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I did not think that you were but this sort of forum is a poor source of communication for anything that is nuanced. It is important to me that someone reading this forum did not take the saying as a literal truth in how a surgeon first does a complicated and difficult surgery.


Happy New Year's!

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We tell our Scouts that going for rank is similar to going for a belt in karate. After you learn the skill, you need to practice a while before standing for the test.

As far as learning mastery before teaching, I am reminded of comments made by university professors. When you earn your PhD, you are thought qualified to teach. Yet, most will admit they had't really mastered their field until they've taught for a few years. Does that mean their students have gotten short shrift? It depends on if they can understand the next course in the sequence, and how much effort they've made themselves.

Most anyone can teach the bowline without being a master at it. All they would have to remember is that the rabbit comes out of the hole, runs around the tree, sees the dog, & jumps back down into his hole. Mastery would mean the teacher can tie the bowline with either hand, can tie it one handed with either hand, can tie it with the knot facing you, can tie it with the object between the knot and the teacher, can tie it blindfolded, can tie it on a bight -- and all this is just for the quick-tie bowline, and not for all 200 plus types of bowline

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Personally I think Scouting permits a wide array of standards in the kind of learning expected of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.


You can observe those variations in the way Merit Badges and other requirements are signed off at summer camp and the way adults are instructed at Leadership Outdoor Skill Training.


In the latter, adults are exposed to many of the skills expected of a First Class Scout in a weekend or two. This will serve to refresh the skills of a former Scout, but not train someone new to the skill with any thoroughness.


I think it can give the new person enough of an introduction so that they can continue to learn the skill and be able to teach and demonstrate it when needed.


Also, The Head Office would like to see new Scouts make First Class in a year in order to maximize the number of boys who continue in the program. That tends to mean that most boys aren't going to be experts in Scout skills when they get those requirement signed off.


If they CONTINUE in Scouting for several years, it's likely that they will use and practice and teach the skills often enough to master them.


So if I have a choice of a boy who masters the Scout Skills as a Star or Life Scout or one who gets discouraged and drops out as a Tenderfoot, the choice is easy for me.


Circa 2005 I had been teaching boys in a Scout Troop to tie the bowline, using games that involve tieing the bowline and throwing the rope to a "drowning" boy who would then be dragged to "shore".


While we were on a snowshoe hike, the youngest and newest boy in the troop became separated and slid down a shoot about thirty feet of deep, steep and soft powder snow he couldn't climb out of.


Another adult wanted to take charge of that rescue, but I held him back and tossed a rope to the senior Scouts who were Star and Life. They managed to tie a bowline, lower one Scout down to aid the struggling Scout and get everyone back up again.


I think all the Scouts learned something about Scout skills from that.







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