Instructor Training


You can’t make up sh*t like this…

Medical formLast week I posted an article on the bitter realities of risk management for dive instructors. A large part of that article was devoted to paperwork and, in particular, the vital importance of getting students to complete the Medical History form accurately and honestly. Shortly afterward. an instructor from — well, we’ll just say “somewhere out west” — contacted me with a story of stupidity so unbelievable it boggles the mind.

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Break these four bad habits before they start

No bad habitsMost dive instructors would agree that it is far harder to break bad habits than it is to never allow those habits to form in the first place. It’s why we are so adamant about students not putting masks on foreheads or leaving tanks standing upright unattended. Yet, despite this, most instructors allow students to form four of the worst possible habits just by continuing to teach “the way we’ve always done it.” Some divers manage to break these habits with time; many never do.

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Certification redefined

C-cardDoes this sound familiar? “The Open Water Diver course is designed to prepare students to plan and make no-decompression dives with a qualified buddy — independent of supervision — in conditions similar to those in which they were trained.” Odds are this statement, or one very much like it, will be the first paragraph that appears in your Instructor Manual under Open Water Diver Course. And I’m here to tell you it’s bullshit.

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The most counterproductive word in diver training

Don'tThe most counterproductive word in diver training is the one instructors use to justify not making learning to dive more realistic, more relevant and more effective. That word is should — along with its siblings should not and shouldn’t. These words have done more to stifle meaningful change in diver training than any others in the English language. What do we mean by this? Here is an example.

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Diver Training and the Five Monkeys

MonkeyThere’s a popular video entitled The Five Monkeys which helps explain why so many people do things that are completely unnecessary, while having no idea why. Although not based on an actual experiment, the underlying concept has been validated by other studies. The “Five Monkeys” concept applies to diver training as well. I continue to see instructors and training agencies teach skills or require equipment items that are either completely unnecessary, or which should have been superseded long ago by updated procedures.
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