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Don't do as I do, do as I say?

#61
I personally do not like the lack of choice and flexibility (Willow post #49).
I also have an activity where I totally disagree with some of the aspects (and will be running it differently) and feeding back to CHQ.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#62
We will be providing BadgeBooks for our girls apart from the oldest ones who are due to leave at Christmas or Easter.
I was planning to do this too, but those girls could potentially earn a Brownies Gold Award if they achieve three interest badges from three different themes in the new programme, so I am either going to offer it to them if they really want to do that, or I am going to give them a single copy that they can share, but which belongs to their six, so it will stay with us as a resource after they leave.
 

Fox

Brownie-induced madness
#63
Which one have you got the problem with? Is the information actually wrong, in which case HQ need making aware, or just doesn't tally with your personal beliefs? There's two SB for every theme, just do the other one, or get someone else to run the one you don't want to. Hardly difficult to come up with a solution.
It's a complete SB with information that has been proven to be wrong (it's the Learning Styles one, which is unfortunately a concept still widely in use in schools, but which is akin to astrology - something that has no basis in fact, but may lead girls to falsely believe something about themselves). So if I say we are not running that one, the HAVE to choose the other set of SB for that theme/stage. Sadly, quite a lot of things are widely in use in schools that have no evidence base (e.g. mixed methods for teaching reading).

And I can't afford buy all the SB right now, so I have bought 2 themes for this term; if the MUST do all the SB within a certain theme, that's that set out permanently, waste of the unit's resources.

I'm fed up of telling HQ that things are wrong, as they never listen, or refer us back to inconsistent information. I have done so on a number of occasions on topics both controversial and non-controversial and they have always failed to understand anything I say, and pointed (in one case) to two conflicting sources of information on GG website. So I see no point in telling them this time.

What will have happened is they got someone who doesn't actually read science to give them some suggestions, and someone else who never reads science thought "that sounds like it makes sense". Just because something "sounds like it makes sense" doesn't mean it's true. Sadly, quite a lot of things are widely in use in schools that have no evidence base (e.g. mixed methods for teaching reading, Brain Gym).
 

Fox

Brownie-induced madness
#64
Have you fed back to CHQ about your concerns, is there a way it can be adapted to ensure it it is safe and correct information given.
As I've said in my other post, I have given up since every time I have written to them they have ignored me or pointed me to contradictory information.

It's not a safety issue - it's just entirely wrong.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#66
Previously, we have had more choice on how we allocate our resources: unit funds and leaders' time. Like many here, our leaders have put in an inordinate amount of time finding programme ideas and producing resources, but this has cost the unit very little money, and it has given us an individual programme which is tailored to our needs and takes into account what we have and what we can provide.

I love the new themes, and the structure of the programme. I really like what I have seen of the new skills builders. I think the idea of Theme Awards reflecting engagement, participation and effort in activities is great.

I would like a little more choice for the UMAs:
  • the choice of downloading materials from the website (ideally in a print-friendly, less colour-saturated version) or to buy a ready-made, more substantial, laminated pack
  • the choice of using those provided, or using our own ideas, fitting in with the themes
  • the choice of whether we do additional preparatory activities or follow-on ones, with all of this being credited
  • the choice of how much time we spend on an activity.
I believe that this would give all units the chance to offer an even better programme which is more responsive to the girls' needs, the leaders' capacity, the unit resources and what is available and needed locally. It would also allow Rainbows especially the flexibility to fit it in.

Then change the 1 hr recommendation on the longest skills builder activities in stages 1&2 to 1 hr/1 meeting, to reflect Rainbows' shorter meetings, with downloadable notes to explain how they can be shortened if required, and we're done! :)
The difficulty lies in commitment to a common standard. I know of several cases where the reason people are asking for the freedom to make up their own activities is "because the girls want to do craft or cooking every week, and the programme wouldn't allow us enough time for them to do them every week". Yes, really. Now I appreciate that that may well be the minority, and I am not pointing fingers in any direction, but we have to acknowledge that that view exists. It made it difficult for Commissioners to define a 'failing unit', now it will be easier for them to judge which units are struggling and need support. If that costs some of the others, is that a price worth paying to make 'Good Guiding' the norm?

The other thing to consider is that yes, some people did put a lot of time into finding programme ideas and producing resources - others still would have loved to have been able to do likewise, but weren't. Now, no-one needs to, the work has been done, and Guiding can start to take it's place as a spare-time hobby, not an all-consuming drain on free time and energy. Perhaps that may be a good thing, enabling all units to have a varied programme with a wide range of activities?

Even those units which have been using the programme longest have done no more than 4 or 5 meetings using it. On that basis, none of us can be said to have given it a fair trial yet. Once we've had a chance to try it out over a few months we will be better placed to judge which bits actually work better than we thought they would, which bits could do with being tweaked, and how best to tweak so we keep the positives in place.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#67
The difficulty lies in commitment to a common standard. I know of several cases where the reason people are asking for the freedom to make up their own activities is "because the girls want to do craft or cooking every week, and the programme wouldn't allow us enough time for them to do them every week". Yes, really. Now I appreciate that that may well be the minority, and I am not pointing fingers in any direction, but we have to acknowledge that that view exists. It made it difficult for Commissioners to define a 'failing unit', now it will be easier for them to judge which units are struggling and need support. If that costs some of the others, is that a price worth paying to make 'Good Guiding' the norm?
So, we say: you must do x hours of activity from each of the themes. We say, here is a list of some ideas, and some exemplar activities. We train our leaders and we say that this is what is expected. We include the expectations in the quality standards. We include a facility in GO for recording what has been done, so Girlguiding and commissioners can see it (I use a system like this already for another youth organisation - so this does exist.)

If it is a minority problem, target the minority, don't penalise the majority - exactly as you said on the REN forms thread:

"Then instead of resolving the actual problem nor its cause they opt for 'discredited teacher' response - one person's not complying so you're all getting this extra exercise to do."

The other thing to consider is that yes, some people did put a lot of time into finding programme ideas and producing resources - others still would have loved to have been able to do likewise, but weren't. Now, no-one needs to, the work has been done, and Guiding can start to take it's place as a spare-time hobby, not an all-consuming drain on free time and energy. Perhaps that may be a good thing, enabling all units to have a varied programme with a wide range of activities?
Then that's fine - everyone has the option of using the UMAs as a backup plan.
 
#68
If it is a minority problem, target the minority, don't penalise the majority

How do you find that minority unless you have a common standard? We used to have a common standard in Guiding, it's only relatively recently that leaders have been able to do their own 'thing' as it were.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#69
How do you find that minority unless you have a common standard? We used to have a common standard in Guiding, it's only relatively recently that leaders have been able to do their own 'thing' as it were.
I really do think it is important to have a balanced and varied programme which offers sufficient challenge for each individual. I've argued for years that we need a proper programme which includes the out-of-doors, adventure, etc and am delighted with the themes. Like Fenris, I have experienced the 'craft and cookery club' aspect, and it's not Guiding.

But couldn't our common standard for a Guide Theme Award be:

- take part in a skills builder
- take part in five hours of activities linked to a theme (with examples of challenges given, as they were in the old handbooks, to give an idea of the level whilst still allowing for individual adaptation)
- do your interest badge?

Instead, the girls must currently do 4 or 6 very specific activities (I know this will increase), which they may or may not be interested in, which require in some case inordinate amounts of resources, or involve destroying resources which are then just thrown away, and which limit their experience terribly - and will for the next couple of years, until enough UMAs are out to give real choice.

I loved the Eight Point Programme, and thought that had the perfect balance of common standard v individual need, and choice v prescription, and I like so much of the new Programme. I'm increasingly saddened about the idea implicit in the Programme design that there's no way of training or trusting any Leaders or girls to do what we've done for the last sixty years.
 
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#70
I'm increasingly saddened about the idea implicit in the Programme design that there's no way of training or trusting any Leaders or girls to do what we've done for the last sixty years.

To be honest can see that at all, I do think though that many people are jumping in to criticise it before they've even read through it all, done the e learning or even read it up that others are taking what they say as being how it is. This means there's a doom and gloom attitude spreading which gives the impression you gave above. I even read on FB one lady who isn't a leader at the moment saying she won't come back as she planned because of everything she has read on the site.
We introduced it to the Rainbows and Brownies last night, we got back very positive feedback, Rainbows are excited at getting badges, they don't see it as homework nor do the Brownies. We don't see it as not being trusted to run a programme. One of our Brownie leaders who works has a young family sees it as a way she can actually stay in Guiding now.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#71
- take part in five hours of activities linked to a theme (with examples of challenges given, as they were in the old handbooks, to give an idea of the level whilst still allowing for individual adaptation)
This is what I hope it develops into. And I don't see why it won't, if leaders who want to create their own activities keep up feedback and sending in ideas.

The UMA cards are great for getting the girls to run things, but they will also spur many girls into their own ideas - which if given a framework to fit into, and a recommendation on how challenging the activity should be, should be allowed to count as unit meeting hours in the theme they apply to.

Alternately, times when we as a unit do something outside the meeting place - such as running a coffee morning to raise money for charity should be able to count as unit meeting hours (Take Action!) for those girls who take part. The girls will plan, make posters, make cakes/biscuits, and then on the day they will serve and take money.

As long as I can demonstrate that the hours I want to attribute to girls for UMAs for various themes are of a high standard, then I think they should count. I don't mind if I have to submit them for approval first. With any luck, at some later date this could become an option.

And if a unit only wants to use the printed UMAs - then that's fine. The collection of UMAs will be growing and improving. It will give everyone the choice, and keeps the common standard.
 

GirlFromMars

Veteran (100+ posts)
#72
To be honest can see that at all, I do think though that many people are jumping in to criticise it before they've even read through it all, done the e learning or even read it up that others are taking what they say as being how it is. This means there's a doom and gloom attitude spreading which gives the impression you gave above. I even read on FB one lady who isn't a leader at the moment saying she won't come back as she planned because of everything she has read on the site.
We introduced it to the Rainbows and Brownies last night, we got back very positive feedback, Rainbows are excited at getting badges, they don't see it as homework nor do the Brownies. We don't see it as not being trusted to run a programme. One of our Brownie leaders who works has a young family sees it as a way she can actually stay in Guiding now.
I'm finding the the opposite. Our leaders were excited about a new programme and all agreed it was needed, but the more we are trained, the more we read, the more disapointed we are becoming. I own all the resources now for Brownies and am very disapointed in the UMAs. The vast majority are so school like and seem to promote wasting a lot of materials for very little end product. I also really think the girls will find them boring. I've separated them into "happy to run as is" and "will need amending" and the "happy to run" pile is very small.

The girls are already learning through skill builders and interest badges, why can't they just have fun with the rest of the activities. There are no crafts (at least none that don't involve a lesson about science), and no games that are solely for having fun, and no baking/cooking. It's like GG are trying to abolish anything remotely imaginative, "girly" or silly fun and everything has to be a STEM lesson or political lesson.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#73
I'm finding the the opposite. Our leaders were excited about a new programme and all agreed it was needed, but the more we are trained, the more we read, the more disapointed we are becoming. I own all the resources now for Brownies and am very disapointed in the UMAs. The vast majority are so school like and seem to promote wasting a lot of materials for very little end product. I also really think the girls will find them boring. I've separated them into "happy to run as is" and "will need amending" and the "happy to run" pile is very small.

The girls are already learning through skill builders and interest badges, why can't they just have fun with the rest of the activities. There are no crafts (at least none that don't involve a lesson about science), and no games that are solely for having fun, and no baking/cooking. It's like GG are trying to abolish anything remotely imaginative, "girly" or silly fun and everything has to be a STEM lesson or political lesson.
Maybe the UMAs need to be renamed - calling them unit meeting hours gives the impression that that's what meeting hours will be taken up by, but they should just be one part of unit meeting hours. Clearly 15 min spent on a game purely for fun will not be 15 min that would go towards a theme award, but it's still actually part of a unit meeting hour. So the UMAs are specialised meeting hours in this scenario. If it had been worded as 4 hours of Theme Activity Cards for example, the perception might have shifted.
 

GirlFromMars

Veteran (100+ posts)
#74
Maybe the UMAs need to be renamed - calling them unit meeting hours gives the impression that that's what meeting hours will be taken up by, but they should just be one part of unit meeting hours. Clearly 15 min spent on a game purely for fun will not be 15 min that would go towards a theme award, but it's still actually part of a unit meeting hour. So the UMAs are specialised meeting hours in this scenario. If it had been worded as 4 hours of Theme Activity Cards for example, the perception might have shifted.
But they are hours, and 4 hours essentially means 4 weeks (by the time you factor in registration, warm up game, and pow wow into the meeting) of these UMAs every term for a girl to have any hope of earning a Gold badge.

My issue with it, is that they already learning guiding skills through the skill builders, why is there a need for UMA hours at all? Why can't the serious stuff be in the skill builders then the rest of the time we do what the girls want us to do. Have GG forgot that girls already go to school and don't necessarily want to do maths and science during all their off time too.
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#75
I think the lack of craft is because craft easily fits into the “other” activities category. Most units will do something crafty for a festival or celebration anyway so not attaching it to a specific UMA gives more opportunities.

I do think that there should be a bit more formally agreed flexibility for similar activities to the stated UMA, mainly because it seems so many leaders are planning to just go ahead and enter the closest anyway. This means girls of leaders who follow it exactly will “miss out” in comparison.

I think creation of the UMAs takes longer than lots seem to realise. They need to be tested, checked that there is no copyright infringement, the right phrasing needs to be found, justification that it has purpose as an activity beyond simple fun…
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#76
But couldn't our common standard for a Guide Theme Award be:

- take part in a skills builder
- take part in five hours of activities linked to a theme (with examples of challenges given, as they were in the old handbooks, to give an idea of the level whilst still allowing for individual adaptation)
- do your interest badge?
This was kind of the deal with the Brownie Adventure programme - the Adventures book contained ideas for each age split into You, Community and World. The leader could use those ideas, or the girls could do them at home, or the leader could do different ideas in the same general theme. But, for some reason that I don't really understand, a lot of leaders found it complicated and difficult and so didn't run the adventure programme.

I like the new programme on the whole, but sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who really liked the Brownie adventures too. What I liked about the adventures was that even if a girl joined late, she could complete a full Adventure circle if she did activities from the book at home. And with only three parts, it was fairly clear which section an activity went into. Also, it had lots of flexibility while still being an increasing challenge for each award, and if you split the girls into their colour groups (i.e. Pink yellow blue) they could choose and run an activity from the book by themselves, so it could be very girl-led as well (we did this at least once a term and they really enjoyed picking from 'their bit' of the book). So the new programme has some of these aspects, but not all, so for the moment I still think I prefer the adventures - although happy to change my mind once I see the new programme in action for a bit!
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#77
I like the new programme on the whole, but sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who really liked the Brownie adventures too.
I liked the Adventure Programme too. I thought it made sense with the type of activities that we needed to offer. I just think they found it hard to understand how it worked on a term by term basis, which is really just down to how "busy" the adventure books were perhaps.

I really like the 6 new themes though. I really see potential once we iron out things we're either not sure of or don't agree with.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#78
I'm finding the opposite. Our leaders were excited about a new programme and all agreed it was needed, but the more we are trained, the more we read, the more disapointed we are becoming.
Yes - this is exactly it! I am really happy about SO much of the new programme. The online training was fantastic and the resources look lovely. I can't wait to get the girls started on the skills builders, to share the interest badges, and to try some of the UMAs, and I can see the girls enjoying much of it.

BUT

I don't want to say to the girls "That's a great idea. We'll submit it as a UMA, and when it appears in 2020, then we can count it towards your Have Adventures hours." I want to say "Brilliant idea! Let's slot it into our Have Adventures hours next term."

I don't want to say to the girls, "Yes, the new programme dice says all these things count as Express Yourself. But I'm afraid you can only choose from four storytelling activities, making a bowl out of paper or making nets to catch balloons." I want to say "Making musical instruments out of junk and using them at the campfire in November? Absolutely!"
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#79
The 'old' Brownie programme contained a few optional ideas - or you could do whatever you liked and make it count for things just the same - and that's for those who realised there were now specific challenges to be done, which wasn't everyone by any means, as at the start when it was just Adventure and Adventure On, there weren't any. Many reckoned you could have the whole unit doing the same activity, the almost 10s and the just-7's alike, there was no need for the older girls to actually be challenged or to work in a separate group - so a lot of units didn't bother with that complication. And although technically they were meant to take part in joint events at least once a year, you could just claim it didn't suit you, there didn't happen to be such an event on your doorstep organised by someone else, or the individual didn't attend the only event that happened to occur. Those who hadn't done anything obvious in Promise-breaking were assumed to have developed their knowledge of it and got that part signed off whenever the Leader happened to get round to it.

Adventures were intended to take a year each, so no, the girl who joined more than a few months late could not catch up. But lots of Leaders turned a blind eye to that and would rush the girls through anyway. Girls couldn't complete More Adventures badge unless they had done the GFI. But the number of girls arriving in Guides with More Adventures badge but not the GFI badge vastly outnumbered the opposite, so that was clearly another rule judged by many Leaders to be not worth the paper it was written on. So even in a relaxed format where restrictions were few, those few restrictions that did exist were regularly breached, knowingly and without any concern. In those and other ways, there wasn't always that wide a margin between a programme structure and "do whatever you fancy" and shove things into boxes afterwards if you feel the need.

In some units, they were nevertheless achieving "Good Guiding". Some units had varied programmes, girls involved in decision making and occasionally in leading activities. Little repetition, and ongoing challenge for all the girls in the unit including the older ones. But others either did not have all of these, or at times had none of them. And it made it difficult for a DC to define whether or not a unit was offering "Good Guiding" or whether it was failing - because there was no clear line, no clear definition of what was just adequate and what was inadequate and in need of supportive action.

Now, there is going to be a clear programme, people are seeing it as a tightening up, so naturally, are bucking and kicking against it from the minute they hear of it. Whether it is setting some common standards in line with that "essential" or whether it is overly-prescriptive is something that can only fairly be debated in a few months time at a minimum, once everyone in the UK (not just those in Scotland who've had a few weeks' head start) have had a chance to give it a fair go over at least several weeks in the units. That way we can judge it based on facts, and on real experience of using it - not on assumptions about what the girls or their parents might think, nor on misunderstandings or rumours/myths of the sort which have spread rapidly. (For instance, I have seen some Leaders thinking the girls have to do all 12 Skills Builder topics, or that Rainbows have to do a level 1 Skills Builder before they can do the level 2 one. Or that they have to take Rainbows and Brownies camping in order to cover any of the camp themed Skills Builders, or that they should do a Skills Builder and all the UMAs from the same theme in a term).

Perhaps it has gone from one extreme to the other - from too lax to too strict? Or perhaps it was a much needed basic standard-setting? Either way, as I look back through forums to see what people have consistently been asking for these past 10 years, there are some clear, repeated messages which emerge.

Rainbows and Rangers wanted to be treated the same as the other sections - same structure, same challenges, interest badges. Now they are.
People wanted pick-up-and-go activities, not to have to come up with enough imaginative ideas to fill each weekly meeting. They've got them.
People wanted a 'highest award' for all the sections, not just Guides and Rangers. They've got one.

Now, they've got all of those. But it seems many still aren't happy.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#80
Yes - this is exactly it! I am really happy about SO much of the new programme. The online training was fantastic and the resources look lovely. I can't wait to get the girls started on the skills builders, to share the interest badges, and to try some of the UMAs, and I can see the girls enjoying much of it.

BUT

I don't want to say to the girls "That's a great idea. We'll submit it as a UMA, and when it appears in 2020, then we can count it towards your Have Adventures hours." I want to say "Brilliant idea! Let's slot it into our Have Adventures hours next term."

I don't want to say to the girls, "Yes, the new programme dice says all these things count as Express Yourself. But I'm afraid you can only choose from four storytelling activities, making a bowl out of paper or making nets to catch balloons." I want to say "Making musical instruments out of junk and using them at the campfire in November? Absolutely!"
For 2020, read early 2019, if you get ideas sent in now.