Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Lisabob

"by the book" who makes disciplinary decisions?

Recommended Posts

If a PL has been trained in the basics of conflict management and teamwork building, there are very few issues that he couldn't address. Of course if it is a "serious" event, then assistance from the SM/ASM/CC would come into play. Surely no one is expecting the PL to be what he is incapable of, but allowing them the opportunity to deal with any and all issues pertaining to his patrol is vital to his leadership development.

 

To disallow the scouts no involvement in the issues of discipline is not doing the boys any favors, nor is it giving them a chance to deal with problems of the real world. Surely the boys of the patrol will only gain respect for a fair and just PL when dealing with issues of discipline in his patrol. To have the adults step in and take away that opportunity is why many boys will never develop their full leadership potential.

 

Just because it's a "discipline" issue does not mean I automatically step in and "rescue" the PL. On the contrary, I wait for his request for assistance (usually after the SPL has had an opportunity to assist the PL). I find that about 95% of all issues are well within the PL's skill set to deal with the problems. If one has a solid SPL that really functions as such and doesn't just wear the patch, very few issues ever reach me. The boys themselves have determined the seriousness of the issue and this is an excellent skill for them to develop.

 

With boy-led, patrol-method, the autonomy of the patrol is respected in all issues facing it, not just those that are comfortable and supportive to the leadership's self-esteem. For an adult to jump in and take over when things go sour really undermines the authority of the PL and other youth leadership.

 

Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree Neil, The patrol leaders focuses on creating and maaintaining a good team structure so that conflicts are minimal. The SPL focusews mor on conflict resolution. The adults are proght in for counceling and if needed seding the youth home to be dealt with by his parehts or guardians. It is a tiered respoinse doe that the scout's involvement can grow as the scout develops in skill and experience.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, it's always amusin' to read different folks interpretations of the program, eh? Everybody reads things in light of their own personal prejudices. Those who have a hierarchical view somehow read the materials as a "tiered" approach, while jblake and others who run successful programs think of it more as a "team" approach, eh?

 

But certainly nothin' in the materials suggests that youth leaders aren't involved in discipline. Quite the opposite! In a boy-led patrol and troop, da youth leaders are the ones who are goin' to be dealin' with incidents and behaviors the most often. And that's an important part of the boys' learnin'.

 

Where it gets a bit hard is with same-age patrol structures and elections sometimes. It's pretty natural for an older Troop Guide or SPL to handle discipline stuff, or for an older PL in a mixed-age patrol, or even for the natural "gang leader" that Kudu talks about in a same-age patrol. Where it breaks sometimes is when it's a group of peers and da natural leader isn't the official leader. A "rotated in" PL of a New Scout Patrol ain't likely to be able to handle discipline matters, and expectin' him to is really unfair to the lad. Especially since most of da discipline issues at that level involve conflicts over chores assigned by the PL's duty roster. ;)

 

I've always been impressed with youth leaders and discipline. For one, they know the "kid dynamic" better than the adults, eh? They know who the real instigators are, and how da kids act when no adults are watchin'. They also tend to be scrupulously fair, where adults have to work hard not to play favorites.

 

Beavah

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"A "rotated in" PL of a New Scout Patrol ain't likely to be able to handle discipline matters, and expectin' him to is really unfair to the lad. Especially since most of da discipline issues at that level involve conflicts over chores assigned by the PL's duty roster."

 

 

Which is why the BSA program is designed with a Troop Guide who works with the New Scout Patrol and trains the scouts on things like why and how duty rosters are used, so that conflicts can be minimalized and should there be friction in that patrol the Troop Guide is there to help them through it.

 

An element of the BSA program you failed to mention in your hypothetical situation.

 

I see very little in what jblake is proposing that conflicts with the BSA program as far as the patrol leader being the first level (or first person on the team if you prefer) to be in contact with the situation and try to resolve it using the tools he has at that time and in that office.

 

This would not include punishing scouts, that is not the role or the purose of the PL, nor will it help the growth or the funtion of the patrol as a team.

 

You can argue that jblake or others are successful at what they do, the question is, if they are not following the scouting program, then is what they do really Boy Scouting, or are they simply using the name and the uniform for their own program.

 

If you are not using the Scouting program, then how can you be successful at delivering a Scouting program?(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>You can argue that jblake or others are successful at what they do, the question is if they arenot following the scouting program, then is what they do really Boy Scouting, or are they simply using the name and the uniform for their own program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, easy there, BW. If yeh read my post, you will see that I did indeed mention Troop Guides, eh? And in much da way you suggest.

 

But yeh lost me completely when in one paragraph you say that you see very little in what jblake does that conflicts with the BSA program, and then yeh go on to take digs at him for not doin' the BSA program. :( And then make references to punishing scouts, which hasn't come up anywhere. A might confusin', eh?

 

Personally, I think all the scouters I've met are doin' their best to offer a good scouting program to kids, and it isn't particularly courteous or kind to imply otherwise. Yah, sure, each scouter brings in his own ideas and background to the game, eh? Often that makes scoutin' richer. Strength in diversity and all that, eh? Yah, sure, occasionally scouters' interpretations of things can be a bit off, too. Doesn't mean they aren't doin' their best, or aren't doin' good things for kids, or aren't doin' scouting.

 

For example, one might suggest that somehow responses to behavior in a scout program should be devoid of consequences ("punishment"), except for the most extreme consequences of temporary or permanent removal from a unit. That would be a misunderstandin' of the BSA materials and program, and one that is not developmentally sound. Consequences for kids behaviors is a part of what all good youth and adult leaders do in a troop, eh? A PL and an ASM might well work as a team and tell Johnny that he can't play in the capture the flag game tonight because he hasn't finished cleanin' the dishes. Johnny may feel that he's bein' "punished" by his PL, but da reality is he's just experiencin' a consequence of his choices.

 

As another example of a personal interpretation, a poster might suggest that da BSA approach to discipline is that an SPL focuses more on conflict resolution, while a PL focuses more on teambuilding (even though da PL's Handbook makes conflict resolution a PL task). That might work well for that person's troop, eh? In a patrol of peers, for example, turnin' to da (older) SPL for conflict resolution might be a fine way to go. That might not be followin' the BSA materials verbatim or understandin' 'em as clearly as perhaps they should, but I'd say they were runnin' a fine scout program if it worked for 'em.

 

Same with a "tiered" approach, eh? That's an easy thing to understand for a SM who thinks in terms of hierarchies. It can make for a fine way to run a troop, even though it's a bit a departure from the more holistic approach suggested by da BSA materials.

 

Yah, sure there's a point where someone crosses over da line, eh? Like hitting a kid. Up until that point, they're still doin' Scouting even if they're not doin' it exactly the same way we would.

 

Beavah

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One must also realize that by containing the problem in the patrol first also keeps the perception of seriousness at bay. If the PL handles a small squabble amongst his boys, fine, but if he seeks to or has to take it up the chain of command to the SPL then the problem appears bigger than what it originally was, just a squabble. Once the SM gets wind and steps in, it's now a really big problem and the PL has lost total control of the situation and the two squabbling boys are sent home.

 

In a team situation, everyone takes care of everyone else, but as we all know at times others push our buttons and we fly off the handle. It's not a major issue unless the powers that be or the standing operating procedures escalate it far more than it needs be.

 

My PL's are trained to use the least amount of interference to begin with. Not much is gained by the PL running rough-shod over the others. A little "time-out" opportunities for each side to cool down and soon the whole incident is forgotten. Push comes to shove, maybe the PL needs to break it up and then assign some "time-out". All these reactions on the part of the PL enhance his respect and shows an impartiality in stressful situations. If however, the situation is more serious, he can bring in the SPL as a referee, mediator, assistant, to give resolution to the problem. Sometimes even the APL can function in this role as well.

 

The nice thing about this all is that the adults, who usually come in as gang-busters aren't involved unless asked. This way the team dynamics stay in tact, the members show they are working it out amongst themselves and no one needs to get sent home.

 

The only exception to this is safety issues. Here anyone can call anyone else on the carpet. Get everyone safe first then turn it over to the PL to deal with. Troop goes to the city pool to take the BSA swim test and Johnny doesn't pass. Then it's open swim time and Johnny heads for the deep end of the pool. SM catches the non-swimmer before he gets to the deep end and calls over the PL. PL states that the life-guard said it was ok. Then I asked who was running his patrol, the life-guard or the PL? The PL spent the rest of the evening working with the non-swimmer on his swim test instead of having fun with his buddies in the deep end.

 

Many times these "discipline" issues are great learning experiences and great opportunities for leadership to become real for the boys. The PL's trained in proper discipline techniques, applied fairly and impartially are some of the best leadership tools available to the boys.

 

Stosh

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I guess this begs the question that if the program is doing now what was considered boy scouting 40 years ago, can it still be boy scouting now?"

 

Not a really clear question Barry.

 

Do yu mean if the BSA was doing today what it did 40 years ago would it still be Boy Scouting?

 

If that is your question then I gusess you would have to say that A) Most of todays program IS what Scouting was 40 years ago. and B) Whatever the BSA program is today is what the progran is today...isn't it? Whether it was made of elements from 40 years ago or 40 days ago, today's scouting is what today's Scouting Program says it is.

 

 

Beavah,

I read what you wrote and no you did not mention the fact that one of the purposes of the Troop Guide as a part of the Ne Scout Patrol becase of the inexperience of the new scouts to know how to avoid and deal with conflicts.

 

jblake

There is nothing in the current BSA training that tells a scoutmaster to step in and interrupt a patrol leader who is tryiing to work things out at the patrol level. Your post suggestsw that that is what the program suggests and they you have a better way. It would appear that your methods are very close to thoise of the BSA yo just don't know that because you would rather see your way as right and the BSA as wrong.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your post suggestsw that that is what the program suggests and they you have a better way. It would appear that your methods are very close to thoise of the BSA yo just don't know that because you would rather see your way as right and the BSA as wrong.

 

Yah, I think you're comin' at this with your own prejudice, BW. I didn't read anything in jblake's posts in this thread that suggests anything like you think it did.

 

Rather, as you point out, jblake is properly usin' the patrol method and youth leadership in a way that's consistent with da best sort of scoutin'. He's defendin' the program by emphasizin' that youth leaders are and should be involved in discipline/conflict management. The two of you are in loud agreement. ;)

 

Beavah

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gosh thanks beavah, if I hadn't already said that what jblake was doing seemed to be following the program I never would have realized it without you saying it again.

 

No one was shouting. I have said twice that what what jblake says he is doing appears to be very close to what the BSA program supports.

 

What I saw as the difference was that jblake doesn't know that he is following the program, he felt he was training his patrol his way and that is was somehow different from what the BSA training and program supports.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I saw as the difference was that jblake doesn't know that he is following the program, he felt he was training his patrol his way and that is was somehow different from what the BSA training and program supports.

 

Didn't read that at all. What I read was jblake telling us how he does things. Don't think he posted it was different from what the BSA training & program supports.

 

When you read between the lines all you read is white space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gee thanks guys, I'm glad we got me straightened out. For a minute there I was kinda worried. :^)

 

In some minor respects BW is correct in that I don't follow the manual exactly as written. My way is not EXACTLY to the numbers proper, but I have tweaked it a bit to fit my situation, what my boys want, what works best and what supports the continuation of scouting in my place at my time. My "program" today might not be better or worse than BSA program, (frankly I don't lay awake nights worrying about it), but it does seem to produce the results that work in my situation. Does doing it different make the BSA program "wrong"? I guess it'd be a stretch for me to consider that, but in my situation it is wrong for what we are trying to accomplish. Next door, it might be "right" but then their situation, being different might need a third approach to make things work for them.

 

Whether it be my troop or crew, in order to have a successful program that works, one has to consistently be tweaking, modifying and trying out different things. The concept of boy-led, patrol-method is touted by BSA, but in reality isn't supported by the local traditions and interpretations so I kinda do my own thingy. I have a unique situation where I have 99% new boys and they are all fired up about doing it their way and having an adult supportive of this and it's causing excitement and growth that is difficult to control. But we're having a great time doing it.

 

My crew has stood the test of time and has been around as long as Venturing has, something a lot of units can't claim. But the book? Absolutely not. Successful? Yep. Teaches the principles of scouting? Yep. Do we have crew officers? Kinda, in name only. All of them are totally non-functioning. Does that mean I think BSA is wrong? Heavens no, it just means that in my situation, other dynamics require me to do things far differently than BSA structures the generic crew to make it work. Is it successful, the boys think so, the district thinks so and the hobby in which it operates definitely thinks so.

 

The nice thing about BSA is that it has a certain amount of directives and guidance it gives through its literature and training, but it also expects its leadership to be successful and that often times means more than what it can offer in print and yet BSA is flexible enough to make it happen for the boys. As long as the boys accomplish the goals of scouting, the methods may vary a lot from one unit to the next and it doesn't make someone is doing it right and someone is wrong just because they are doing things differently. This right and wrong judgmentalism isn't something that I find very helpful so I basically ignore it. If it is working, leave it alone, if it isn't, fix it. So far BSA has done nothing but encourage me and has never repremanded me for my successful programs in two differing BSA programs. As a matter of fact, they sought me out and ask me to take over a failing unit because of my "not so orthodox" methods that seem to be working very well.

 

Stosh

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  

×
×
  • Create New...