Leading makes use of many skills….

Effective Teaching

For a patrol hike, Mike had been made responsible for bringing the hamburger buns. He got them in plenty of time and put them in the freezer to keep them fresh for Saturday. When the patrol reached its destination on the big day, everybody began pulling out their part of the patrol’s lunch. It wasn’t until Mike reached for the hamburger buns that he remembered that they were still home in the freezer! And there was just no way to get back or to get some substitutes.

At the time it wasn’t a laughing matter, but by the next meeting of the troop, Mike and his patrol leader Tom were having a good laugh as they told the story to Carl, the senior patrol leader.

"What’d you learn from that?" Carl asked them.

"Not to forget the hamburger buns!" was Mike’s instant reply.

"Sure," laughed Carl, "but is that all?" He seemed to be looking straight at Tom.

"Well, I guess it was my fault — I didn’t check up on Mike. He agreed to bring the buns, and I let it go at that."

Carl pressed a little further. "How will you handle things like this another time?"

"Well, I guess I’d better keep a list of responsibilities and review them with those on the list before we get going," said Tom.

"OK, that’s good," responded Carl. "Now how about you, Mike? What did you learn?"

"Well, I made a list of what I was to bring. But Saturday morning I didn’t read it over carefully. And I should have checked off the items when I had them packed."

Thus, a simple matter of forgotten buns was made into a real learning experience. Let’s review just what Carl did to bring this about.

First, he noticed that the two boys (and the whole patrol, for that matter) had had what can be called a "discovery." They had been in the middle of something and they knew about it firsthand.

Second, he had Tom and Mike review the experience and helped them to realize that they had learned something that could be applied to other situations. They hadn’t learned that hamburgers need rolls but about how to get things done.

Third, he had them think about how they would apply what they had learned next time.

The final step would be to evaluate the learning. That could only happen next time. If Mike was more careful about reading his checklist or if Tom was more thorough about checking up on his patrol members, they would know that learning had really occurred.

We call this process "Effective Teaching." In this case it was Carl who did the teaching. He took advantage of a situation that had already happened. If he had ignored it or just had a good laugh about Mike’s forgetfulness, there might have been little or no learning.

You can use this same method to help almost anybody learn almost anything. We’ll take another example and see how you can use the method.

Suppose a camporee is coming up. There is to be a competitive event involving use of the map and compass. You think your patrol members are a little rusty on that. Here’s how you might proceed.

STEP ONE: Discovery

Provide each member of the patrol with a compass and have each one orient a map and plot a course that you specify. Watch how they do. Some may do well. Others will get off to a bad start and fumble. Out of this, you will know just who needs to learn what. But equally important is that the learner "discovers" his shortcomings or unforgotten skills.

STEP TWO: Teaching-Learning

You or someone you share leadership with gives instructions and information about the map and compass task. Let them practice each step as you describe or demonstrate it. When you feel certain the learners know the skills, you allow them to progress to the next phase. Some learners may reach this step faster than others — that’s just fine — let them progress at their own speed.

STEP THREE: Application

Have the learners do a series of problems with map and compass. If they are successful, they go on. If not, you take them back through some of the teaching-learning process until they can be successful.

STEP FOUR: Evaluation

This process occurs every step of the way, but it’s important to review all four steps when you are through. As learners are called on to perform, you must decide whether they are performing acceptably. Have each learner express himself about what he thinks he has learned. Ask questions, such as:

"Do you feel you know this skill well enough to do it again next week?"

"Could you help one of the others here who is having trouble learning the skill?"

"Could you teach someone else to do it?"

"Leading makes use of many skills…." is adapted from Patrol and Troop Leadership, the handbook on leadership development written for Patrol Leaders and published by the Boy Scouts of America in 1972.

Much of the original leadership development material contained in the Handbook, including the eleven skills of leadership, remain at the core of today’s leadership experience in Scouting. Patrol and Troop Leadership covered nine of the skills presented at the Council Junior Leader Training Conference and other leadership development programs in Scouting.

Knowing and Using the Resources of the Group
Setting the Example
Representing the Group
Controlling Group Performance
Sharing Leadership
Effective Teaching

  "Learning About Leadership" is adapted from Patrol and Troop Leadership, the handbook on leadership development written for Patrol Leaders and published by the Boy Scouts of America in 1972. It provides some excellent background and insight into the BSA’s approach to the subject of leadership.
  From 1990 to 1993, the Junior Leader Training Conference program received an intensive review. A new Junior Leader Training Conference Staff Guide was published in 1993. Comments on the 1995 Revisions takes a close-up look at the most recent changes published in the 1995 printing.
  The Troop Leader Development Staff Guide (1974) presented a short history of leadership development and how elements of the White Stag program were incorporated into the leadership development efforts of the BSA in The Historical Background of Leadership Development
  Since the first experimental leadership development courses at Schiff and Philmont in the 1960’s, the National Junior Leader Instructor Camp has set the standards for Junior Leader Training courses in councils across the country. A unique experience in leadership and learning, NJLIC leads the way by providing the most up-to-date training for those junior leaders selected to lead their local council courses.
  Conducting a Council Junior Leader Training Conference. Offered for the first time this year at Philmont, this program covers all aspects of conducting a successful Junior Leader Training Conference. It will be conducted during the Boy Scout Conferences, from June 22-26, 1997.

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Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 9:37 PM on 4-19-97