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To EDGE or not to EDGE

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Seems like the EDGE discussion is a bit like a virus, eh? It infects multiple threads. So here's an effort to quarantine it.


Da individuals involved can speak for themselves and their own case, but it seems like there are 3 camps:


1) EDGE is just another example of "management-style" scouting that shows how far we've lost our way, and should be beaten to death with scout staves.


2) EDGE is an OK memory device but really is not da way we'd expect everyone to teach all the time, so it's fine for training but it shouldn't be written into da requirements.


3) EDGE is what scouting has always done and the "right" way, so those Tenderfeet should start learning it right away! It belongs in da requirements.


Have at it!


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I think Beavah's list is missing at least one option:


4) EDGE is not very different from what has been done in the past, and is mainly a memory aid, so it's really not a big deal that the BSA put it into the requirements, regardless of whether you think it's necessary or not.


Some might see #4 as close to #3, but but they are not the same. I just don't see this as a big deal, regardless of whether it was the best idea in the world or not. If I were the King of the BSA, I probably would have put the "teach a square knot" requirement in under Second Class and left out the new teaching requirement from Life. I am not offended by the Life requirement, just don't think it's necessary, but again it isn't a big deal. My big issue with the Life requirement as Advancement Chair is that, to my knowledge, all of the boys in my troop who are Star and approaching Star are still working out of the old handbook, so we have to actively inform them of this requirement. I have a suspicion that before I became Advancement Chair some boys made Life without passing this requirement when it should have applied to them, but I'm not asking too many questions about things that happened on someone else's watch.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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2.5) EDGE is a tool like any other that has it's place in our Scouting toolboxes. Some boys will benefit from using it...some boys use something similar naturally...some boys are effective with other teaching techniques.





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2, 2.5, and 4 sound about the same to me, and get my vote.


I was a little amused the first time I saw EDGE in the requirements, especially because it doesn't really make sense to "explain" anything when tying the square knot, other than, "I shall now show you how to tie a square knot." IMHO, when it comes to tying a square knot, the explanation only works when done as part of the demonstration.


Yes, EDGE might indeed be part of a worldwide conspiracy to destroy scouting. But if they really want to destroy scouting, they're going to have to try a lot harder than that. I doubt if too many kids drop out of scouting just because they forgot to say, "I shall now show you how to tie a square knot." :)


If the Improved Scouting Program of the 1970's wasn't able to destroy scouting, then I doubt if the EDGE method stands much of a chance.

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I vote with AlFansome.. 2.5 for me..


People teach best using styles they are comfortable with, it may be EDGE, it may not be.


People learn though different methods it may be EDGE it may not be.


I don't think it's the end of the world to learn what EDGE is, but it is not bad to be exposed to other ideas and approches also. Then you have to figure out if this is a comfortable style for you to learn or teach with.


When my son was in school, I watch as the teachers told him exactly what notebooks he must use exactly how he was to arrange his subjects for the best way to be orgainized. The kid just was flustered by the whole process, it just wasn't the best way for him to be organized or study with. In middle school I told him don't worry by high school you have the right to organize how it works best for you.. High school came and they were still dictating.. By Junior year he set up the way they dictated and changed over a month after they checked him off.. By Senior year, he just ignored them.


It is fine to give people ideas on what is a decent method.. But people have to get many ideas and find what is right for them. They can not be pushed into a one method and one method only type of concept. People are individual and unique by design. Let them color outside the lines if it makes them feel happy.

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Shortridge, I agree. A brief "explanation" of that kind would be appropriate before showing a new Scout how to tie the square knot.


I also have a question for those who are opposed to this requirement: How would you feel if the Tenderfoot requirement were simply, "Teach another person to tie a square knot", and the Life requirement were to teach a younger Scout a skill (or set of skills) from the listed options? In other words, the same requirements, but without EDGE? The reason I ask is, I think the real essence of these two new requirements is TEACH, and the BSA has chosen to specify the teaching method, and some people are getting all hung up on that. But the idea is, TEACH. Is that a problem?

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As I posted in the other thread, EDGE goes all the way back to Green Bar Bill, in the 3rd Edition SM HB. It is a very good way to train PLs to teach skills to their patrols. You can teach a boy how to tie a timber hitch all day long, but if he doesn't know what it is used for (EXPLAIN), that skill won't do him any good. EXPLAIN as part of teaching the square knot would include when and where the knot is to be used (first aid), and when it shouldn't be used (supporting a load). Same thing with other knots - if you teach them how to tie a bowline and a taut line hitch but don't explain when to use them, they may end up using the taut line hitch as a rescue knot, and painfully learn why they should have used a knot that wouldn't slip when being lifted by rope.


You can teach a Scout pretty easily how to wrap and tie a tourniquet, but if you don't EXPLAIN when and where it is to be used, that skill could be dangerous.


Green Bar Bill, 3rd Ed. SM HB

Patrol Leader Training

Two Angles of Patrol Leader Training

There are two angles to the training of Patrol Leaders which should both be thoroughly covered by the SM in his efforts to help his leaders develop themselves.

1. Patrol Leadership. The SM must make clear to his boy leaders the extent of their responsibilities and explain the principles of Patrol Leadership . He must teach them "how" to do what is expected of them, treating every subject in complete detail, not leaving out anything because he thinks it is obvious . What is simple to him may not be simple to his boy leaders.

He should encourage them to read and study available literature (Handbook for PLs, Scouting Magazine, Boy's Life) that will help them with their Patrols, and should discuss with them the handling of specific Patrol problems as they arise . In this connection, he may urge and arrange for his leaders to visit other Troops for the purpose of observing how other Patrols are run.

2. The SM should help his leaders to advance, not so much by teaching them the actual technique as by stimulating their desire to learn for themselves .

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Also, EDGE is the method the American Red Cross uses to teach CRP/AED. There is first an Explanation of the skill, the skill is then demonstrated on the DVD, participants are Guided by the instructors to correct any mistakes as they practice the skill, and finally the participants are enabled to do it on their own, and pass the test. I think the AMR has been pretty successful using this method to teach.

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Yah, I don't get this 2.5 stuff :)


The difference in my mind between 2 and 3 is whether or not the teachin' method should be written into the requirements. Yeh can think EDGE is a fine teaching method to train your junior leaders in, but still not feel they be limited to that.


I'm just fine with NJ's notion of adding a teaching requirement. Those are common for Venturing recognitions, eh? Seems like adding 'em to the upper ranks for Boy Scouting is a fine thing. I wouldn't specify EDGE, I'd specify success. Teach so that the fellow you're teaching actually learns, whatever method you use.


I'm not sure I'd put a teaching requirement in Tenderfoot, though. That's too early, kids are still getting their feet under 'em . And I think yeh need to open it up to "teach a basic skill specified by your SM" rather than limiting it to the reef knot.


Back to EDGE, as I've mentioned, I think it's just made up nonsense. Real teachin' focuses on the student's needs, not on da teacher's presentation. EDGE has the wrong focus, and has no steps for assessing how the guy you're teaching is doing or other type of feedback and change of style. It only "works" in people's minds because each person forces EDGE to fit their own notion of what they think it means. Like the parent in da other thread who felt EDGE as a MBC means Explaining to him he has to do chores, Demonstrating responsibility by staying on his case, Guiding by nagging him daily, and Enabling him to get da MB :). It sounds nice, but it's really not that helpful for beginners. And I've seen way too much explaining from most EDGE trained fellows.


Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Gotta disagree, Beavah. EDGE is great for teaching young Scouts how to teach (and how to lead, through skills).


Tell 5 Scouts to go teach their patrols how to build a fire, and most will go do it themselves as their patrol stands around and watches. The Scouts will come back and tell you they did as you requested, they taught how to build a fire. The Scouts in the patrol may have gotten a little out of the excercise, but not much.


Tell 5 Scouts who understand EDGE to teach their patrols how to build a fire, and watch what happens. The process will take longer, but the Scouts in the patrols will have a hands-on excercise where they have success building a fire.


This method is taught in NYLT as well as WB, so it is becoming very familiar language to Scouts and Scouters, from different directions. Scouts are seeing continuity and repetition in the program. The bottom line is, for a group that doesn't have much teaching experience (11 - 17 year old boys), the method is simple and it works. EDGE covers all the steps, which many Scouts will leave out, since they may have a very different understanding of what you mean when you say "teach."

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Green Bar Bill had to come out of retirement in order to save scouting from the 1970s, and even then we are seeing the repercussions with new leaders with no scouting and outdoor experience.


As for me, all EDGE is the latest fancy word for the old Tell Show Do method of teaching.

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