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

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  • 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 1 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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