Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Re: Re-Testing
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 10:14:16 -0600
At 10:52 AM 12/10/99 -0500, Kurtenbach, Daniel wrote:
>The other day we were tying our Christmas tree on top of the car to take it
>home, and I asked my 14 year old Life Scout son to put a taut line hitch on
>the rope so we could tighten it down securely. He couldn't remember how to
>do the knot (though he did remember the clove hitch). There is a difference
>between learning something to pass the requirement and "really" learning it.
Perhaps this is the key. Many boys bring the same attitude to learning in
Scouts that they do to learning in school. They learn something long
enough to pass a test and then forget it because it has no practical
And sometimes they're right--lots of stuff I had to learn in school I've
never needed to know since. And some of the skills they learn to pass
requirements they probably will never use again.
Before anyone objects I want to state that I'm not saying they shouldn't
learn these skills. There are good reasons for learning them even if, at
first glance, they don't seem practical for the modern world.
So, how do we let the kids know that even if a skill doesn't seem to have
an immediate practical use it still is important to learn it--and retain it
past the test?
One way is to try to show a practical application. Example: one of the
early requirements is measuring things. As it happened the Church needed
the rope on their flagpole replaced last fall. So we took the kids outside
and said: "OK, we're going to replace this rope. How much rope do we need
Mark W. Arend, Scoutmaster
Beaver Dam, Wisc.