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DofE - newbie

(14 Posts)
PiedImperial Sat 28-Sep-19 11:15:29

DS13 wants to sign up for DofE at school. He reckons that it won't be much of an additional commitment:

For the skill section, he's going to learn a musical instrument - the one he has already been learning for 3 years.

For the physical section, he's going to do tennis - he's been going to tennis at the weekend for about 7 years now.

For the volunteering he thinks he can help out in the school library once a week.

I have no experience of DofE, but this doesn't seem to me to really be in the spirit of the award, if you just do stuff you're already doing!

Or is that what everyone does?

(In the interests of full disclosure, he does not have loads of hobbies/activities - unless you count minecraft hmm - so it's not as though his time is scarce).

titchy Sat 28-Sep-19 12:53:40

Yep! The idea is to work towards an aim, so even if he puts down his instrument as his skill, he has to aim towards something with it he hasn't yet achieved - Say 'work towards and pass grade 5 guitar'.

He has to do the two day expedition as well.

You can see why it's dead easy for middle class kids can't you...

PiedImperial Sat 28-Sep-19 14:15:17

Thanks, titchy. Yes, indeed...

I'm struggling to see the point of it TBH, if he doesn't gain anything personally from it.

Sproglets Sat 28-Sep-19 14:28:46

The thing with the DofE is that it shows commitment and dedication, it demonstrates the ability to keep working at something specific and see that through - working towards and passing a musical instrument grade does the same of course - the real value in the Award is the understandable packaging of activities that demonstrate some sort of ‘well roundedness’.
A lot of the personal development happens during the expedition section too.

titchy Sat 28-Sep-19 14:44:18

* I'm struggling to see the point of it TBH, if he doesn't gain anything personally from it.*

He is gaining though isn't he - from his sport and instrument. He's gaining lots of skills doing those, confidence, resilience, hard work etc etc. DofE effectively packages all that together and formally recognises it.

LolaSmiles Sat 28-Sep-19 14:53:22

The students who do DofE and do it well benefit from taking a focused look at what they do already and then maybe pick up one section new.
I always think it should supplement what they do because often the types of students who are drawn to DofE are already reasonably rounded, and so they maintain those areas whilst picking up some new skills and the challenge of the expedition. That's been true of middle and working class students in my experience.

E.g. someone who plays footie and helps with the kids teams has 2 sections already done, someone who does army cadets (really popular at one of my previous schools, highly deprived area where lots wanted to go into the forces) and volunteers has 2 sections. Someone who does music has a section underway. Skills signed off by teachers can also count eg. Developing their art skills in a particular genre

In my experience it's much harder getting a student through DofE who does very littl to nothing in terms of enrichment and then getting through all sections etc because they typically don't have the motivation to make the most of it or will to the bare minimum to get by because it's such a big shock in terms of hours.

senua Sat 28-Sep-19 14:57:43

I'm struggling to see the point of it TBH, if he doesn't gain anything personally from it.
What's the harm in it? It's only the Bronze award. Baby steps and all that.
You may see the point of it when they get to the expedition stage.

Lots of youngsters start DoE. Not many (only about 1% IIRC) get all the way through to getting their Gold Award. That effort really does represent all the skills titchy mentioned.

PiedImperial Sat 28-Sep-19 18:44:23

OK, my previous comment was a bit flippant and I didn't really phrase it well - sorry.

It just feels like if he's allowed to get away with doing nothing additionally to the activities he already does, other than helping in the school library for an hour a week, and one overnight expedition (plus any practice walks) then what exactly has he done to merit an award?

It just feels like he's trying to game the system, and I wondered how many other children get away with doing that, instead of genuinely doing up new things, which I thought was the point of it, but maybe I've just misunderstood it all confused

TeenPlusTwenties Sat 28-Sep-19 18:56:23

I think the 'helping in the school library' is a bit of a cop out to be honest.

Why not push him to do something more skills-expanding for his volunteering and say of he does then you don't mind the tennis and instruments being reused?

(My DD1 got a lot out of DofE. She used an existing activity, but took up a new physical, and volunteered in an area she was pondering about as a career direction. Plus the expedition was very tough for her.)

TeenPlusTwenties Sat 28-Sep-19 18:57:36

With DofE you get out what you put in in my opinion.
There is no 'value' on the bronze award per se. The value is in what you learn along the way.

PiedImperial Sat 28-Sep-19 19:10:32

You could be right - maybe it's the combination of the 2 activities he already does plus the school library cop out that is making me feel a bit meh about it all.

Yes - I think I will definitely need to push him to find something else for the volunteering section.

ErrolTheDragon Sat 28-Sep-19 19:21:36

* With DofE you get out what you put in in my opinion.
There is no 'value' on the bronze award per se. The value is in what you learn along the way.*

This, absolutely. The awards of themselves have little value, except perhaps in the case of underprivileged kids for whom it may be a much more significant effort and learning opportunity. DD did the full set - she definitely found it worthwhile especially the final gold expedition - but it constituted the least important sentence on her uni personal statement.

Re the volunteering- it can be quite hard to find opportunities outside of school which will (a) take an under 16yo and (b) be regular enough to count.

TeenPlusTwenties Sat 28-Sep-19 19:25:13

School library is very 'safe' I think.

No effort to get to.
With adults he already knows.
Not pushing his skills at all.

Whereas he could:
- help in a primary after school club
- volunteer at local library
- help in charity shop (if they will have him only age 13)
- help at a Park Run
- organise with some others to do weekly litter picks somewhere
- play games in an old people's home

LolaSmiles Sat 28-Sep-19 19:59:55

Doing existing sports and skills isn't a cop out.

Choosing the easiest route for volunteering isn't ideal but that's where your guidance and staff guidance comes in.

He'll also gain from preparing and doing the expedition.

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