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Musings on the PADI Instructor Examination June 11, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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One thing that is very apparent when doing the instructor exam is that there are elements that you must include in each component, and there is little value (perhaps even negative value) in including anything else. PADI thoughtfully provides slates to prompt you through the confined and open water briefings and debriefings that give you enough points so that as long as you don’t totally screw up the in water part you can pass the tests.

To get the maximum number of points on the briefing, all you have to do is hit every element. The name of the skill, the objective, the value, the key points (confined water) or the different aspects of conducting the skill in the open water, and the organization of the exercise. In the water you need to remember to use your assistant and maintain contact with him or her. When done, you congratulate, point out the things done well (there’s always something) and point out the mistakes, how to correct them, and why that’s important. Then restate the objective and value. The objective can and should be repeated word for word from the PADI materials so is really free points for just remembering to do it. Remembering is easy because you have the slates.

In mine, I was asked to do two exercises in the open water (unlike the pool, you must be successful in both to pass, there is no make up). One, which was a neutral buoyancy exercise, I interpreted as a hover. It could have just as easily been a fin pivot, which is an easier exercise to manage because control of the student is much easier, when you are on the bottom than floating around. If they overinflate their BC, you can just hold them down and dump their air.

While stating the objective and value might seem rather mechanical, it gives the student a reason to listen and context. I found myself doing the same thing when I had a staff meeting at work to go over the results of our employee survey. “Welcome to the employee survey meeting, the objective of this meeting is the present the results of the employee survey for both our group and the company as a whole, and discuss them with you to develop and action plan. The value of this is that we can use this feedback to make the company a better and more productive place to work”.

After the meeting I closed with the objective and value again. That’s much better than letting the meeting just trail off into nothing.

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