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If EDGE is bad/wrong/poor, How do you Teach Youth to Teac

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well, never forget, Obtuseness is a gift...


Anyway, yes, we will soon have a batch of Scouts who wish to be instructors but a few have commented, how do I teach? Since we are having a discussion on how woefully poor EDGE is, I would like to know how you would teach youth to teach scouting skills. What has worked and what hasnt.


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You are dead on right.  An 11 year old is not the audience for the theory of learning.  Rank and MB requirements should not say EDGE.  Instead, say "Teach a scout" or "Show a new scout".  As scouts ma

The problem with EDGE is that adults are taking their young scouts' time to discuss teaching. A recent study showed that more 11 year old scouts were hurt falling out of their chair asleep while liste

Holy Zombie Thread, Batman! I love having a full size (square) necker.   Anything else and I would rather go without.   I cant find the original parent thread, anyone want to summarize why E

I've done a day or two of adult education, student and instructor.


Learning styles matter.


Some need only read the book, and they can do the skill.


Some need not read, but need to see with their eyes, and they can do the skill.


Some must be guided by a live person demonstrating.


Some require a little practice, some require a lot.


As I've said elsewhere, there is nothing new in EDGE, it's simply a way to organize the TRAINER to train a skill. Trust me, I can show you the Army "how to train" toolbox ... but I really do not think you want me to. It'll make you hurl for the bureaucracy.

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J in KC,


Well said. Some methods work to teach some people, some to teach other people. Some methods work with certain teachers, others with other instructors. EDGE isn't a bad framework to give Scouts to use. When they have more experience, they will figure out what methods work for them. Until then, EDGE is just as good of a framework as most anything. It's better than no guidance at all or hiring French Mimes.


From what I can gather by reading this thread (and the one that spun it up), Qwazse is very text oriented in his teaching (and learning). Beavah is very hands-on. Both can be effective, but aren't effective for all teachers or students. For example, I can't learn how to tie complex knots by way of the handbook. Sure, I can copy the illustration with a rope, but it will be out of my head as quickly as close the book. If somebody shows me a knot without a use for it (i.e. miming how to do it), the same will happen--it will go in and out of my head . I need a combination of a demonstration and an explanation to learn the knot--and for the most part, I need three or four repetitions of that over a period of time (i.e. with at the least hours in between repetitions).


I also concur with pchadbo--teaching a skill to another is one of the best ways to learn the skill to automaticity. That's why I like the Life Scout requirement of teaching Scout skills.



In terms of OGE's post about Education majors, My observation is that education professors are either exemplary teachers or they are horrible teachers. Rarely are they in between. Also, to some degree I would make my own version of the old saying: "Those who want to, do, those who would rather talk about it, teach" I love science, and loved teaching about science. I don't much like actually doing science (as a researcher). Yes, I can do science, I would just prefer not to, I'd rather talk about it.

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In the other thread some of our fellow scouters have lamented on how totally lacking the evil EDGE method is as a tool for scouts to use to teach. The evils of Wood Badge were even thrown in for good measure. I think what OGE is looking for is for the folks who see the conspiracy behind the insideous nature of EDGE to belly up to the bar with their much more Sure fire, cracker jack, works every time, superior methodology, such as mimes......but I could be wrong.

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Yah, "bad" is such a loaded term, eh? I think EDGE is just poppycock. There's a difference. ;). Bad yeh oppose. Poppycock yeh just smile and make fun of so people don't buy da snake oil without thinkin'.


I think yeh help lads learn how to teach usin' an apprenticeship model, not some cockamamie learning theory. But if I were to distill a few things as food for thought, they'd probably include these sorts of things:


1) Know your subject. Yeh can't teach what yeh don't understand. So first, be confident that you can do what yeh need to at least 3 different ways, or from three different starting points, or backwards. Can yeh answer deep questions about da topic? Can yeh pose 'em? If not, practice and play because yeh aren't ready to teach.


2) Know your learner. Timid and shy? Bold as brass? Reads well? Hates reading but listens well? Watches well? Group of first year lads with short attention spans and no vocabulary? Group of older scouts? If yeh don't know your learner yeh can't teach. So if you're comin' in cold, start with your best guess and then do like da research says and start with questions and tasks to figure out where da learner is at. Remember: it's not possible to teach. All that's possible is to make it easier for someone to learn. It's a about them, not you (that's my biggest problem with EDGE, BTW ;))


3) Know your goals and make 'em realistic. Yeh aren't goin' to get someone to really learn fire building on one outing. Split things up into what's reasonable and plan to repeat things down the road. So follow da research and be content with learning takin' time and comin' back around on things.


4) Plan some stuff that yeh think will take da learner(s) yeh have to the next step. If yeh are stuck for ideas, talk to someone else for ideas. There's no real "generic" here, eh? What yeh do to coax a kid down a rappel is just different then what yeh do to help a lad learn to splint an arm. Different for each topic, different for each kid. Borrow ideas from others liberally.


5) Try everything yourself first, and practice at least once runnin' through things to catch problems. Yeh won't catch 'em all, but that's what makes this fun. But yeh need to catch some so yeh don't get in trouble.Get there early to set up and get settled.


7). Assess often. Don't be afraid to slow down or back up or go faster or change to different approach if that's what the learner needs. Followin' a script is all about you (or the script), but real teaching is all about them.


8) Be ready with hard challenges for the fast learners to tackle while you work with da lads who need more help. If yeh have a bigger group, set up stuff so fast learners can help yeh help lads who are stuck.


Always remember it's not what you do that matters. It's what the learner does. So always be thinkin' about what the learner is doin', not what you're doin'.


That sort of stuff, eh? Of course the same applies to us helpin' kids learn how to teach. Make sure they know the topic they're goin' to teach well, none of this "teach it to learn it" nonsense. Make sure they're apprenticed to someone good at teaching that topic. Figure out where the lad is at, and what the next good goal is for him in terms of teaching. Come up with some exercises and challenges that match him and the goal. And so on.


Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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emv - How is this [asking for a book to start an MB] a problem? A Scout is thrifty.


It's not a big problem, but sometimes my scouts come off with the impression that you won't learn if you don't have the book before you even phone the counselor. I'm not sure if that's because of my "start with the Handbook" approach.


But truth is MBC's have varying opinions of the BSA materials. They have varying teaching models. My 1st aid MBC was an "Explain", "Enable" kinda guy. I sat on his porch being told what to do, doing it, being told what not to do the next time, doing it again. All the while he and my dad engaged in small talk. His reference, which he loaned me, was an outdated Red Cross manual.


If I made the effort, I'd probably have a different story regading teaching style and method for each badge on my sash.


Experiencing that diversity is part of the game, I guess.


(ooh, there's another topic).

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In my opinion, EDGE isn't wrong, just not needed. The BSA has had teaching methods in place for decades that work just fine. To me, it seems someone at the BSA paid a lot of $$$$ for EDGE and now they have to use it! Making it part of the requirements only reinforces this.

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Ed, can you describe the methods of training BSA had in years past. Bevah gave a nice description of how to train, it might be good to print and laminate his post as a referece. Can you descibe the instructional methods BSA has used in the past

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Let's see. I might not get this exactly correct.


Explain - let the Scout know what he skill is and how it is used

Demonstrate - show the Scout how to do the skill

Help - have the Scout try the skill while you watch and advise

Practice - the Scout practices the skill until proficient

Test - have the Scout show you the skill he has been taught

Teach - the Scout teaches other Scouts the skill he has just mastered


So that is EDHPTT which stands for



Helpful and




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The BSA's "method" was to spend six months teaching the most gifted leader in a Patrol how to take his Scouts on Patrol Hikes without adult supervision. After he proved his competency, the adventure multiplied to extended Patrol Hikes call Patrol Overnights.


Here is the whole six month course, which includes teaching Patrol Leaders how to teach Scout skills while out on adventure:





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I would like to point out that Kudu's way of instructing is

1. Deconstruct our presupposed existing models.

2. Give us a reference.

3. Challenge us to apply it.

4. Trust that we will refer to it as needed.


The reference he gave us follows roughly the same model. (Its references are the Patrol Leader's HB and Boys Life.) It's very clear that the method is not a one-shot deal. It needs to be implemented repeatedly (about 12 times a year). New trainers (i.e. patrol leaders) will be continuously cycled into the process. It will require constant monitoring.


But, it sure sounds like fun!

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