Our perception of learning shapes the way we instruct and lead. Here are four common models of learning and leadership:
Learning Model – EMPTY VESSEL – BLANK STATE
Students are empty vessels that are filled by learning new things. Additive learning assumes uniform voids are filled by uniform chunks of learning.
Leading Method – PASSIVE STUDENT – ACTIVE TEACHER
Classic classroom techniques of presenting blocks of material (lectures, repetition, etc.) with students in a passive role and teachers as presenters.
Learning Model – CONDITIONED RESPONSES
Students are motivated by biological and psychological urges that are subject to conditioned responses. “Do this, get that”
Leading Method – SYSTEM OF REGIMENTATION
Coercion with rewards and punishments to condition desired responses.
Learning Model – STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
Learning happens in a progressive set of stages and is doled out as the instructor recognizes each stage of development.
Leading Method – CONDITIONAL PROGRESSION
New information is shared when instructor is satisfied that the student has met the conditions of each stage.
Learning Model – COLLABORATION
Students want to be good at something, take pride in accomplishment and have a sense of integrity about their work. Some activities are more compelling to a given individual than others.
Leading Method – COACHING – MENTORING
Students and teachers collaborate on selecting what they learn and when. Instruction is designed to respond to individual progress and interest.
None of these models and methods are the ‘right’ ones; they all work depending on the goals of the instruction, the conditions (time and place) and the material being presented.
I will contend that collaboration the most applicable model and coaching and mentoring is the most applicable method for Scouting. Our goal is to grow thoughtful, participating, ethical adults who possess clear ideas of self worth and service. Part of that goal is achieved as they learn easily demonstrable skills (like first aid and camping skills) and this may be better accomplished through a combination of the other models and methods.
Knowing that there are many approaches and honing our use of all of them bring our Scouts a bit closer to the aims we have for them.