This weekend at the Trainers EDGE training we got into a discussion about “letting Scouts fail to learn”. About half of the room agreed with the idea and the other half agreed that the Scout needs to learn, but using the term ‘fail’ did not sit well with them.
I think its semantics but the goal is to get the Scout to learn. In Scouting we call it Guided Discovery. Allowing the Scout to learn by making mistakes, problem solving, and executing solutions to the situation. The adult leader is there to maintain safety, offer advice, and keep the Scout heading in the right direction. The leader does that in a subtle way, not doing the task, making the decision, or being up front. The leader is there to keep the Scout ‘in bounds’ so to speak. The Scout knows he has a safety net.
So how does this “Guided Discovery” concept work or get put into action. It is not about letting a Scout hang in the wind. It is not about allowing failure to occur just for the sake of letting a Scout fail. No, Guided Discovery happens when we ask questions. This implies that the leader is engaged fully in this process. Now that does not require the leader to hover and maintain an arms reach distance. It simply forces the issue through leading questions to assist in the Scout finding the answer.
Problem solving and role-playing can play a big part in guided discovery. Many times I ask a simple question, what do you think? Not what do you think is right.. rather, what are you thinking? Most of the time this question provokes enough thought and produces a clearer picture of the desired outcome. Problem solving and role-playing can spark thought and allow the Scout (s) to see possible out comes both good and bad and allow the decision making process to happen. This is not lofty and can happen at every level.
Using the Start, Stop, and Continue assessment tool in the middle of a task is also a great way to discover solutions and assist in decision-making. The leader can act as a referee in some cases and step in with a well placed questions that may get the group thinking about alternative solutions.
The goal to allow the Scout to make decisions and learn. Through Guided Discovery, we teach, coach, train and mentor the Scout to better understanding of skills, leadership, and self-reliance.
So.. what are you thinking? Let us know, leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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