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Thread: Attention Span / Standing Still / Flossing

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I dare say, (although is that not usually a clenched fist?) Its something that some primary school teachers employ, presumably dependent on what's in vogue at the time.
    I've always done it with the scout sign at the top. (And I can confirm that it works for rowdy Network groups as well!)

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesam3 View Post
    I've always done it with the scout sign at the top. (And I can confirm that it works for rowdy Network groups as well!)
    We always do open hand - its what some of them did at school when we started the pack so was simpler to keep to the same thing to avoid confusion. The Cubs do this (although some will stand their chatting with their hand in the air). Scouts we either do that or just the shouted word "Troop".

    A sizeable percentage do of course stop what theyre doing and listen... its the "few" that are the issue.
    Dan Spencer

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  3. #33
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesam3 View Post
    I've always done it with the scout sign at the top. (And I can confirm that it works for rowdy Network groups as well!)
    Like the Hunger Games? Very apt.
    Ian Wilkins
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    We always do open hand - its what some of them did at school when we started the pack so was simpler to keep to the same thing to avoid confusion. The Cubs do this (although some will stand their chatting with their hand in the air). Scouts we either do that or just the shouted word "Troop".

    A sizeable percentage do of course stop what theyre doing and listen... its the "few" that are the issue.
    Heh!

    That's thing isn't it, eventually they just seem to subconsciously find a way round what ever conventions you have in place.

    None of our Scouts are horrible - I know we're not supposed to say out loud that occasionally we get kids in that are just not very nice - but its true, none of ours are bad per se. They just get over excited, and I/we are yet to develop a strategy that copes with this.

    We've tried to explain about presence of mind/being in the moment/being aware blah blah blah. But the whole point of being over excited/impulsive, is that all of that goes out the window. Its an unavoidable chicken and egg situation and something that fades with age, well, supposedly anyway...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Heh!

    That's thing isn't it, eventually they just seem to subconsciously find a way round what ever conventions you have in place.

    None of our Scouts are horrible - I know we're not supposed to say out loud that occasionally we get kids in that are just not very nice - but its true, none of ours are bad per se. They just get over excited, and I/we are yet to develop a strategy that copes with this.

    We've tried to explain about presence of mind/being in the moment/being aware blah blah blah. But the whole point of being over excited/impulsive, is that all of that goes out the window. Its an unavoidable chicken and egg situation and something that fades with age, well, supposedly anyway...
    You're right. But I make it their problem. Most of the scouts are reasonably quick about it and some just don't do it. (It's either the young immature or the older self centered explorer aged ones.) Some of the scouts that are quick about it eventually get annoyed with the noisy ones and might shout at them or tell me they're frustrated. That's the teachable moment because that's when they're motivated to solve the problem. So they'll nudge the noisy ones or shush them or just walk up and stare at them within an inch of their face while making the universal zip-it sign.

    And yes, I'm impatient as well so I'll encourage getting to that moment by saying they're wasting their time and not mine. Or I'll ask the patrol leaders if they could help. Eventually the senior patrol leader does all this, most of the time. It's messy but they learn and I don't get angry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattR View Post
    You're right. But I make it their problem. Most of the scouts are reasonably quick about it and some just don't do it. (It's either the young immature or the older self centered explorer aged ones.) Some of the scouts that are quick about it eventually get annoyed with the noisy ones and might shout at them or tell me they're frustrated. That's the teachable moment because that's when they're motivated to solve the problem. So they'll nudge the noisy ones or shush them or just walk up and stare at them within an inch of their face while making the universal zip-it sign.

    And yes, I'm impatient as well so I'll encourage getting to that moment by saying they're wasting their time and not mine. Or I'll ask the patrol leaders if they could help. Eventually the senior patrol leader does all this, most of the time. It's messy but they learn and I don't get angry.
    We're much the same, but the root problem persists - and its not like they're being bad, they're just being enthusiastic, but in the wrong way.

    What we find is, there are phases

    You ask Scouts to be quite. The good ones who hear you stop talking and turn to you. No one else hears. You raise your voice. Some more of the good ones hear you and are quiet. No one else hears. You raise your voice again - this time also saying 'whenever you're ready' signifying you (or I in this case) won't ask again. All the good ones can now hear, so are quiet. The 'enthusiastic' ones continue to chat/floss/run around - not because they didn't hear you, but because in their excited state, they're not actually listening.

    At that stage, a few of the older/more present-of-mind ones will tell them to shut up. That then sets quite a lot of the ones who were being quiet off again... So we enter another phase... Meanwhile I've withdrawn and am hoping another leader doesn't decide to wade in - which they mostly don't. Eventually the bout of mutual shut-upping also subsides, leaving two or three very excited scouts still chatting about I know not what (black holes or something) - while everyone else stares at them and comes to the inevitable conclusion that they're not actually mentally in the room, I then say (quite loudly), 'GET OUT OF MY HALL'.

    Which they do and we carry on.

    That sounds long winded, but it all happens in the space of, mmm, I'd say, around two minutes, if that.

    We have one PL, who is usually so mild mannered, when he raises his voice, the Scouts (all of them) really do shut up, even the ones who are bigger and a lot more brash than he is, display real fear. But that won't last, so we deploy that measure sparingly.

    Its annoying, but I also find it fascinating. I can live with one or two minutes of them faffing, it gives us some breathing space too. But if it goes beyond that, or if we're out and about and I just can't get their attention at all... Then the whistle comes out and its a ten minute silent sit down for everyone, except PL's usually.

    That's kind of my zone now...
    Last edited by pa_broon74; 11-06-2018 at 03:35 PM.

  8. #37
    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattR View Post
    And yes, I'm impatient as well so I'll encourage getting to that moment by saying they're wasting their time and not mine. Or I'll ask the patrol leaders if they could help. Eventually the senior patrol leader does all this, most of the time. It's messy but they learn and I don't get angry.
    You're in your own time now.

    My wife's ugly and my dinner's a salad, I've got all night.

    If you have an issue, i've got a tissue.

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    I could go on all night...
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    It was our gala day yesterday, I was speaking to some parents. Apparently, our USP seems to be that Scouts is a bit wild. One of the new Scouts in describing what goes on said, and this was the quote I was given... "Sometimes we get on the minibus, and no one has any idea where we're going!"

    Apparently other parents were heard chatting and said something along the lines of - "When we were young, we were out raising hell until the matches ran out... That's what Scouts is for now..."

    Fair enough.

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  12. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ihatecamping View Post
    My wife's ugly and my dinner's a salad, I've got all night.
    What the...?

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    Haven't done it in a while... but a few years ago i got fed up of scouts chatting when they fell in, so after waiting a few seconds i grabbed a chair from the side of the hall and sat down to wait. a couple were still chatting 30 seconds later at which point i got up, picked up a newspaper which was lying on the side, sat back down, and sat there reading it. At this point the other scouts dealt with the ones who were chatting (no idea how - i was reading my newspaper!)

    We reminded the Scouts a few weeks ago that the leaders are volunteers, and that if we decide on a wednesday night that we dont want to be there on the thursday anymore, that means there's no scout troop. That hit home with a few.

    To put a positive spin on it, last night the Monday Scout Troop were almost impeccably behaved (an evening of learning how to cook on trangias). They watched, listened and asked sensible questions during the demonstration. The food was palateable (2 were excellent, 1 patrol had undercooked their rice, and 1 patrol ate all theirs without telling us they were ready for us to come and judge!) Even the washing up was done correctly first time, and didnt spot a single kid flossing. Sometimes all that's needed is a task which focusses all of them.
    Dan Spencer

    Group Scout Leader 66th Bath
    Deputy District Commissioner (Programme) - City of Bath District
    Nights Away Adviser and member of District Executive Committee - City of Bath District
    Member of Avon County Appointments Advisory Committee
    Event organiser "Be Prepared" Resilience Events
    Formerly CSL, SL, ASL and Jamboree Communications Lead

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    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    You think you've got problems!!! I witnessed our 50 year old rotund Scout Leader flossing. I reported him to his wife. He's been told off!!!!

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    Apparently...

    The flossing thing was started by some random 16yo with a YouTube channel...

    Truly, we live in interesting times...

    There is so much I don't get...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Apparently...

    The flossing thing was started by some random 16yo with a YouTube channel...

    Truly, we live in interesting times...

    There is so much I don't get...
    I had never heard of flossing until all of you brought it up. My first thought was this must be a pig in a blanket thing, because flossing to me means getting bits of pig out from between my teeth.

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    My experiences are with Cubs and I claim no special professional knowledge.

    I think that discipline is a long term thing. There is no quick fix and any individual technique that you apply will only work if you do it consistently and over the long term.

    A few things that we do:

    - I don't tell off Cubs in front of the Pack if I can help it. I will praise good behaviour in front of everyone, but if a Cub is behaving badly I will try to take them aside rather than ball them out in front of the Pack. For a child that is using bad behaviour as a means of getting attention the worst thing you can do is to give them that attention in front of the peers.

    - one technique that works well is to awarded points to the first six that is standing quietly. We do this at every flag break and sometime when asking for them to be ready for an activity. When we started I did not tell them why I was awarding points. It takes a few weeks for them to realise what is going on. But when they do they start to shut each other up. I also take points off their six if they mess about during flag break - again I do not tell them why, but I make something of a show of walking across to our points board and saying "that's 10 points off Red six" - they know why, but the Cub that was messing about does not get any individual attention.

    - If things get out of hand or I am just getting fed up with the level of poor behaviour during an meeting I will call a halt and pull all the Cubs into the middle of the hall and make them sit down. I will then have a calm measured conversation with them about what we expect from them and how their current behaviour is falling short. Then we start the activities again. I never shout at them at this point.

    - another approach is to remove a Cub that is playing up by giving them a job to do. Again, I do not tell them why I am doing it. So if I see that a Cub is disrupting an activity I will ask them to do a job for me somewhere else. I will them praise them if they do it well. The idea is to find an excuse to praise their good behaviour rather than reward their bad behaviour with attention. They are not sophisticated enough to realise that I asked them to do the job because they were behaving badly.

    - I have also used the Malteser approach once or twice. You get a large box of Maltesers and at the start of the meeting you explain to the Cubs that every time one of them plays up you are going to eat a Malteser. Any Maltesers that are left at the end of the meeting will be shared out amongst the Cubs. Then when there is any bad behaviour you make a big thing about eating one of the Maltesers. Again, I do not explain why. I do not pick out the child that is miss-behaving. I do not give them any attention. The Cubs will immediately start to look around for why I have consumed another Maltesser and they will work out who it was and that Cub will not get the kind of attention they were seeking.

    - I use the "hand-in-the-air" technique to get silence. But this was agreed with the Cubs - you could use any non-verbal signal. We sat down and I explained that I needed a way to get their attention that did not involve me shouting at them. I explained that I did not like shouting at them and they agreed that they did not like it either. So we agreed that "hand-in-the-air" was a good way for me to ask them to be quiet. We have to repeat this conversation every couple of years so that new Cubs understand why we do it.

    This is just a few of the ways that we work towards a culture of good behaviour. But it takes a long time and patient, consistent, coordinated action from the whole leadership team. The basic tenant is to avoid giving any attention to bad behaviour in front of the Pack but instead to ostentatiously reward good behaviour at every turn (most especially if that good behaviour is from one of the trouble makers).

    In our case it appears to work well. The last time I tried the Malteser approach I did not get to eat any Maltesers!

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