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Monthly Archives: February 2012
The PADI Instructor Development Course and the PADI Instructor Exam is now over. The course was fantastic, with lots of laughter and lots of good times. I’ll certainly remember it for a long while. It’s surprising just how well people can progress once they put their minds to it. Two of our IDC candidates could not even speak English a couple of years ago! Istvan is Hungarian, now living in London. He did very well during the IDC and is now looking forward to teaching other Hungarian and Eastern Europeans who live in North London. I am sure that he will do very well.
Saad is Egyptian and taught himself English. He has surprised everyone how fast he has progressed. He took the PADI Instructor Exam in English, and apart from just 2 questions in total, got 100 pct on all Theory Exams! He also got fantastic scores on all of his teaching presentations. He will make a brilliant Instructor.
I would also like to thank Ian, who not only was a great IDC Candidate, but also acted as a “Mentor” to the others on the course.
Congratulations also to Kristofer who did his IDC Staff Instructor Course during this IDC.
My thanks also go out to all of the Staff Instructors who made my job so much easier. Scott, from Emperor Divers, Lorraine from Dive Force Marine, Paul from Deep Blue Scuba in Edinburgh, and as always my wonderful wife Janet. Without whom, non of our PADI IDCs would be successful.
I often find that PADI Divemasters and PADI IDC Candidates often have a problem with a question about the Coreolis Effect. When you look in most PADI materials, you’ll usually find a very simple explanation that states: Major Ocean Currents flow Clockwise in the Northern hemisphere, and Counter Clockwise in the Southern hemisphere. Whilst this is of course very true, it doesn’t really explain why.
I have tried to explain the reasons why on this video. I hope that you like it, The production is a bit scruffy! but the content is fine. Let me know if you have any questions
First off we discussed the techniques and philosophies of effective teaching in the classroom. It was good to learn that much of the criteria we do quite naturally in our everyday conversations. However it was also good to learn that as simple as it is, the very same communication skills are taught in major corporations around the world.
Everyone felt a rush of adrenalin as they took their turn at standing at the front of the class to teach their own assignment, but with the team around them and knowing we were just talking about diving, it wasn’t so bad after all.
The next day we adapted our teaching techniques to teach skills in the confined water environment.
There was excitement in the air as the confined water is situated just off the beach at Shark’s Bay and we would be having a few days at the seaside.
At the beach we practised teaching skills, had a go at demonstrating a rescue and we even went for a dive or two.
After a few days of training at the beach, we discussed how we would adapt the same learning system to teach in the deeper, open water. Again we had a few days practicing this but by now it was feeling quite natural. The Instructor Exam is still many days away, but the team are already at the “Bring it on” stage!
We spent another day in the classroom to discuss how we might teach the core PADI courses, including standards and procedures and ratios etc . After all, it won’t be long before everyone will be qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors and will be able to teach these courses!
PADI Instructor Development Course, Feb 2012 at Emperor Divers with Platinum PADI Course Director Steve Prior.
Every PADI IDC we teach is unique because of the different mixture of personalities involved. The Feb 2012 IDC is the A and the B Team. Both working towards the same goals.
The A Team is made up of Ian, Istvan & Saad and they are all set on becoming PADI Scuba Instructors at the end of this PADI IDC. The B team is the Bigger Team that is surrounding them on their journey and is made up of Lorraine, Scott, Paul and Kristopher.
Lorraine has been Istvan’s Instructor and mentor throughout his diving career and she is quietly watching Istvan the Instructor take shape. Lorraine will qualify as a PADI Master Instructor at the end of this PADI IDC.
Scott works at Emperor Divers in Sharm and is already a Master Instructor. He is here, coaching his Emperor Diver’s colleague Saad, through the PADI IDC. Scott has played a huge part in Saad’s diver training so far and really wanted to be part of this next step.
Paul runs his own dive centre; Deep Blue Scuba in Edinburgh. Paul is a familiar face at Emperor Divers, Sharm because he constantly brings his divers on holiday to the Red Sea. Paul is well on his way to qualifying as a PADI Master Instructor.
Kristopher completed his PADI Instructor Status Update with us last year and enjoyed it so much that he decided to come back for more. He will qualify as a PADI IDC Staff Instructor at the end of this PADI IDC.
Course Director Steve thinks it’s brilliant to have so many Staff Instructors around on this Instructor Training Course. It’s great for the candidates because they have a wealth of knowledge and experience to tap into.
“Personally, I am more pleased to see that professionals in the Industry want to be around during PADI Instructor training to see what’s new in the PADI system and to keep themselves up-to-date and fresh.”
“I enjoy talking to the Staff Instructors about fun and exciting ways to implement the latest changes to PADI standards and Procedures in their own teaching. I find these conversations energising and love getting their feedback when they have tried something new as a result”.
The start of the PADI Instructor Development Course
Istvan, Saad and Ian arrived at Emperor Divers in Sharm, 2 days ahead of their PADI Instructor Development Course. Over the past few weeks, they had taken part in our Distance Learning Preparation course and completed 8 mock exams that I had sent to them. The exams had focused their revision on both dive theory and PADI Standards, so they were already fairly relaxed.
Of course they are extremely excited about the next couple of weeks and keen to get started on the road to becoming a PADI Instructor. The next 2 days would continue their preparation, removing any last niggling doubts about their knowledge or ability so that they could concentrate fully on learning a new set of teaching skills that will make them effective Instructors.
Preparation Course Day 1
On the first day, following introductions, I was keen to make sure that they all understood that the whole point of doing a PADI IDC was not just to pass a PADI Instructor Exam! The main purpose was to learn the techniques that would make them a very successful Instructor in the future. Having said that, we spent an hour or so looking at the content of a PADI Instructor’s Exam. Afterwards, everyone felt more relaxed and confident. Not least because they knew, the work they had already completed through the Distance Learning course meant they could already pass some elements of the Instructor’s Exam and we hadn’t even started the course yet!
Naturally there were still a couple of areas that needed brushing up. Physics (as always) is one of them. It’s so very common for people to have difficulty with Physics, so I make sure that I explain some very simple and fun ways to learn the most difficult of subjects.
The PADI materials that teach Physics are very much the same as each other. So if people can’t understand a subject after learning it from their Divemaster course, I find that they are just as confused after reading the Diving Knowledge Workbook or the Encyclopaedia as all of the subjects are explained in a similar way throughout all PADI products.
If someone cannot understand a subject, then it needs to be explained in a very different manner. On the Preparation Course, people not only see a very fresh way to “learn” these subjects, but they also know that they can use the same methods to teach their future students.
Just before lunch, Ian, Saad and Istvan were able to prove to me and to themselves how much all of this helped by passing a mock Theory exam with flying colours.
The PADI Examiners expect PADI Instructor Candidates to be familiar with some Computer Software programs. The candidates will be expected to know their way around the Open Water, Rescue and Divemaster Prescriptive Lesson Guides. So the afternoon was spent explaining the benefits of all components of these guides, and also how to use function keys.
All three candidates had seen the Prescriptive Lesson Guides before, but they didn’t appreciate just how helpful they were. Nor did they know how to use them. This session proved to be very useful for them all.
Preparation Course Day 2
IDC candidates are often concerned about the quality of their skill demonstrations, so we set off to the beach at Sharks Bay, where we could talk in detail about several skills. There are many ways to demonstrate most skills, and we discussed different options for different students. After a couple of cups of coffee, we set up our equipment and made our way into the sea where we could spend time, practising skills, adjusting weights and generally feeling more comfortable underwater.
This was a wonderful exercise for all of the candidates, afterwards they felt much more at ease and they all told me that they had learnt different ways of tackling some of the skills.
The IDC stamina swim test can also cause concern if candidates struggled in this area during their PADI Divemaster course. They assume that they have to complete the swim even faster than at Divemaster. In fact, the IDC swim is a snorkel swim and it is not timed. Ian, Istvan and Saad were joined by Janet and I and we all enjoyed swimming along the reef at Sharks Bay. A curious Napoleon Wrasse also followed us along for most of the way!
As the candidates exited the water and relaxed over lunch at Sharks Bay, there was a definite feeling of relief in the air. Maybe this PADI IDC wasn’t going to be as tough as had been imagined?
“I can’t see the wood for the trees”
The human brain often gets confused. It’s a known fact that even the most intelligent of us can only hold up to seven pieces of information in our heads at one time. Less if the information is mixed such as words, numbers, calculations and theories, like it is with Physics.
And here is the main root of the problem. Many divers are practical people, they just like to go diving! They are usually safe divers that follow PADI Safe Diving Practices and regularly check their Buddy and their Computer during dives.
Other people are more academic, they love the theory of diving, they are usually good at mathematics and can calculate formulas with ease.
but of course along comes a Physics question that gives everyone a problem. Something like “How much air do you put in a lifting bag when an item weighs… etc!
Here we have the big problem! the Practical Divers love the idea of playing with Lifting Bags, the Academic divers love working things out. But this question mixes Diving with Maths. It mixes Practical with Academic, by it’s nature people from both sides can get confused!
So what is the secret? We probably know PADI Instructors around us that can instantly recall all of the mumbo jumbo that a physics exam can ask. What is their secret?
The answer is that these people have learned little tricks to help them with each subject.
They probably don’t realise it, but they have mental images, or subconscious connections that lead to the right answers. These people are not professors of mathematics, or highly academic students, they have simply put a few basic steps in place. And that’s how I will teach you.
Start with the Basics
If you take any of our Preparation Courses, (Physics course, Distance Learning, or 2 Day Preparation course) We will always make sure that the basics are in place before we start to apply them. One common mistake that a lot of instructors make is to jump to complex topics before underlying knowledge is in place. During our classroom courses, you’ll be taking part in fun games and you will be shown really simple techniques to make sure that you fully understand every step.
We will use the same methods to get you to familiar with PADI Standards. We will look at the PADI Instructor Manual, and learn to find our way to certain subjects in a very natural manner.
Is it really that easy?
You will embark on a Journey that cuts out all of the nonsense. Some people who have taken this course can be forgiven for feeling that they have been cheated. They feel that fundamental stuff that they had heard from others has not been included. You need to feel assured that everything is covered on this course. The only things that are left out are the tons of irrelevant rubbish that are often mentioned in futile efforts to get you to understand.
It’s an old adage, that people learn best when they are having fun. During all of our courses you have so much fun, you don’t even know that you are learning. Remember that other people in the class may not find some of the issues as obvious as you do, so please relax and “humour” us with your patience while we go through the learning process. By taking small but very important steps, everyone is amazed that within a very short space of time they understand subjects with the ease that they could only dream of.
Who will benefit from these courses?
- Do you have trouble understanding Diving Physics when you read it in books?
- Are you aiming to Go Pro and be a PADI instructor in the near future?
- Is your lack of knowledge holding you back?
- Are you worried about failing your diving exams?
- Maybe you are already a qualified PADI OWSI who wants to teach PADI Divemasters but will not because you do not understand the subject of Physics well enough yourself?
Whether you are a PADI Divemaster in training, or already qualified as a PADI OWSI we have a solution for you. Platinum PADI Course Director Steve Prior has created revolutionary courses that makes learning easy. He will give you the confidence to pass the PADI physics exam at Divemaster, PADI Instructor Development Course and PADI IDC Staff Instructor level.
When PADI Instructors first learn about this, they usually ask one of the following questions:
What does Kinaesthetic mean?
What style do you think that I am?
Does any of this matter?
If it does matter, then how can I improve my teaching style to make sure that I am communicating to all people?
I’ll try to answer some of these questions.
Have you noticed that when you explain things to people, they often reply with a statement like: “I SEE what you mean”? or ”I get the picture”?
Well, these people are giving a clear indication that they are VISUAL learners. When they say that they “SEE what you mean” they usually literally have an image in their mind of what is being discussed. These people often learn best by looking at pictures, videos or other images.
If, on the other hand, they reply ” I HEAR what you are saying” or “that rings a bell” or “That SOUNDS feasible” then they are giving an indication that they are AUDITORY learners. Auditory learners often prefer to read books, or listen to the spoken word to get information.
KINAESTHETIC learners on the other hand, are far more practical, and prefer to learn by doing things. They can often imagine the “feeling” of doing something before they actually try.
It’s important to remember that we don’t neatly fall into one or the other of these systems. We will probably fall into all 3 categories from time to time, but will generally have one dominant style.
So the next question is: Does any of this matter?
Well to answer this question, let’s look at a possible scenario in a Dive Shop.
Let’s imagine that a woman walks into a Dive Shop. She walks up to the assistant and says:
“I’ve just seen that BCD in the window, it looks just what I need! It’s the right shape, and the right colour! Can I take a closer look at it please?
Now the woman is clearly using terms like “look” “see” and “Shape” to suggest that she is a VISUAL person.
The man behind the counter, however, has been diving for many years. He is very Kinaesthetic, and answers:
“Good choice madam!” That BCD is an excellent model. It’s got a fantastic lift. When you’re at the surface, you can inflate it and it will hold you very high in the water.
The woman, is a little confused by this reply, but never-the-less takes a closer look. She studies the BCD, and then says:
“Well, it looks OK, but does it come in a lighter shade of blue than this? It don’t think that it will look right with my wet suit.
The assistant is slightly amused by this trivial reference to colour and replies:
Yes, I’m sure that it comes in other colours, but you need to experience how comfortable the Low Pressure Inflater feels in your hands. It’s perfectly designed. Just hold this in your hand and notice how easy it is to reach the buttons.
The customer, now even more confused than before, looks at the back of the BCD to see how the tank band will look on her cylinder once it’s fastened.
The assistant, sensing that the customer is not quite as enthusiastic as she was when she first walked in tries to redeem the situation by saying:
“Why don’t you just slip it on? You’ll feel how comfortable it is. You can imagine how secure you’ll feel when it is inflated.
The woman now takes one last look at the BCD and decides that on reflection, it’s not exactly what she wanted. She leaves the shop quite disappointed. The BCD looked really nice in the window, and although she can’t quite put her finger on why, she doesn’t think that it’s the BCD for her.
The shop assistant is also very disappointed. The customer was so enthusiastic when she first came into the shop. He felt that he couldn’t have helped her more; the BCD was an excellent model. He can’t really understand why she didn’t buy it.
So! we can clearly see that although they were both speaking in English, they weren’t speaking to each other in the same language! Neither could understand what the problem was, but they just knew that things “weren’t right between them”
So, as PADI Divemasters, PADI Instructors or AI’s we need to make sure that we are communicating with all of our customers. Fortunately all PADI materials make sure that all learning styles are covered. Pictures, words and scenarios cover all of the bases.
But what about talking face to face? Do we have to analyse every customer? Do we have to work out which style to speak in? Well according to some books on teaching, this is exactly what they suggest we do! But of course in reality, this is very difficult and very impractical!
BUT the answer is very simple! All we need to do is to be empathetic with each of our customers. We just listen to what they say, and speak back using the same words as they use. Most of the time this is a very natural process. The important thing is to LISTEN and take an interest in WHAT the person is saying. We don’t need to analyse, nor evaluate, we just speak back naturally. It will work most of the time.
Good luck! you don’t need to do anything else other than be aware that people are different! We talk about this a lot on our EFR instructor courses, and also our PADI Instructor Development Courses. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Yvonne and Christopher travelled from either end of the UK to attend a PADI IDC Staff Instructor Course. Yvonne from Edinburgh, and Christopher from Cornwall.
I always really enjoy every IDC Staff Instructor Course, but this one was made much more enjoyable because Christopher has been head of many schools and been developing education in many parts of the world. It was fascinating to compare teaching techniques and teaching philosophies.
Yvonne was already familiar with the Prior Knowledge materials that we have developed to make teaching presentations easier to understand. Christopher however did his PADI IDC way back in 1995!
Yvonne said that she most enjoyed learning the marking critera and getting to understand the fine line between where a point was scored and where it wasn’t.
They both enjoyed Janet’s sandwiches and snacks!
The first day was spent looking at the psychology and the methods used in classroom teaching presentations. Even though they had both taught many courses, both Christopher and Yvonne saw how PADI scoring mechanism made teaching classroom topics sound so very natural and is designed to make it easier for students to remember the information taught.
On the second day, we learned how important is was to give a good briefing in confined water. When done correctly, the student should find that every skill is very easy to perform. It should always be lots of fun as well! Marking in the pool was fun as well. Both Yvonne and Christopher showed that they understood fully the critera, but they also understood the need to be able to critique students in a positive and encouraging manner.
On the third day of the course, we talked about teaching in Open Water. We talked about the importance of making the
briefing very relevant without patronising the students. We then spent time marking and giving feedback to various presentations from the PADIevaluation video.
I’m looking forward to seeing both Yvonne and Christopher on one of our PADI Instructor Development Courses very soon where they will be able to take part and see how the whole process is put into place.