ERIC Number: ED232834
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Two Boy Scout Troops: The Impact of the Troop Culture on What Boys Learn.
Shinkwin, Anne; Kleinfeld, Judith
Troop ideology as defined by the scoutmaster and other involved adults radically altered the learning experiences of boys in two Boy Scout troops, even though both adhered to the official program. Using observation and interviews, researchers studied all aspects of the troops over 7 months. One troop, whose scoutmaster was benevolent and easy-going, perceived scouting as fun. Meetings were loose, raucus, and often unorganized. Formal meeting activities such as planning and learning groups quickly disintegrated into joking and play. Troop leadership and responsibility were centralized in the hands of a few senior boys who were frequently unprepared. Parents rarely participated in troop activities, preferring to donate money instead. The boys learned to function in a peer culture. The other troop, whose scoutmaster was a no-nonsense man with a strong work ethic, held elaborate, formal, organized, and quiet meetings. Meeting activities were serious business. Leadership and responsibility were spread among all the members, supported by a stable system of informal adult roles. Parents frequently participated in troop activities, especially fund-raisers. Keen observers of the adults, the boys learned responsibility and leadership. The comparison showed how organizations create an informal culture that can support or undercut official educational goals. (SB)
Descriptors: Adults, Comparative Analysis, Cultural Influences, Group Behavior, Group Dynamics, Group Structure, Individual Characteristics, Leaders, Leadership Styles, Leadership Training, Learning Activities, Learning Experience, Meetings, Organizational Effectiveness, Organizations (Groups), Parent Attitudes, Parent Influence, Parent Participation
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Alaska Univ., Fairbanks. Inst. of Social, Economic, and Government Research.
Identifiers: Boy Scouts of America; Scoutmasters
Note: For related document, see RC 014 251.