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PADI Assistant Scuba Instructor – Day 2 November 23, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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Saturday was supposed to be a 13 hour day, but was only 9 hours after someone’s schedule had a problem. Most of the day was devoted to Knowledge Development Presentations. These short presentations are artificial in the context of real instruction as they are overkill for the intended purpose, which is to review an incorrect answer in the student’s knowledge review. This follows a concept called “microteaching”, where an entire presentation is centred around a small subject.

Both my assigned topics were about buoyancy. One was the very first question on the open water test, about how you describe an object that neither floats nor sinks. Like any presentation, you are supposed to have an introduction, a body and a summary, with each part stating the key points and objectives in a different manner. The instructors looks for various elements that you are supposed to include. For the introduction, the key element is “contact” – telling a story or making an analogy to get the students’ attention. Nearly as important is to relate the concept to actual diving, especially the diving the student is about to do.

In the body, you need to deal with the subject without over-elaboration. The PADI teaching method is quite specific in that the instructor should not go beyond the prescribed curriculum, but reinforce the core teaching with examples, actual experiences and so forth, on the assumption that too much information will dilute the necessary information the student needs to become a safe diver. The use of teaching aids is mandatory. You must use one of (a) diving equipment or an accessory – a “diving aid”, or (b) PADI educational material, either the course book, a video, or a presentation. You must also use a “non-diving aid” like the whiteboard, or an illustrative item (for instance, I used a metal box as an example of something that could either sink or float).

The first presentation went well, although I was criticized somewhat for being long-winded, because I wanted to hit all the points. Despite this, I was given a perfect mark by the instructor, and no less than 4.5 out of 5 by the other two instructors present. The passing grade is 3.5. I started out talking about the movie “Titanic” comparing the buoyancy of the ship at the beginning, compared to the end. To get a perfect mark you must also relate the topic to other parts of the students’ training, continuing education (Peak Performance Buoyancy in this case), and equipment purchases (the advantages of having your own BCD). It is very apparent in PADI instructor training that the instructor has a duty to support his or her dive shop.

The second presentation, from the PADI Advanced Open Water course, discussed when a new inwater buoyancy check should be performed (change of gear, change of environment, after not diving for a while). I used the ballast of an ocean going freighter as my contact. This presentation was about half as long as the first, hitting all the points, and received a perfect grade from 2 of the instructors and a 4.8 from the third. I had high expectations for myself on these, because I’ve given hundreds of presentations in my business career, and relatively speaking these were fairly easy. Some of my classmates didn’t have the benefit of this kind of experience, but took their assignments seriously and did very well.

In about half an hour I’m going back for the lecture on open water evaluations (as we did for confined water yesterday), and we’re heading out to the lake for practice and evaluation at lunchtime. Unfortunately the weather has been really cold this week, and the temperature is -6C (22F) right now, although it is supposed to go up to 1C (34F) today, and be sunny. However it’s overcast at this moment. I’m glad I’m in a dry suit, and I’m trying out some new thermal undergarments from the shop today which I hope will keep me warm. Most affected is usually my feet, which tend to become numb in these temperatures, but I have some thermal socks today that should help.

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1. PADI Assistant Scuba Instructor - Day 2 | boatknees.com - November 23, 2008

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