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Re: [Scouter_T] Re: Valid methods for training delivery

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  • Charles Seltenright
    Training no matter what form,as stated before, is important to complete at the earliest possible time.I have used and been part of all three types in the
    Message 1 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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      Training no matter what form,as stated before, is
      important to complete at the earliest possible time.I
      have used and been part of all three types in the
      scouting program.And can say it was invaluable in each
      way it was done.I believe the interaction that comes
      from group training is a key to a very motivated and
      prepared leader.But it also does not always fit into
      everyones schedule or more importantly there learning
      style.Not everyone learns or retains what is taught in
      the same way.Just look at the way our schools are
      changing there methods to reach each and every
      student.
      I took my commissioners training by self study
      through our District Commissioner.If I hadnt been
      allowed to do this at the time I would not have been
      able to for a long time.What I learned enabled me to
      go on and put together a successful Roundtable program
      4 years in a row.I may be one of the exceptions but I
      am able to learn more from self study than in other
      ways.But then again I take scouting very seriously and
      research and study way beyond what is taught in group
      training.In fact I do self study even after group
      trainings because I want to be the best leader I can
      be.
      That being said I must also add there is absolutely
      nothing that compares to a Group course that is well
      put together.Learning from the experience of dozens of
      other veteran leaders has no comparison.I have spent
      many great times camping,learning and teaching
      scouting.And hope to have many more in the future.In
      fact I will be part of our upcomming Commissioners
      College,COT and Woodbadge to promote Venturing.
      One cannot rule out any of the forms of teaching our
      leaders.All scouts deserve a trained leader and no
      matter how a leader gets that training shouldnt
      matter.As long as they learn the material and use it
      effectively is what truly matters.

      Charles Seltenright
      Crew 308 Advisor
      Troop 337 ASM
      Nottowa Trails
      Southwest Michigan Council




      --- Dan Kurtenbach <danielkurtenbach@...> wrote:

      > Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in a four-day
      > "live" training course at work. It was a
      > soul-killing, life-sucking experience. The thing
      > is, the actual _content_ of the course was great.
      > It was the presentation format that was deadly.
      > PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide, dense with
      > text. "Presenters" doing little more than reading
      > the slides. We could follow along by reading the
      > slides too, or by reading the copies of the slides
      > they gave in the 3-inch binders. Fortunately, we
      > were being paid to be there.
      >
      > The idea that a live training class is and should be
      > the preferred method of training is simply wrong.
      > In some situations and for some people it may be the
      > best method, but that depends on so many factors
      > that it is impossible to support the generalization.
      > Those factors include the quality of the content,
      > the skill of the trainer, the learning style of the
      > participant, the day of the week, the time of day,
      > the facility and equipment, the other things on the
      > participant's schedule, traffic, the other things on
      > the participant's mind, whether one of the other
      > participants is obnoxious, distance to the course,
      > cost, and numerous other elements that can all
      > affect the success of a live training course.
      >
      > Further, it's not as if Scouters will never see
      > another Scouter outside of training courses. Good
      > heavens, they are all over the place at Scouting
      > events -- and interaction with other Scouters on a
      > regular basis is one of the main purposes of
      > Roundtable.
      >
      > The purpose of a training organization is not to
      > hold training courses -- that is a far too narrow
      > definition. The purpose of a training organization
      > is to help people acquire the knowledge and skill
      > they need to do their jobs. It doesn't matter _how_
      > that knowledge and skill is transmitted to people
      > who need it -- live classes, online courses,
      > one-on-one discussions, self-study of course
      > materials, or independent research. The trainer's
      > job is to facilitate any and every method that will
      > help people quickly acquire the knowledge and skill
      > they need; not limit, restrict, or channel access to
      > needed information.
      >
      > Dan Kurtenbach
      > Fairfax, VA
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been
      > removed]
      >
      >



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    • apatschin75
      If memory serves me correctly, accomplishment of tasks, some demonstration of ability, and a merit badge counselor is somewhere in the merit badge mix. Not
      Message 2 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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        If memory serves me correctly, accomplishment of tasks, some
        demonstration of ability, and a merit badge counselor is somewhere in
        the merit badge mix. Not just self study.

        I will now bow out. I understand I'm not going to convice folks, and
        they are not going to convice me that self-study is a good method of
        training.


        YIS
      • corinnajones@hotmail.com
        Sorry, my computer is acting up. After two blank emails, I better have something to say. Again, like in many cases, I think it depends what type of training is
        Message 3 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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          Sorry, my computer is acting up.
          After two blank emails, I better have something to say.

          Again, like in many cases, I think it depends what type of training is most
          effective.
          For a new leader the classroom training is usually best. Besides skipping
          over information (self-study) or being distracted (online training), it's
          great to have Q&A and discussions. Just like roundtable, it's great to know
          that others are in the same boat.
          For our troop - due to an incident with a young assistant Scoutmaster - our
          CO requires annual YPT for all leaders, with a classroom session for the
          ASMs age 18 to 20.

          Online training is a great option for re-take the YPT anually, checking back
          about something in Troop Committee Challenge. Self-study would also be very
          practical for those who got trained many years ago and really need a
          refresher, but prefer not to sit in the classroom. It is more tailored to
          the individual, since certain areas that are unchanged CAN be skipped, while
          others can be studied with more depth.

          All training is valuable, but it needs to be done in a way most beneficial
          for the learning of the trainee.

          Apologies again,
          Corinna
        • Dan Kurtenbach
          [apatschin75 wrote:] The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can be. I don t think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
          Message 4 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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            [apatschin75 wrote:]
            The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can
            be. I don't think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
            of good training.
            [/apatschin75]

            Again, the issue is _not_ how well or in what form the material is presented. The question is whether the Scouter _learns_ the material. Is he or she coming away with the skills and information needed to do the job? Are the skills and information being retained and used? Arguably, the self-study "process" previously outlined is far more likely to result in actual learning and retention than sitting through a five-hour class. Why? Because (a) the individual is actually motivated to put in the work, and (b) the individual's understanding of the material is being checked and discussed at regular intervals. There is no such individual review with training classes -- to successfully pass those, all you have do is have the endurance to sit there, and look alert every once in a while.

            Dan Kurtenbach
            Fairfax, VA
          • Ida Lively
            ... Now wait a minute! You re confusing oranges and tangerines here! (Not far enough apart to be apples and oranges.) Self study is a VALID METHOD of training
            Message 5 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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              >
              > I will now bow out. I understand I'm not going to convice folks, and
              > they are not going to convice me that self-study is a good method of
              > training.
              >


              Now wait a minute! You're confusing oranges and tangerines here!
              (Not far enough apart to be apples and oranges.)


              Self study is a VALID METHOD of training .... I don't recall anyone
              saying it was a GOOD METHOD of training.

              I believe, to a trainer, we've all said that it's the least favorite,
              but still by BSA Guidelines a VALID method.


              Again, I ask ... is the ONLINE training, not self-study? I know that
              trainers on this list still have issues with the online training, even
              though National did their best to create the modules so that the
              helicopter parent of today's scouts can do the training at their
              convenience -- after 10 PM, when Junior is safely abed.

              Ida
            • Gerry Moon
              no ascertaining if there is a understanding of the material .... This one caught my eye. Let s be blunt - most of our training is quantitative, NOT
              Message 6 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                "no ascertaining if there is a understanding of the material"....

                This one caught my eye. Let's be blunt - most of our training is
                quantitative, NOT qualitative - it is not an exercise wherein one
                demonstrates competency or even a grasp of the material before one is
                awarded the completion card. It is an endurance test. If you can sit
                all the way thru to the end, you get a trained card. We aren't fooling
                too many. Then again, the majority of us are not trained trainers - we
                are folks that do this in the hopes that we can help others along. We
                are those that can stand and speak before a group. Some of us are
                absolutely FANTASTIC presenters. Some of us are on the other end of
                that curve. Some of us have districts where training is the law of the
                land and the vast majority understand it's something the need to do;
                and there are districts where there is NO training and hasn't been for
                a very long time.

                We aren't testing anyone - or at least it's not part of the plan to do
                so. There is a (my perception) huge swath of leaders that cannot or
                will not come to a training day and sit thru one or two courses to be
                a "trained leader" - under any circumstances, unless it's mandatory -
                and if it comes to that, then they will bow out.

                I detest "e-learning" - I don't learn much from it, but that is just MY
                learning style. I do a lot of it on my job - I work for the 4th largest
                software company on the planet. I'd rather have an ILT (instructor-led
                training) any day - but it's not cost effective to have that as the
                ONLY method available. E-learning, I can do at home or away from the
                office. It's cheap, it's available 24x7 and portable.

                Like it or not, it is a VIABLE way to get leaders trained. Only the
                quality suffers - nature of the beast. Certainly, it's not everyone's
                PREFERRED METHOD, but if it reaches even a sliver of those that
                can't/won't come to a sit-down session, then it is, as I read over and
                over again, "better than nothing" - slightly.

                Resistance is futile, though and it's not going to go away. I hope to
                be able to spend less time being disappointed with the new training and
                more time figuring out how to make it work.

                Sorry to vent. I just had a rough OLS-WL weekend.

                Gerry Moon
                Orlando, FL



                --- In scouter_t@yahoogroups.com, "apatschin75" <tttrack@...> wrote:
                >
                > I personally think that "self-study" is one of the least effective
                > methods of training we have started using in BSA.
                >
                > No feedback, no sharing of ideas, no ascertaining if there is a
                > understanding of the material. Learning in a vaccum!
                >
                > What is even more appaling, to me, is that we don't even attempt, in
                > some cases, ascertaining whether a Scouter has even read the material.
                >
                > Guess we may as well give folks a Wood Badge syllabus and when they
                say
                > they are complete, hold the ceremony and give them their beads,
                woggle
                > and neckerchief.
                >
              • NeilLup@aol.com
                ... Hello, With respect and not meaning to be attacking you, I believe that what you have posted is a strong symptom of problems that I have seen in many
                Message 7 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                  In a message dated 3/4/08 10:59:43 AM, tttrack@... writes:


                  > I will now bow out. I understand I'm not going to convice folks, and
                  > they are not going to convice me that self-study is a good method of
                  > training.
                  >

                  Hello,

                  With respect and not meaning to be attacking you, I believe that what you
                  have posted is a strong symptom of problems that I have seen in many Scout
                  training commitees, training teams etc.

                  Training committees and training teams like doing training. That's why
                  they got into training. The ideal situation for many trainers is to show up
                  well prepared for a good training class, have lots of eager faces waiting for
                  them when they arrive, put on the great training and leave to the cheers of
                  the assembled multitude.

                  What's missing in this picture?

                  1) Who GOT those people to the training session? Many trainers really do
                  not like recruiting, etc. in some cases, they don't like the physical
                  arrangements. In some cases, they don't like writing their own training,
                  but prefer a detailed script or course outline they can follow. But it does
                  ask the question "How does it happen that all those eager faces are there?
                  Who got them there?"

                  2) How 'bout the people that, for a variety of reasons, won't or can't go
                  to the training class. What happens for them?

                  This is a topic of real frustration for me, as you can see. I know of a
                  trainer who runs an outstanding Boy Scout basic training course using the course
                  guide from the 1990s. He refuses to change to the newer course guide.
                  He requires 6 weekdays and a weekend. In terms of quality and of information
                  given, the course is superb. He does make the effort to recruit, but
                  it is strictly recruiting to his course and his course plan requiring
                  attendance at all sessions.

                  He runs the course once per year and gets 10-15 people. There are probably
                  100-200 new leaders per year in his service area who need training. If you
                  ask him about them, he will say "We held the training and it is available
                  for them."

                  This is the dilemma and debate. Do we, as trainers, run training courses
                  or do we get people trained?

                  I grant you that this trainer may be a bit extreme. But isn't the
                  difference between him and the leader that says that self-study is not a good method
                  of training a difference of degree rather than a difference of kind. I would
                  suggest that self-study IS a good method of training, when done right.
                  Arguably group training is a better method and attempting to encourage leaders to
                  go to group training is probably doing them the greatest service. However,
                  it is our job to get people trained and saying "You didn't go to group
                  training, group training is the only good way, so tough nuggets, you're
                  out of luck, there's nothing for you" is, I believe, not doing our job.

                  With proper mentoring, one can learn a great deal through self-study and
                  through personal coaching. For some leaders, it may be the only
                  alternatives. As Ida has said, on-line training is a type of self-study and it can
                  be powerful.

                  I try to remember BP's wise saying about baiting the hook with the kind of
                  food that the fish likes. We like group training. But what kind of food do
                  the fish like?

                  Best wishes,

                  Neil Lupton


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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Glen Hoshizaki
                  This is actually a huge topic, with many facets. I ve been involved with e-learning for considerably over a decade, many times as a student, sometimes as
                  Message 8 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                    This is actually a huge topic, with many facets.

                    I've been involved with e-learning for considerably over a decade,
                    many times as a student, sometimes as faculty, and a few years ago I
                    was one of the founding members of a healthcare system's regional
                    e-learning committee. Thus, I've seen really good e-learning programs
                    and really bad ones. Where I've been on the student end, the most
                    enjoyable e-learning programs have been the instructor-led ones (yes,
                    e-learning can be instructor-led).

                    Glen

                    --- In scouter_t@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry Moon" <gerrymoon32817@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I detest "e-learning" - I don't learn much from it, but that is just MY
                    > learning style. I do a lot of it on my job - I work for the 4th largest
                    > software company on the planet. I'd rather have an ILT (instructor-led
                    > training) any day - but it's not cost effective to have that as the
                    > ONLY method available. E-learning, I can do at home or away from the
                    > office. It's cheap, it's available 24x7 and portable.
                    >
                    > Like it or not, it is a VIABLE way to get leaders trained. Only the
                    > quality suffers - nature of the beast. Certainly, it's not everyone's
                    > PREFERRED METHOD, but if it reaches even a sliver of those that
                    > can't/won't come to a sit-down session, then it is, as I read over and
                    > over again, "better than nothing" - slightly.
                  • Alpvalsys@aol.com
                    In a message dated 3/4/2008 10:52:44 A.M. EST, Corinna wrote:
                    Message 9 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                      In a message dated 3/4/2008 10:52:44 A.M. EST, Corinna wrote:

                      < For a new leader the classroom training is usually best. Besides skipping
                      over information (self-study) or being distracted (online training), it's
                      great to have Q&A and discussions. >

                      At last night's District Committee meeting I mentioned that I've registered
                      to take Youth Protection and SA/SSD training at our upcoming Institute of
                      Scouting. Somebody asked why I'd signed up for them when on-line training is
                      available. It's simple; I know I'll get more out of it in a classroom
                      situation than I'll ever get sitting in front of the tube (which is when the
                      District Commissioner made his comment about all the e-mails I forward to him
                      <VBG>). Classroom training is a good refresher for us old timers, too.

                      Ralph V. Balfoort, UC
                      I used to be a beaver (NE III-135)
                      In the Beaver Patrol as a Scout
                      And still Ktemaque (Beaver) Chapter,
                      Kittan Lodge #364, OA






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                    • Dan Kurtenbach
                      [Neil Lupton wrote:] I know of a trainer who runs an outstanding Boy Scout basic training course using the course guide from the 1990s. He refuses to change
                      Message 10 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                        [Neil Lupton wrote:]
                        I know of a trainer who runs an outstanding Boy Scout basic training course using the course guide from the 1990s. He refuses to change to the newer course guide. He requires 6 weekdays and a weekend. In terms of quality and of information given, the course is superb . . . He runs the course once per year and gets 10-15 people. There are probably 100-200 new leaders per year in his service area who need training.
                        [/Neil]

                        This reminds me of an episode of the television show "M*A*S*H." When Dr. Winchester first arrives, he is something of a perfectionist in the operating room. While the wounded are stacking up outside, he is making sure his stitches are neat.

                        [Neil continued:]
                        This is the dilemma and debate. Do we, as trainers, run training courses or do we get people trained?
                        [/Neil]

                        Scouts and parents aren't going to care _how_ Scoutmaster Tom learned his stuff; all that matters to them is that he learned it. It doesn't matter a bit to them if he is wearing a "Trained" strip -- that only matters to the folks who compile statistics. Which bottom line should we really be looking at?

                        Dan Kurtenbach
                        Fairfax, VA
                      • gottshalld@aol.com
                        Neil brings up several important questions and comments on a training course that I have helped staff for the past 10 years. First, Neil asks Who GOT those
                        Message 11 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                          Neil brings up several important questions and comments on a training
                          course that I have helped staff for the past 10 years.


                          First, Neil asks "Who GOT those people to the training session?"

                          The answer is that the trainee did. In our life of ever competing
                          priorities, the trainee felt that the training was worth his time,
                          money and effort. There is a difference between recruiting and
                          promoting. Training committees promote their courses through council
                          web site, district mailings, round table presentations, and providing
                          an excellent training experience. Commissioners identify and recruit
                          trainees through the rechartering process and unit visitation.

                          As a trained unit leader, I encourage new leaders in my unit to make
                          the time to take training for their position. I state unequivocally
                          that the best possible BSA program can only be delivered by trained BSA
                          leaders. Do you want to provide the best possible program for your
                          son? If so, go get trained.


                          Second, Neil asks "How 'bout the people that, for a variety of reasons,
                          won't or can't go to the training class. What happens for them?"

                          The answer is if they won't go, they have made a the decision, right or
                          wrong, that class-based training was not worth their time. As has been
                          discussed over the past several days, there are other modes of training
                          that are more flexible from a logistical standpoint. These are
                          mentoring and self-study. Is there a down side to these modes?
                          Absolutely. You lose the group interaction and first-hand experiences
                          of other leaders, both trainees and trainers. To a certain extent, you
                          lose out on networking opportunities.

                          The answer is if they can't go "to a particular course," other class
                          opportunities should be made available. This can be done
                          inter-district or inter-council. If they can't make those dates,
                          mentoring and self-study are viable options.


                          In our council, we provide both council-wide and district training
                          opportunities. Training committees schedule, staff, promote, and
                          prepare for these opportunities. They can be provided as stand-alone
                          events both as local unit and as district-wide opportunities. They are
                          provided at district round tables, and integrated into other district
                          and council programs. I am sure that this is similar to most training
                          programs. From this, we can see that training opportunities are not
                          the problem.

                          Neil is correct. Within my district, which serves 12 towns and a local
                          Air Force base, we probably have 25 troops, which register about 400
                          adults with a turnover of about 100 leaders each year. We are well
                          below the National recommended number of unit commissioners for the
                          number of units registered. Several of our district committees are
                          "Committees of One or None." The district Boy Scout Training Committee
                          has a standing committee of less than five, most holding significant
                          unit leadership roles in addition to supporting the district.

                          Some of those troops have close to 100% trained adults, many Wood Badge
                          trained. Some have none. I have found that units come in two
                          categories:

                          - Unit thinks that training is critical to running a quality program.
                          - Unit thinks that if training was that important, it would be required.

                          Some of the latter units also have a culture of not participating in
                          district or council program at all. They "do it on their own". The
                          "Vanilla" Scoutmaster-Specific Training is offered twice a year within
                          the council. The "Vanilla" Outdoor Leader Skills is offered once a
                          year within the council. Over the past several years, these courses
                          were canceled due to lack of interest or logistical issues. This makes
                          it very difficult to fill upcoming Wood Badge courses.

                          The course Neil spoke of entitled Scoutmaster Fundamentals Plus. It is
                          provided as a district training course and is open to all adult leaders
                          within the council. The course runs six evenings, a weekend, and a
                          closing banquet. While the course is based upon a more historical
                          format, the course content covers the current training continuum for
                          the following training modules:

                          Boy Scout Fast Start
                          New Leader Essentials
                          Boy Scout Specific Training
                          Troop Committee Challenge
                          Outdoor Leader Skills

                          It relies heavily on the patrol method, with each participant having
                          the opportunity to be a patrol leader and assistant patrol leader,
                          participating in a PLC, and leading a patrol meeting. It provides
                          background in small group dynamics (utilizing White Stag leadership
                          competencies), develops "friendly" inter-patrol competition, and
                          emphasizes the importance of a boy-led troop. It provides role-playing
                          scenarios in areas of both adult and youth conflict resolution and the
                          use of reflection as a tool.

                          Hands-on scout skills development is provided in the following areas:

                          Knots and Lashings
                          Map and Compass
                          First Aid
                          Games

                          Presentation skills are also reviewed and each participant selects,
                          develops, and presents "real-life" skill instruction, with their own
                          developed aids, to their patrol with each member providing feedback and
                          evaluation.

                          We are currently in Week Three of the course and have 19 participants
                          and a staff of 10.

                          A couple things to note:

                          - Troops who attend the course have a tendency to keep coming back.
                          Course evaluations note the "added value" of the course content.

                          - Troops who attend the course encourage Cub Leaders from associated
                          packs to attend. Course evaluations note the "big picture" perspective
                          of the course.

                          - Participants want to come back and staff the course because they had
                          fun and see the staff having fun. On average, 20 % of the staff are
                          new.

                          - Staff provide "lifetime support" to participants. If participants
                          have a question or a need, they can call their troop guides. We
                          develop relationships over a two month period. This provides a level
                          of trust and understanding not developed in a one-off course.

                          The trainer that Neil calls out has served his unit, district, and
                          council since long before its inception in 1993. He was a Scoutmaster
                          for over 20 years. He successfully directed Council JLT for over a
                          decade. He is 4-bead Wood Badger and two time Philmont Crew adviser.
                          He has served a District Boy Scout Round Table Commissioner, Council
                          Training Chair, District Training Chair, and developed and presented
                          "Supplemental Training" before that was what it was called, including
                          Low-Impact Camping. If commitment to excellence is "extreme", I guess
                          both he and I are extreme ... extremely committed to making sure that
                          unit leaders have the best possible chance to provide the best possible
                          program.


                          Scouting is about commitment. Commitment from the Chartered
                          Organization to ensure quality adult leadership. Commitment from the
                          Troop Committee Chairman to get trained and require training for his
                          Scoutmaster. Commitment from the Scoutmaster to get trained and
                          require training for his Assistants. Commitment from the Council and
                          District to ensure quality adult leadership. Commitment from training
                          committees to provide excellent training experiences.


                          The frustration comes when some are willing pencil-whip 100 adults a
                          year through "training" and consider it a success and that providing a
                          tool box of resources for the ultimate Scout Adventure to 20 is
                          considered a failure.


                          As Harold says "Every boy deserves a trained leader." He is training
                          20 now. Who will step up a train the next 20? We have open seats for
                          as many as want to be trained in February 2009.

                          Just my 2 cents ...

                          Dave Gottshall
                          Member - Flintlock District Training Committee
                          Boston Minuteman Council
                          Current Member of 2009 SMF+ Staff - "Laura's Leopards"
                          Past Proud Scoutmaster of "Gottshall's Goats"
                        • apatschin75
                          Said I was gonna bow out, but am intrigued!!! You are running the old format with the new information? Tom Travis
                          Message 12 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                            Said I was gonna bow out, but am intrigued!!!

                            You are running the old format with the new information?

                            Tom Travis
                          • NeilLup@aol.com
                            My colleague Dave Gottshall and I often don t see things the same. This is not in any way bad. He has presented the opposite side of the post which I made.
                            Message 13 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                              My colleague Dave Gottshall and I often don't see things the same. This is
                              not in any way bad.

                              He has presented the opposite side of the post which I made. I hope that
                              the listmembers here will read both posts and combine the information presented
                              to improve training in their area.

                              Best wishes,

                              Neil Lupton


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                            • Dan Kurtenbach
                              [Dave Gottshall wrote:] The frustration comes when some are willing pencil-whip 100 adults a year through training and consider it a success and that
                              Message 14 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                [Dave Gottshall wrote:]
                                The frustration comes when some are willing pencil-whip 100 adults a
                                year through "training" and consider it a success and that providing a
                                tool box of resources for the ultimate Scout Adventure to 20 is
                                considered a failure.
                                [/Dave]

                                But again, missing the point. You're talking about which kind of training has more good stuff in it. Doesn't matter. Irrelevant. The elite, comprehensive course and the standard butt-in-chair course are equally ineffective for the leader who isn't there.

                                As trainers in the Boy Scouts of America, our constituents are the Scouts whose adult leaders don't have the skills and information they need to do their jobs. Our mission is to reach and teach those leaders.

                                Now, running a training course for leaders who are highly committed to learning is not exactly challenging, and, frankly, not particularly important. Those leaders will find out what they need to know, and pick up the skills they need to have, regardless of how good or how poor one particular training course is. Their Scouts are in good hands regardless.

                                The challenge is reaching and teaching the leaders who can't or won't show up at a central location at an appointed hour, or who show up but don't really pay attention, or who don't do well with lecture-type training. Even if those leaders are too busy or work weekends or are lazy or learn better visually or think they don't need any stinking training, their Scouts -- our constituents -- still deserve good programs.

                                Our standard of performance isn't how good our training courses are; it is whether we are serving those Scouts by reaching and teaching the leaders who need it.

                                Dan Kurtenbach
                                Fairfax, VA
                              • gottshalld@aol.com
                                Dan brings up two points that I would like to comment on: Dan says The challenge is reaching and teaching the leaders who can t or won t show up at a central
                                Message 15 of 30 , Mar 6, 2008
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                                  Dan brings up two points that I would like to comment on:

                                  Dan says "The challenge is reaching and teaching the leaders who can't
                                  or won't show up at a central location at an appointed hour, or who
                                  show up but don't really pay attention, or who don't do well with
                                  lecture-type training. Even if those leaders are too busy or work
                                  weekends or are lazy or learn better visually or think they don't need
                                  any stinking training, their Scouts -- our constituents -- still
                                  deserve good programs."

                                  As Neil, I, and others have noted previously, there are at least three
                                  different training modes available: class training, mentoring, and
                                  self-study. As part of district or council training committees, we can
                                  and should promote all modes of training.

                                  As a district trainer, for the vast majority of my responsibilities, my
                                  constituents are adult unit leaders, not youth members. What we fail to
                                  impart to those adult unit leaders is that their constituents, the
                                  unit's youth, are being cheated of the best possible program through
                                  their recalcitrance to participate in training; ANY mode of training.

                                  IMHO, it is not the district trainers responsibility to chase down
                                  those who choose not to be trained. It is our responsibility to provide
                                  the best available training experience possible and to promote all
                                  modes of training. It is the responsibility of unit commissioners to
                                  remind units of the importance of training and to provide information
                                  regarding training opportunities. It is the responsibility of the IH,
                                  COR, and CC to "make" training a part of the unit leaders required
                                  tasks to ensure that the best possible program is being provided to the
                                  unit's youth.

                                  Dan also says "Our standard of performance isn't how good our training
                                  courses are; it is whether we are serving those Scouts by reaching and
                                  teaching the leaders who need it."

                                  To the first part of this statement, I strongly disagree. As a district
                                  trainer, we provide opportunities for training. That training needs to
                                  be the BEST it can be. It needs to be engaging, informative, and
                                  entertaining. At the end of each course, participants should leave with
                                  the realization that BSA training is worth the time, money, and effort.
                                  They need to go back to their unit talking about what they learned and
                                  how it will help them make THEIR unit better. If course training is not
                                  an option, then another mode can be utilized.

                                  We know all adult leaders need training, whether they know it or not.
                                  We know every unit will benefit from having trained adult leaders. We
                                  also know that we can not make adult leaders take training. They must
                                  to want to be trained.

                                  As far as standards go, metric measure what you design them to measure.
                                  For BSA training, attendance is almost meaningless. As Dan noted, adult
                                  leaders that are coerced into attending training get a card and little
                                  more. The bottom line is successful boy-led units, more time than not,
                                  have WELL trained leaders. Those leaders know the value of quality
                                  training.

                                  Just my two cents ... your mileage may vary

                                  Dave Gottshall
                                  Flintlock District Training Committee
                                  Boston Minuteman Council
                                • Dan Kurtenbach
                                  In a thoughtful post, Dave Gottshall outlines one philosophical view of our role as trainers: IMHO, it is not the district trainers responsibility to chase
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Mar 6, 2008
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                                    In a thoughtful post, Dave Gottshall outlines one philosophical view of our role as trainers:

                                    "IMHO, it is not the district trainers responsibility to chase down
                                    those who choose not to be trained. It is our responsibility to provide
                                    the best available training experience possible and to promote all
                                    modes of training. It is the responsibility of unit commissioners to
                                    remind units of the importance of training and to provide information
                                    regarding training opportunities. It is the responsibility of the IH,
                                    COR, and CC to "make" training a part of the unit leaders required
                                    tasks to ensure that the best possible program is being provided to the
                                    unit's youth."

                                    At the same time, Dave notes a big caveat:

                                    "For BSA training, attendance is almost meaningless. As Dan noted, adult
                                    leaders that are coerced into attending training get a card and little
                                    more."

                                    In essence, _this_ philosophy of the trainer's role is: We can only help the ones who affirmatively come to training with a genuine desire to learn. We can promote training, we can try to convince leaders to come out for training, we can urge them to get everything out of it that they can, but in the end, it is up to them.

                                    That sounds reasonable.

                                    But what about the rest? What about all those other leaders out there? Sad -- but not our problem, right? We wring our hands, and ask "How can we get these people to training?" all the while knowing that we can't, or that for many of them, it wouldn't matter anyway.

                                    This is why I think this view is fundamentally flawed. We should not just write off a large percentage of our leadership corps. For the sake of their Scouts, we should not write them off. If our job is just to teach the easy ones, the ones who would get out and learn what they need to know anyway, then we aren't making much of a contribution to Scouting.

                                    I don't think the question should be "How can we get these people to training?" I think it should be "How can we get training to these people?" That's not a job for UCs or CORs or IHs. We're the trainers. It's our job.

                                    Dan Kurtenbach
                                    Fairfax, VA
                                  • Dan Kurtenbach
                                    I would just like to expand a little bit on my last comments on this issue. I concluded that post with: I don t think the question should be How can we get
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Mar 7, 2008
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                                      I would just like to expand a little bit on my last comments on this issue. I concluded that post with: "I don't think the question should be 'How can we get these people to training?' I think it should be 'How can we get training to these people?' That's not a job for UCs or CORs or IHs. We're the trainers. It's our job."

                                      The design of our current training system fails, what, 25%, 40%, even 60% [?] of our Scout leaders either completely or to a significant degree because it makes no provision for those who do not seek out training or those who don't have a willingness to learn. And yes, I understand the counter-argument that it is really those leaders who are failing -- both themselves and their Scouts -- by not taking advantage of training. Granted. But that doesn't change the fact that those "training failures" are out there in large numbers leading Scouts, having poor programs, causing some boys to leave Scouting and other boys to not join. Our object has to be to reduce those numbers.

                                      Our current system is built on the notion that "Training" offers leaders something that they can't get anywhere else.

                                      However, all the knowledge and skill that a Scouter needs (and far more than he could get in any training course) is all around him or her already. It is in publications he already has on hand or that are easily accessible: The Boy Scout Handbook, the Scoutmaster Handbook, the Fieldbook, the Troop Committee Guide, the Wilderness Training Manual, etc., etc. It is out on the Internet in more forms than can possibly be counted. And all of that "real world" experience, and the contacts with other Scouters that are touted as the main advantages of "live" training courses? Well, those same people are already all around, too. They are at Roundtable and Camporees and Merit Badge clinics, and maybe in a Scouter's own unit. It is all there; and a lot of it is available "on demand" for those folks who like their information delivered "just in time."

                                      What Training attempts to do is synthesize, summarize, prioritize, and analyze selected pieces of that information, put it in context, and provide the Scouter with an (at least rudimentary) understanding of how it is all supposed to work, what is important, and what he or she is supposed to do. A good training course can do that, and do it very, very well, for a Scouter who is open to the experience. We also know that we have a lot of mediocre and marginal training courses out there that don't provide much help even to the willing Scouter, and we have a lot of Scouters who attend training courses but aren't really engaged regardless of how good the course is.

                                      Thus it isn't the training course that people need; the training course is just a vehicle. Rather, it is the right skill, the right knowledge, the right experience, and the right understanding that people need. How leaders get the right skill, the right knowledge, the right experience, and the right understanding is pretty much irrelevant. What matters is that they get it. A good training course can do it for a willing Scouter. I see our challenge as finding ways to do it for everyone else.
                                      I think the place to start, for each leadership position, is to ask: What does this leader need to know, and when does he/she need to know it? I think that with that information, we can then begin to understand the learning needs of every leader from the very beginning of the leadership lifecycle. From there, we can begin to figure out how to get the needed skill, knowledge, experience, and understanding to that leader at or before the time he/she needs it.

                                      And you know, that doesn't require any changes at all to how we currently do training. So, the folks who think our mission is simply to put on good training courses can continue right on doing what they are doing, the folks who think we have other obligations can do what they need to do, and neither group will get in the other's way.

                                      Dan Kurtenbach
                                      Fairfax, VA
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