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Going beyond the minimum standards required by your agency

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Ed Jewell, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. Ed Jewell

    Ed Jewell Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Melbourne, FL/Shavertown, PA
    Ok, now that we have all seen the minimum standards required for the PADI open water certification, I want to hear from PADI instructors. Do you strictly adhere to these minimum standards or do you teach beyond them?

    We have seen it said on this bourd many times that it is the instructor that makes the difference and not the agency. So, what do you do differently to make your course stand out from the instructor's down the steet? And if you teach beyond the established standards, do you have to submit the material to PADI for approval? I ask this because I am considering adding the PADI Instructor certification to my PDIC Instructor certification to make me more marketable. I hate to think I will be stuck teaching a cookie-cutter course to my students.

    Your thoughts and opinions will be appreciated.



  2. MNScuba

    MNScuba Manta Ray

    The place I am going through has us pick up our course material two weeks in advance. All the questions need to be filled in prior to coming to the first class. Along with this, the first night is ALL classroom, Saturday is from 9:30am-7:00pm and is both classroom and confined water dives, then Sunday is from 10:00am-5:30pm and is also classroom and confined water dives.

    I'll post more on this after next weekend (that's when I'll be doing the first part).

    In a way, I'm glad this thread started prior to me taking the class so I can monitor what's going on and perhaps request additional attention to certain topics. Any suggestions?
  3. neil

    neil Dive Charter

    I am a NAUI and a PADI instructor, so I think I have a good idea on what's up with this topic.
    Nowhere does PADI say that you can teach ONLY what's in standards. You MAY adapt knowledge and skills to local needs. You can add knowledge and skills if you want, but cannot require that they be needed to pass the course. PADI reminds you constantly that any deviation from standards will make your actions less defensible in a court of law. No surprise there. If a student gets hurt practicing a skill not in the course, you're dead meat unless you can defend your actions.

    Let me give an example: nowhere in the PADI text does it describe signs, symptoms and first aid for air embolisms. My NAUI students would be memorizing them the first night of class AND tested on them. To properly educate the PADI students AND cover my butt, they get the info in the form of a handout, which is suggested that they read and talk about at the next class. I may not test them on it or require that they know it, but at least I make sure the info is there, complete, and in writing so they can learn it.

    The same idea applies for water skills, but you have to be really cautious there.

    While I'm not in the habit of defending PADI, their courses do not need to be as rigid as most PADI instructors think. There IS some degree of flexibility. Not nearly as much as NAUI, but some.

    To answer your original question, "do I teach the minimum standards?" Always. Do I go beyond the required material? Always, to some degree. You just have to work within the system provided.

  4. Drew Sailbum

    Drew Sailbum Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Grand Cayman
    Minimum standards are always covered, and neil gave it to you straight about additional material. I can (and often do) present it, but cannot require it.

    Sometimes additional material is situation dependent. I have had a few lessons for sailing friends of mine, and feel that certain material specific to diving from a sailboat should be covered. I include sections on lifting a diver from the water using the boats boom and rigging (useful for unconcious/injured diver). One buddy had a compressor, and so we covered proper procedures for compressor operation and performing air fills.

    General open water students get a lesson on responding to an unconcious diver on the surface. It makes a good use of surface interval time during the open water check out dives.

    But most often, I simply look for opportunities to introduce added material in such a manner that it doesn't feel scripted. If I can keep it fun, the students will learn more.

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