Everyone learns a little differently. You can read about how to do a new skill. You can listen as someone explains it. You can practice the skill yourself. But for many youth, combining multiple methods really helps them master skills.
That’s why we use the EDGE Method, which stands for Explain, Demonstrate, Guide and Enable. When teaching something new, you explain how it’s done. Then demonstrate the steps you just explained. Guide the learners as they practice. And, finally, enable them to succeed.
Enabling success happens when you show the learner that they can do the skill themselves. But for continued success, the learner should have opportunities to keep using the skill.
Bill Kirk, who serves on the Gravois Trail District’s camping committee in the Greater St. Louis Area Council, saw the importance of this when Scouts learn knots.
“Scouts learn knots as they advance in rank, but they soon forget,” Kirk says. “There are many paper copies on the market. Those are just visual examples. So I thought a hands-on approach would be a good idea.”
Kirk created a “knot box.” Inside a small container, he put pieces of rope tied into knots Scouts learn. He identified each knot on separate plastic cards. He glued the knots into place with the lashings attached to little pieces of whittled wood.
Scouts can play this memory game by opening the “knot box” and matching the knots to the cards. It can be played individually or in a patrol.
“As we all know, Scouting is hands-on,” Kirk says. “Any size group of Scouts can play. It’s a team-building game.”
Know your knots
You can find knot-tying instructions in the Scouts BSA Handbook and the Pioneering merit badge pamphlet. Scout Life magazine also has a series of videos you can show Scouts, demonstrating steps to tie everything from a neckerchief friendship knot to a Prusik hitch.
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