"Mass" Teaching and Advancement

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"Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby ScoutingStokes » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:12 pm

My understanding is that each rank has a more advanced skill level than the one before it, albeit each rank covers basically the same areas. The idea being that the boy is continually repeating skills he's learned while building on and expanding them at each level.

So what I would like to know is, is it "legal" to teach First Class first aid skills to ALL the Boys -First Class and down, then sign off, even the Scouts and Tenderfoots, their requirements all the way through First Class? Obviously, "mass" teaching the skills this way keeps the boy from repeating and practicing his skills, right? But is it "allowed"?

The ScoutMaster in our Troop recently had someone come in and give First Aid Training. This guest went into great detail, covering even CPR. While this was wonderful for the older Boys who were comfortable with basic first aid skills, I don't think it was appropriate for the Scouts and brand new Tenderfoots who are still working on basic skills like bandaging a cut. And I certainly don't think they should have been given credit for 2nd and 1st Class requirements! Unfortunately, first aid is not the only thing our SM "mass" trains in. Actually, he does it in everything, with the idea that the boys need "to move along together". He's hearding the boys through the program.

Last weekend on our campout, I watched the SM sign off on a boy's Tenderfoot cooking requirements, even though his father did ALL of the cooking for the patrol. I am the Advancement Chair, and I realize it is not my job to test the boys on their achievements, but I DO need to be able to trust in the SM judgement of their skill level! And in the SM's honesty, right?

I've been a Scouter for 8 years, but the majority of my experience was in Cubs. My oldest son has been a Boy Scout for about 3 years, but during his first year and a half, I was still active with the Cubs with my younger son. I have been incredibly frustrated for the last year, watching how this Troop does things. Is this the right way? Is this what Scouting becomes as the Boys get older? It was such a terrific program for the younger guys, how could it not be for the older ones, too?

I guarantee you that I can toss 75% of our Scouts, Tenderfoots and 2nd Class Scouts a piece of rope, and they could not even tie a square knot, let alone anything more complicated. Am I wrong? Is this the way Advancement should be done?
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:33 pm

I agree there is a problem with some things BUT scouts may work on T 2 1 all at the same time.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:25 pm

It's allowed and standard practice. This is my number one concern/complaint about BSA advancement....allowing all 3 junior ranks to be worked on at the same time. The BSA "make 1st class in a year" drives this. It's a retention thing and then they hit the wall for S/L/E, realize how much can't be "done in bulk" and flame out.

I would express your concerns to the SM and Committee at the next available opportunity.

I also tell my guys, that just because you have it signed off doesn't mean you're never going to have to do it again. It just means I expect you to know what to do, e.g. bring the right gear, get camp set up and get the meals going.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby Quailman » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:22 pm

I read your post before seeing who you were. Halfway through, I had to check to see if you were in my troop. :( I don't remember being on a campout last weekend, but otherwise it sounds like our SM. He runs a tight advancement mill.

The older boys should teach the new ones, with the in-betweens honing their skills so they can teach next year. And you should work on scout skills at every meeting, not just ones that need singing off until the younger boys are 1st class.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby milominderbinder2 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:31 am

It is great to teach Scout skills in a group every year. The older Scouts should be doing the teaching, not an expert who is brought in.

You should be teaching First Aid skills every year. The key thing your troop is missing is that the Scouts are not being tested individually.

Imagine someone who believes that they are such a perfect teacher that anyone graced by their presence must have learned everything they said.

But that is how arrogant your SM is.

Since human beings are not that perfect, the BSA policy states:

"Scouts must be tested individually, and they must meet all the requirements." 33088, p. 26

Plus Troops operate as a troop instead of using the required patrol method. So it is not possible for any Scout to cook for his patrol, set up a patrol campsite, etc. for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class.

The problem is not in group teaching.

The problem is with your Scoutmaster's arrogance.

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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby evmori » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:34 am

smtroop168 wrote:It's allowed and standard practice. This is my number one concern/complaint about BSA advancement....allowing all 3 junior ranks to be worked on at the same time. The BSA "make 1st class in a year" drives this. It's a retention thing and then they hit the wall for S/L/E, realize how much can't be "done in bulk" and flame out.

I would express your concerns to the SM and Committee at the next available opportunity.

I also tell my guys, that just because you have it signed off doesn't mean you're never going to have to do it again. It just means I expect you to know what to do, e.g. bring the right gear, get camp set up and get the meals going.


I don't have a problem with Scout working on all three ranks together. The problem I have is the perceived need to get a Scout to 1st Class within 12-14 months of joining a Troop. To me, this leads to unskilled Scouts who only have a cursory knowledge of what they should know.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby smtroop168 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:19 am

Group Teaching is fine. Experts/Special speakers can be good to. We've had the Mayor and one of our state reps come in to cover 1st class #5 (Constitutional rights). It's the Group "signing off" that is the problem if they haven't been individually tested.

Check out the running discussion on Merit Badge events too.

To quote the BSA pub: New Scouts should earn their First Class rank during their first year in the troop. (BSA 33088 p25)

One of the problems with 3 ranks at once is that you can have a scout who has completed all his 2 and 1st class requirements at the same time and wants back-to-back BORs.


ON THE BOY SCOUT RANKS PAGE:

Tenderfoot
- Focuses on camping, cooking, knots, American flag, Scout ideals, physical fitness, and first aid.

Second Class
- Expands on basic skills and adds orienteering, cooking, knife, saw and ax, flag ceremonies, service, and swimming.

First Class
- Expands on Scout skills and focuses on the patrol method.

The "expands" part to me doesn't happen with working on all three ranks at the same time.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby OldGreyBear » Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:18 am

By now you would think it would have sunk in, but once again into the breach my friends

if First Class in a year produces scouts who dont have the "scout skills" that they should, its not the First Year First Class program that is at fault its a Troop Program that teaches a skill, signs off on scouts who may or may not have learned it and then doesnt give the scout a situation where they can use that skill. Don't blame a program if it's not being used correctly. if you have a skill and dont use it, you lose it.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby evmori » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:11 pm

OldGreyBear wrote:By now you would think it would have sunk in, but once again into the breach my friends

if First Class in a year produces scouts who dont have the "scout skills" that they should, its not the First Year First Class program that is at fault its a Troop Program that teaches a skill, signs off on scouts who may or may not have learned it and then doesnt give the scout a situation where they can use that skill. Don't blame a program if it's not being used correctly. if you have a skill and dont use it, you lose it.


Yeah but why the rush? I know the BSA claims boys who earn 1st Class within 12-14 months from joining a Troop are more likely to stay than those who take longer. Yet, I have never seen any data to prove their contention.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby pipestone1991 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:40 pm

As a young scout myself I love the idea of being able to work on all three at the same time. Yet I'm not a huge fan of First Class First Year. I got First Class in 2.5 years :D . Yet I made Eagle two months after I turned 16 8) . The 2nd stage of ranks (Star, Life & Eagle) are a lot different form the 1st Stage, the "skill" ranks (Tenderfoot, 2nd Class & 1st Class).
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby milominderbinder2 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:00 pm

OldGreyBear wrote:...if First Class in a year produces scouts who dont have the "scout skills" that they should, its not the First Year First Class program that is at fault its a Troop Program that teaches a skill, signs off on scouts who may or may not have learned it and then doesnt give the scout a situation where they can use that skill. Don't blame a program if it's not being used correctly. if you have a skill and dont use it, you lose it.

Amen, brother.

For decades, the Scout Handbook has included some version of the statement that in a well run program Scouts should be earning First Class-First Year. It has varied by edition, but it usually is around pages 12, 13, or 14. The Advancement Policies as far back as the 1960's included this as well. I will check some of the editions from the 1950's to see if it goes back even farther.

If a well-run Troop has at least 10 campouts a year plus summer camp, that 26 nights. That not just enough camping for First Class, that is more than enough for Camping Merit Badge. Maybe let one Campout each spring be an advancement campout covering skills through First Class.

The program calls for opening and closing flags, the pledge, Oath, and Law at each meeting. You have at least one meeting each year covering the basics on First Aid 1, First Aid 2, Map & Compass, Knots, Lashings, Packing a pack, Winter/Summer Clothing/Gear, Hiking, Physical Fitness at a Gym, Safe Swim Defense/Safety Afloat, Swimming, Meal Planning, Orienteering, and Citizenship.

Your well-run troop would also only go to nationally accredited summer camps that offer a good first year camper program focusing on First Aid, Swimming, camping, and other basic skills.

You would still need to come up with meeting ideas for the other 35 troop meetings but this would give you a decent start.

If you follow the BSA program, your older Scouts lead the meetings and teach the skills.

Obviously a Scout with learning disabilities may need more time. Scouts who do not go on campouts or to summer camp will need more time. Scouts who do not come to meetings will need more time.

But every 12 months, the program has you teach all of the basic Scouting skills at meetings. You will have reinforced and tested for the skills on the campouts, in particular at the Advancement Campout. The new Scouts will get a full week of summer camp to reinforce all of their skills.

If a new Scout is going on the campouts, coming to meetings, and goes to summer camp...

...how could he not be ready to be tested for his skills through First Class in his first year?

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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby OldGreyBear » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:59 pm

I think there is a misconception that the BSA expects the scout to be at the first class rank in a year, and that is not true, the Troop is to have a program so that an eager scout could reach First Class in a year. Funny, if you show up at half the meetings, and only a campout per quarter, you wont make first class in a year nor would anyone expect it. But it doesnt matter, some will still decry this program as the reason why scouts dont have skills, its easier to blame a faceless program than admit that their Troop Program is lacking, or perhaps they don't understand a basic program of the BSA
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby wagionvigil » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:57 pm

IMHO Most of the leaders donot have the skills to teach the scouts.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby milominderbinder2 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:12 pm

OldGreyBear wrote:I think there is a misconception that the BSA expects the scout to be at the first class rank in a year, and that is not true, the Troop is to have a program so that an eager scout could reach First Class in a year. Funny, if you show up at half the meetings, and only a campout per quarter, you wont make first class in a year nor would anyone expect it. But it doesnt matter, some will still decry this program as the reason why scouts dont have skills, its easier to blame a faceless program than admit that their Troop Program is lacking, or perhaps they don't understand a basic program of the BSA

Absolutely true.

So often the big problems are not with the boys but with the adults.

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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby smtroop168 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:10 pm

Just quoting the infamous 33088.
smtroop168 wrote:To quote the BSA pub: New Scouts should earn their First Class rank during their first year in the troop. (BSA 33088 p25)


No argument from me that a scout can make 1st class with an active (there's that word again) program (if they want to) and no question repetition of the skills makes them second nature when you might need them the most. I didn't see a quote in my 1965 handbook on the First Class-First Year.

Back in the Olden days, you could make 1st class in 3-4 months and Eagle in 15 months. One of the requirements for ranks was to look over the requirements for the next rank and discuss your plans to achieve them. Of course I had to do the requirements for Stalking for 2nd class but for 1st, "Show that you have retained your Second Class first aid knowledge by being able to demonstrate any of it asked for by your examiner".

That's one of the reasons for my concerns about all 3 ranks at the same time. No real building blocks. We've seen in a number of posts that there is too much "one and done" happening such as Scoutingstokes points out.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby milominderbinder2 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:23 pm

Actually the BSA has backed down a long way in only asking for First Class-First Year.

Through the 1960's the Scout Handbooks typically contained language like this from the 1965 Edition, p. 228:

"The early steps put you on the road-but it is only after you take step after step that you can expect to reach the goal that Scouting is aiming for."

"That's why you should strive to become a First Class Scout at the earliest possible moment."


Until 1972, the earliest possible moments to earn the initial ranks were:
Tenderfoot - 0 months
Second Class- 1 month
First Class - 2 month

The earliest possible moment to become a First Class Scout was 3 months-what the Scout was to strive for.

Some feel that the 1972 Scout Handbook "took the outing out of Scouting" with Camping removed as an Eagle Required Merit Badge. Scouts no longer needed to learn to swim to earn Second or First Class or even Eagle. The time to make First Class was extended to 8 months (p.87-89). For the only time in the history of the Boy Scouts, Eagle required 24 merit badge. The Eagle Project requirement was added for the first time.

The 1976 Handbook declared the uniform to be optional (p.14) but continued the 8-month time-frame.

In 1998, the expected time to make First class was expanded to 12 months with the First Class-First Year program. Here is the current version of First Class-First Year

The current Scout Handbook © 1998, Eleventh printing states on page 14: "Though you can advance at your own pace, active Scouts will usually earn First Class within a year of joining a troop."

While the expectation for earning First Class has gone from 3 months to 12 months, Camping and Swimming Merit Badges are now required again and required for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class again. Also since 2001, the requirements for almost every merit badge have been increased.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby smtroop168 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:38 pm

Thanks for the history. I wonder what their logic was to remove Camping as an Eagle required badge and it will be interesting to see what BSA has in store for us in 2009 (if anything).

1972 was the year I went to Schiff Scout Reservation with 40 other Eagle Scouts from the NE to evaluate the "New" program which included the Skill Awards. I may still have the books somewhere. My memory is fleeting but I seem to recall that the majority didn't think much of it.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby milominderbinder2 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:48 pm

This question about how long it should take to earn First Class comes up so often, I added a page to the Wiki so that we will have the reference text.

First Class-First Year

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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby smtroop168 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:57 pm

Craig...Swimming is one of the 3 optional MBs for Eagle. Your write up implies that you have to get Swimming. Thanks.
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Re: "Mass" Teaching and Advancement

Postby milominderbinder2 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:16 pm

Thanks for the correction. Must have been a brain-freeze...

I started a new thread for First Class-First Year.

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