Learning from other professions

I’ve been reading a book recently about learning to teach in primary schools. 

Not because I have any desire to be a teacher (primary or otherwise), but for tips on managing large numbers of children. 

I was originally focused on the chapters on classroom management, planning and keeping children interested. But I have trouble only reading part of a book, so I read the rest too. 

I found parallels to my Guiding life in the most unexpected places. 

There is a chapter on educational theories, including some historical examples. The one that caught my eye was Plato’s theories. 

Plato believed that people at different stages of life need different types of education, in order to develop correctly. In this book, it is described like this:

Young children of quality who are not yet ready for the strains of philosophical training need to develop their senses of love of beauty, order and harmony. 

That’s Rainbows. 

As children get older, they need to be inspired by tales of heroes and great leaders. 

That’s Brownies. 

They need to ensure that their bodies are strong enough to house their souls, so the young need a period of rigorous physical training. 

Guides – not quite as obvious until you start thinking about camping and other outdoor skills. 

Only once the few have shown themselves to be fit will they be taught the secrets necessary for leadership. 

And there is the Senior Section. I’m mildly entertained that leadership is a secret. 

Unit 4.2 is on “The Curriculum”. A chapter specifically about the government-mandated UK primary curriculum can’t have anything to do with a volunteer-led organisation for the development of girls, right?


Once this thinking has been translated from the National Curriculum into teaching plans, the official documents are not really needed so much. This can make it difficult for student teachers to appreciate the links between the National Curriculum and school planning. 

When was the last time you sat down and thought about the WAGGGS values, and how they relate to the program you run at Brownies or Guides?

If you have a new leader, how much of their training is about what activities to run, and how much is about what Guiding is for?

Do you ever find inspiration for Guiding in unexpected places? Share your stories in the comments. 


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