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"Human Error" or "Diver Error": Are they just an easy way of blaming the individual?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by GLOC, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    There are ways to differentiate human error rather than to say it is not human error. Somehow in a kinder gentler world, no one has to have any fault. Maybe I'm just old, taking responsibility for your f'ups didn't mean you were a bad person, you just f'd up, learn from it and carry on.

    The problem with performance based learning is that a "good enough" attitude on the part of an instructor can make a really fast, substandard class. The OW old school class I went through gave time to get all but one up to standard to complete the class, he moved on to the next class to complete. The "extra time" in the class was used to catch up slower students, practice skills, and discuss diving and teach "advanced" diving skills. A longer class does not have to be dull and boring.

    As for "At school, courses took X amount of time and you get a grade at the end of time allotted", because I had been diving for years, I was told that I had to complete the course better than, and be a role model for the other students or I would not be certified. This was a NAUI/PADI class in 1980.

    As an example, I took a class more recently and I did not complete it as well as I should have. I finally had to insist, over the instructors evaluation that it was "good enough", that I needed to repeat the dive. To his credit he did run me through the exercise again and it was completed properly, however if I was another diver I would have believed that the original dive was mastered.

    Kharon likes this.
  2. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    Yeah..... well mastery is pretty well defined in terms of how you are supposed to evaluate a skill. By the time you approve a skill, each skill should be performed fluidly, repeatedly and correctly.

    What you call a "good enough" attitude is what people in education call "decalibration". It's when the teacher starts to approve things that are NOT repeatedly correct and fluid or likewise, when they continue to tell the student that it is not good enough when clearly it is. In the example you mentioned above, it's possible that you performed the skill well enough for standards and you were double-guessing the instructor, or it's possible that the instructor approved it when it was not good enough.

    This kind of thing becomes tricky when you're evaluating things like hovering and neutral buoyancy because clearly these skills will continue to improve beyond the OW level so at some point the instructor has to say, "it's good enough for this level". This is where you get on a slippery slope because if the instructor sees a LOT of OW students whose buoyancy control is very bad, then they will, fairly quickly in fact, start to think that "very bad" is the norm for that level. This is why it is so important for instructors to see what other divers believe is "good enough" for an OW diver.

    I'll give the example of my daughter again. When we were diving together in Italy we went out on a zodiac with a club. There was an instructor present and he was guiding. When we all went in the water and descended, there was a lot of chaos happening. All of the Italian divers went straight and rapidly to the bottom and only at that point started to do something akin to a buddy check, helping each other with un-f-ing their gear. I descended with my daughter and hovered nearby waiting for them. When the dive finally got underway, the instructor came repeatedly to my daughter and dragged her down to the bottom and told her to stay on the bottom. Naturally, when he let her go again, she came back to swim beside me because that's her proper position as my buddy and she knows it. This happened a number of times to my increasing amusement until my daughter started looking irritated about it so I intervened and told the instructor to leave her alone and I would watch her myself..... After the dive my daughter said to me that at first she thought they were having an accident but then she realized that this is just the way they dive!

    This scene can be explained by what I was saying above. The Italian instructor was so unaccustomed to seeing a newbie diver who could maintain neutral buoyancy at 6 feet off the bottom that he genuinely thought she was doing it wrong. In other words, it is possible for an instructor to become so "decalibrated" that even when they see things that are correct, they think it is incorrect.

    Bob DBF and GLOC like this.

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