Quite a few years ago a Scouting Colleague and I developed a problem planning approach that we could teach our Scouts – a simple nemonic that might stick in their mind. We came up with PATROL. Each step is shown below.
As with all my Scouting images, please feel free to reproduce and use – but if you do, let me know so I know others are benefitting!
1. P – PROBLEM
This is the obvious first step – what are we trying to achieve? In the picture above we can see that the problem is to move a large box over the fence behind; however other important parts of the problem include the fact that the Scouts can’t just go round the fence.
2. A – ASSESS
The next stage in planning – this is where the Scouts can work out what is available to them (planks, ladders, people), confirm the constraints (“Are you sure we can’t go round the fence”, “Are you sure we can’t just throw the box?”) and start to think about how they will solve the problem.
3. T- TASKS
This step is undertaken when the Scouts have worked out how they will solve the problem. This step is about breaking the solution down into the relevant tasks and working out which order they need to complete them.
4. R – RESPONSIBILITY
In this stage, each Scout is assigned the tasks that they will be responsible for. It is important that they know what part they are playing – and for the Patrol Leader this is key in knowing that each Scout has agreed to do their task (it also ensures that every Scout in the patrol is being utilised!)
5. O – Off You Go!
Everyone knows their job, when they need to do it. Talking’s over – now let’s get to work!
6. L – LEAD
Whilst this might seem that this is the afterthought, this step runs throughout the whole of the process. The Patrol Leader needs to make sure that every Scout gets the opportunity to give their views, are involved with the planning process… and importantly that they have completed the task they were responsible for on time (unlike here!). Luckily for everyone in the picture, that box was quite light…