So while discussing terms with a high school a while back our foolish stragbasher was asked casually “Could you do something like a scouting program?”
The answer was an equally casual “Oh yeah!” After all, we’ve all done tons of that stuff and how hard can it be? But being in a program, with books and whatnot to follow is a bit different from being handed a bunch of kids with no clear brief, no material, and not even a hard and fast budget.
The “let’s go out into the country and spend a weekend getting wet” idea was very well received, but half of the kids who turned up were not actually from the class I’m supposed to be teaching. Only about 1 in 3 of ‘my’ kids were able to go. Thanks to Freshtreks for making it a pretty good time all the same. We do plan to do it again soon.
But the problem is: what do I do in class time with a bunch of kids who mostly think that they are there to have fun? As the idea took shape with the school admin it was agreed that it would be a semi-military ‘team & character building’ thing for the smartest kids only. We wanted to teach public speaking, presentation skills etc., and turn them into ambassadors for their school who would inspire respect everywhere they went by being able to do anything and everything. (Well, you get the idea.)
Instead, I got a mixed bag of kids, with a wide range of abilities and interests, who have intentions of their own. And I have to create a syllabus for them by last week.
We can do a certain amount of prep for the next adventure weekend, but half of the kids won’t be going and the ones that are will be outnumbered by kids who aren’t in the class.
Give them a tent to put up and Billy Dufus will drive the poles as far into the dirt as his body weight will allow.
Teach them to tie knots and Billy’s mate will strangle someone. Turn your back on anyone to help individuals that want to learn and chaos prevails.
I don’t have this problem with my regular classes where they know what they’re there for. The problem stems from attitudes to a course that is seen as an opportunity to just fool around. I need something solid that will engage everyone’s interest, but right now I don’t have it.
We’re going to do a little military drill, leading into organised shouting and maybe some presentation skills, this week. But that won’t fill the whole period of 90 minutes. The best I can hope for is to impose some order for a while. Maybe some elementary ‘dead-reckoning’ navigation, compass bearings, how many paces in 100metres, etc. But I don’t have compasses, decent maps, or anything else.
Can anyone recommend some good books and/or activities? Education about nature and the outdoors is good, but it mustn’t be focused on any country other than Taiwan - I don’t need books telling you to watch out for rattlesnakes, how to survive in the desert, or which is the highest pub in Great Britain. (Not yet anyway!)
Thanks, in not-quite-desperation-yet. But not far off.