Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
sherminator505

EDGE - why dictate it?

Recommended Posts

Of course EDGE has basis in the real world. It's just an acronym for 4 things that good trainers incorporate in training. Tell what you are going to teach them, show it, guide the learners through it, and give them a chance to do it in a real situation. Now, in the "real world" or academic world, is there an idea known as EDGE. No, there's not. Does that make EDGE useless and invalid. No, it doesn't. Again, is it the best model, no, but it's not the worst either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was skimming through the requirements, and it looks like this is not the only case where the BSA demands that a particular method be used, rather than just requiring a particular result. For example, we require use of the buddy system and Leave No Trace. We require that a camp fire be built using certain camp tools, or that first aid be demonstrated using certain techniques. I think its obvious why we do this. For example, we require that Scouts build a campfire using a set of camp tools because the point we are trying to hammer home is how to use those tools safely and effectively, not just to see whether or not they can light something on fire. I think its a similar idea to how teachers often won't let students use calculators on a math test. Sure, if the student uses a calculator, he'd get the right answer, and maybe even get it faster than doing the problem by hand. But the real goal isn't just to get the right answer on a few specific math problems, its really to develop the critical thinking necessary to understand and internalize the underlying concepts, and to be able to apply them to any situation.

 

Tying this back into that pesky Life Scout requirement - clearly the purpose of that requirement is not just to teach another scout how to tie a knot or build a fire. Its to evaluate the Life Scout candidate's development as a trainer and as a leader. I think the BSA requires a specific method be used as a sort of metric to determine the effectiveness of the training. For example, if I'm able to teach a Scout to tie a square knot, but it takes me several hours, and I thouroughly confuse the Scout, am I really an effective trainer? I think the one of the reasons that the BSA requires EDGE is to try to have a consistent metric for evaluating effective training.

 

Of course, the BSA is basing all this on the assumption that EDGE, well, works. And the evidence supporting the effectiveness of EDGE is somewhere between shaky and non-existant. So, I don't think the problem is so much that the BSA requires a given method be used, but that the method they require has not been shown to be more effective than just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, so to speak. I don't think we'd be having this conversation if EDGE was in the same camp as LNT, the buddy system, or the first aid methods we teach, which are all pretty consistent with the best practices used by the rest of the world, are regularly reviewed and updated, and have some evidence supporting their success.

 

So, bottom line for me is that I'd be fine with requiring the use of a certain training method, provided the chosen method meets the criteria I've mentioned above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>>> Now, in the "real world" or academic world, is there an idea known as EDGE. No, there's not. Does that make EDGE useless and invalid. No, it doesn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, is it the best model, no, but it's not the worst either.

 

Again, that's a claim. And your evidence for it is.... what?

 

There's no basis for evaluating whether or not it's the worst model. There's no basis for claiming that "good trainers" do these four things (let alone only these four things, and in this order).

 

Even our own BSA training doesn't follow da model, eh?

 

So like clemlaw and KC9DDI state, I don't think there's any problem if yeh choose to use EDGE yourself because it resonates with you for some reason. Teachers should teach from their own strengths and philosophies. But I just don't see any basis for it being required, especially since there are other more broadly accepted and sound methods out there.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@KC9DDI-

 

I think we're talking about apples and oranges here. When we insist upon certain methods for performing first aid or CPR, building fires, using the buddy system or using the LNT ethic, we do so because there are well-defined reasons for employing those methods. Particularly in the areas of health and safety, it is important to ensure that methods are consistent and uniform.

 

What I have yet to see is a well-defined reason for using EDGE as the one and only method for teaching in Scouting. Evaluating effectiveness in teaching a Scout skill is not hard. One needs only to show that the learner has acquired the skill.

 

In my work, we have specifications that govern how a contractor builds public works. These specifications have evolved in recent years from prescriptive specifications (where the contractor is told exactly how to do the work) to performance-based specifications (where the contractor is told what measurable results are expected). Note that there are still some prescribed methods as well as prohibited methods, but those only exist where there is a well-defined reason for a more rigid specification.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beavah,

 

EDGE matches up (not perfectly) with most general methods of teaching. There is nothing about it that's radically new or different. That is what I base my claims on. There is no logical reason I can come up with that EDGE wouldn't work for most trainers and most students most of the time (of course there will be situations when it isn't appropriate, that's true of any model). Yes, EDGE is a simplistic model that doesn't take everything into account. A more experienced teacher shouldn't need it, and will use a much more sophisticated model. However, for use by boys in teaching scout skills, it will work. There is nothing in it that is radically different from the way most people teach things.

 

 

From reading your posts about it, I think you envision it as the following:

1) Explain--spend half an hour explaining how to do it, with the students sitting down in a lecture situation.

2) Demonstrate-spend half an hour demonstrating the skill, again, with the students sitting down in a lecture situation.

3) Guide--spend five minutes guiding in how to do the skill

4) Enable the students to show the skill once.

 

The training on EDGE (based on the PDF for the trainer to use, not personal experience sitting in on a training) says that the explanation should be no more than 10% of the time spent. It should be brief. Demonstrate should possibly be a bit longer. Most of the time should be spent in Guiding and Enabling. The order isn't fixed in stone, and there is nothing wrong with doing several explanations and demonstrations in using it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sherm: "When we insist upon certain methods for performing first aid or CPR, building fires, using the buddy system or using the LNT ethic, we do so because there are well-defined reasons for employing those methods. Particularly in the areas of health and safety, it is important to ensure that methods are consistent and uniform."

 

Really? In the past 10 years I've learned four different CPR methods. The latest model is dumbed down to just doing compressions with no breathing. I wouldn't call that uniform or consistent. You know what was uniform and cosistent, the different organizations that taught my CPR course all employeed Explain, Demonstrate, Guide and Enable in all four different CPR methods. Of course they didn't say that was what the teaching.learning method they were going to use, but it is indeed how they went about doing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sherminator - Actually I think we're pretty much in agreement. My problem is that there are no clear reasons for requiring that EDGE be used. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that EDGE works at all. Now, I'd have no problem requiring the use of a training method supported by evidence showing its effectiveness, and maybe that's where we differ? Sure, its not a health and safety issue like the buddy system is, but I wouldn't have any problem with requiring knowledge of a worthwhile training model, much like we requiring knowledge of a worthwhile outdoor model (LNT).

 

Beaver - Regarding CPR specifically, the new compressions-only approach was not developed to dumb down anything. It was developed because research revealed ample evidence that compressions-only CPR is substantially more effective than pausing CPR for rescue breathing. It has nothing to do with rescue breathing being too difficult - it just turned out to be more effective to focus on doing quality chest compressions. And I think "consistency" refers more to keeping the BSA's program material in sync with what experts in the wider world have found to be the most effective ways to do something.

 

It comes back to evidence. The CPR recommendations were changed because new evidence strongly suggested there was a better way to do it. EDGE, on the other hand, does not seem to be supported by evidence. Saying that you once learned something where the instruction consisted of some combination of explaination, demonstration, guiding and enabling something does not mean that it used the "EDGE method," and is not evidence that EDGE is effective. It means that the method they used happened to involve explaining, demonstrating, guiding and enabling. I think it also means that EDGE is so poorly defined and conveyed that you can point to any education session, effective or not, and claim that it uses the "EDGE method."

 

I don't think there's any argument that these four techniques aren't legitimate tools for instruction, I think the argument it makes any sense to take the four tools, turn them into an acronym, tell people its a new "method" and then force scouts to use it.

 

(This message has been edited by KC9DDI)(This message has been edited by KC9DDI)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KC9DDI,

 

What was Baden Powell's evidence that using the outdoors to base the Scouting movement on would have been any better than building it around the game of cricket? Did he consult scientific research or give some other base a go?

 

Try an experiment. Step 1, personally take one of your new scouts and employee EDGE to teach him how to tie a square knot. See if it works. Step 2, work with an older boy on using the method to teach a new boy how to tie a square knot. See if it works. Step 3, have the new boys imitate how they were taught and have them teach another boy. You might be amazed at the evidence happening before your eyes. Not to beat a dead horse, but this is a natural process people have used thru history. The fact that you can't find books or scientific studies written on the acronym "EDGE" in no way negates the validity of the method.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beaver - That's a bit of a non sequitur. BP's goal was to create an outdoor program, so he made an outdoor program. It doesn't make sense to ask why he didn't prove that having an outdoor program is the best way to have an outdoor program.

 

We're clearly not talking about the same things, so I'll leave it at this:

 

A huge amount of research has gone into developing and testing training and education methods, and there are various methods which can be shown to be particularly effective, and worth teaching, and maybe even worth requiring in the BSA's program. The BSA apparently has skipped over all of this research, as its not clear from where EDGE came, and whether or not its any good. Hence the opposition to requiring something that can't be shown to be worth investing any time in.

 

Claiming that people naturally use certain elements from the EDGE method when teaching is evidence that the BSA's method is worth teaching and requiring. Likewise, saying "try it, and it maybe it won't not work," is also not evidence that it is a method worth teaching and requiring. Same as saying that EDGE is probably better than having no standard method. Even the fact that you may be able to successfully use the EDGE method sometimes is not strong evidence that it should be standardized on program-wide.

 

You may not see the need to have strong academic research in place before using a given education method, and that's fine. But, such research does exist on these topics, and the BSA as a national organization has access to this research and to experts in this field. Thus, it is suprising to me that the BSA is choosing to standardize all of its program materials on a training model that hasn't been shown to be worthwhile, rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to work with existing research and experts to standardize on a model that has been shown to be particularly effective. While it may not be a big deal for you as one Scouter, consider all of the effort and resources that will be put into EDGE throughout the BSA's nation wide program: program handbooks, training manuals, Woodbadge, NYLT, train-the-trainer type courses, and now every Scout working on a rank requirement. When you look at it from that perspective, it seems silly to put all of that effort into something that might just possibly work, in theory, maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it makes sense for the BSA to standardize on a single training delivery model, mainly to contribute to creating a consistent experience from unit to unit and training program to training program.

 

Actually, I disagree with this. Among actual studies done on teaching (and learning) styles, it's pretty clear that not everybody learns best the same way, and so it seems foolish to mandate a single teaching methodology, since it will not be effective for everybody. If we are going to start looking at methodology, we ought to make the requirement something like "teach someone how to do X using two different teaching methods. Tell which one was more effective."

 

Or we could just leave it at "teach someone how to do X" and let the boys discover for themselves that not everybody learns the same way.

 

jksolomon, as someone who's taught Situational Leadership (formally and informally) myself, I do not see it and EDGE as the same thing at all. They each have four bullet points on a Power Point slide, but the points don't really map to the same thing. EDGE is a formula, you crank through the steps. Situational Leadership is a way of evaluation the team you're leading (note another major difference, EDGE is about teaching, SL is about leading and managing. Teaching is often a component of leadership, but leadership is far more than teaching*) and of tailoring your leadership to their abilities.

 

I'm all for introducing Scouts to the concept of teaching methodologies, but I think it's a bad idea to limit it to just one and make it out to be someo sort of silver bullet.

 

* EDIT : doh! I see Beavah already pointed this out(This message has been edited by JMHawkins)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meh...reading through a lot of these posts, I'm a bit flabbergasted. I hope as much effort is being spent working with the boys in the program as there is questioning the program. I guess we could question the program ad nauseum...do we REALLY need a Family Life merit badge, camping, etc, etc, leader positions, the Eagle project itself.

 

I don't believe SCOTUS or POTUS are meaningless because they don't have meaning outside the United States. If groups want to use their own internal acronyms, why should that be an issue?

 

One proverb I believe I've found to be true: "1 fool can ask more questions than 10 wise men can answer."

 

Seems a monumental waste of time better spent helping boys.

 

I use EDGE with my boys, I teach my boys to use EDGE, the have grown because of it. In doing so I believe I'm also teaching them how to be law abiding citizens instead of throwing out those laws/rules/requirements they don't agree with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JMHawkins - Another way of looking at it might be that a good training model will account for different learning styles, and have the trainer adjust his delivery techniques based on the audience's needs. This is actually something that EDGE tries to do, by tying the different components of EDGE to different phases in team development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems a monumental waste of time better spent helping boys.

 

I use EDGE with my boys, I teach my boys to use EDGE, the have grown because of it. In doing so I believe I'm also teaching them how to be law abiding citizens instead of throwing out those laws/rules/requirements they don't agree with.

 

The ability to repeal needless laws is a foundation of our constitution. I think my boys will be better citizens if they learn what EDGE lacks, rise to authority in the national cabinet, and strike down these requirements. :)

 

I'll change my mind if the youngn's taught by your EDGEers are more competent than the youngn's taught by my Handbookers.

 

If somebody comes up with a better rule than "Reach, Throw, Row, and Go (with support)" for teaching water rescure, I'm open to it. When folks figured out that compressions-only had a higher success rate, I asked my re-certification instructor how soon the rule would change. I don't consider any of those discussions a waste of time because that's what distinguishes rescuers from shamans!

 

If EDGE is indeed better than reference-based instruction, if in fact requiring the use of books in every facet of education had nothing to do with the West rising out of the Dark Ages ... well, then let's EDGE away!

 

But if you have your doubts, relay them to your boys. They might actually learn how to teach in the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×