skills and knowledge are applied, and build confidence. Repetition is the key; this is how retention is achieved. The Scout fulfills a requirement and then is placed in a situation to put the skills to work. Scouts who have forgotten any skills or information might seek out a friend, leader, or other resource to help refresh their memory. In so doing, these Scouts will continue to grow.



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1. The Scout Learns

2. The Scout is Tested

For all of you out there,  how do you clearly make a distinction between those two steps?   How do you set scout (and adult) expections that the scout will not be signed off on a skill the first time he does it?  

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I am certain we lose a lot of high-speed low-drag parents and scouters at this section simply because it does not it does not give an explicit nod to the other methods of scouting.

Competition between patrols are how scouting skills are honed.

The outdoors is where scouting skills apply.

Leadership development should revolve around scheduling time for patrols to "show off" their skills.

To @Treflienne's question ... I don't teach scouts so much as put them in positions where they need to demonstrate what they should already know.  That's because I think scouting is not a learning environment so much as it is an application environment.

A lot of our sign-offs go something like this:

Scout: "Sir, at the last campout I did requirement x as a part of activity y."

Adult: "Did your PL/SPL see you do it?"

Scout: "Yes, sir!"

Adult: "Then why are you talking to me? Your PL has a pen."

Scout goes to PL, who either sign off or talk to the SPL or an ASM about what he saw and if that was enough to qualify for passing the requirement.  In other words. Neither I, nor the SM, SPL, PL or TG sit at the end of a finish line checking if a scout completed an orienteering course. A scout tells me what he tried to do, how well he accomplished it, and if he could do better. Now, some things, like aquatics safety are more like an oral exam. But that has nothing to do with rank advancement. A scout just telling me that he set up a safe-swim area is not good enough. That has to do with me feeling confident that the scout will be observant at any activity on the water ... and that he'll be able to spot any missing safety minimum and address it. Still, it's far easier for a scout to talk about a safe swim defense after he has been to an aquatics area.

Edited by qwazse
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A Scout Learns ...

... Iteratively. For those that are familiar with computer science, the BSA uses a waterfall model of advancement. It's not:

A scout learns

A scout is tested

A scout is recognized

It's more like:

A scout learns, a scout is tested, a scout forgets some of it, a scout might be recognized, a scout is challenged, a scout relearns, a scout fails at the challenge, a scout learns again, a scout forgets, a scout is asked to teach it, a scout panics and relearns it...

All we really want is for a scout to understand, after 7 years, that if they don't make the loop the right way the rabbit will tear the hole and the tree apart.

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I agree with qwazse regarding the signing-off. I would like to focus more on best practices prior to the testing and sign-off. Perhaps I should prime the pump. 

Starting with a counter-example of NOT best practices. A new scout goes on his first campout and is assigned cooking duty with a patrol mate for breakfast. They make breakfast and then he goes and gets signed-off on the tenderfoot requirement. What is missing here almost entirely is the explanation, demonstration and guidance for the scout to understand and perform assistance at any sort of expected level.

A better practice: On the first campout the PL or Instructor acts as the cook's assistant and explains his role, and what he is supposed to do. He demonstrates how to assist the cook appropriately.  He brings scouts into the camp kitchen and helps them try the various tasks such as cutting up carrots, or peeling potatoes, opening cans, etc...  Depending on the scouts, this might repeat itself for every meal on that first campout. During planning for the secind campout a scout may go to his PL and say, "hey, I'd like to be tested on the tenderfoot req 2a, assist in preparing a meal". (PL may need to encourage scouts to ask to be tested, especially the first time). The PL ensures the scout has the opportunity to be tested by having him assigned as the asst cook for a meal. Prior to that meal PL (or instructor) talks to him (best would be while hiking to camp)  about what the scout will demonstrate as the cook's assistant. The purpose of this discussion is for the PL to ensure success, or to determine if the scout is really ready to be tested. Then the scout gets tested, the PL (or Instructor) observes to determine whether the scout fulfilled the requirement. 

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