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Teaching it Neutral Style... a paradigm shift in Scuba instruction

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by The Chairman, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    I knew that too. Thanks for bringing it up.
  2. Dirty-Dog

    Dirty-Dog Frequently Censored ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Pueblo West, CO, USA
    This confuses me. DIR, as I understand it, is simply a philosophy of diving that encourages fundamental skills, teamwork, and streamlined, minimalist gear. This philosophy can and has been interpreted and implemented in a variety of ways by different orgs, but the philosophy remains the same.

    Do you carry unnecessary gear? Do you leave bits dangling? Do you not agree with the concept of teamwork?
    I know you stress fundamental skills...

    So in what way are you NOT adopting the DIR philosophy?
  3. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    My one question is. You teach out of Key Largo. The worst viz I have ever seen in Key Largo in over a 100 dives there would be considered good to excellent viz in many a quarry north of there, at least part of the year. It would seem to me that to maintain control in 2 ft or less of viz with students neutral you would need to restrict yourself to 1 student.

    Not saying that is not a good idea anyway, just that for folks who are doing 3-4 students on the OW check out dives they may feel a need to keep the divers anchored in one spot in some conditions.
  4. CuracaoJ

    CuracaoJ Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Curacao
    IMO if conditions/vis require you to overweight and anchor students to maintain control and safety issues, then you should only be checking out one student at a time to begin with. An instructors paramount responsibility is student safety and shouldn't be skirted.
  5. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    I agree completely. And I was trained 1 on 1 as an OW student. Just observing that it may be a case where safety may be trumping training in some folks minds under pressure of getting numbers through.
  6. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    Thankfully the agency I belong to says I can exceed their standards. You'll have neutral buoyancy in my class or you won't have a card with my name on it. Pretty simple to me. But how many instructors do you know that don't have neutral buoyancy. Off the top of my head, I can come up with 8-10 just in Florida. If the instructor hasn't mastered it, how can you expect their student to master it by the end of that class.
    Searcaigh likes this.
  7. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    NetDoc, Good thread. I have pondered the neutrality issue the last couple of years. I have assisted about 4-5 instructors in that time and of course witnessed the new emphasis on neutrality by PADI. I think it is an improvement which goes hand in hand with the new required "mini dive" to wrap up the checkout dives (you know, the students plan their own dive in every aspect with a pro only following for safety). Compared to the OW course I took on my knees 10 years ago, and the PADI ones I assisted with before the change, I would say these new divers are better equipped to start diving on their own with pretty decent buoyancy. I do think the question of number of students in the ocean and visibility are legitimate concerns. A group of 8 students practising hovering in 12' viz while an instructor is checking off one on a skill may not always be the best thing going (though viz probably isn't a problem in the pool, though ours can get pretty fuzzy at times...). Yes, smaller classes would solve that, but the reality is that won't always happen. Once our courses hit 10 we have two CIs (and the course gets split into two after 12), but you just don't know the viz ahead of time when you head to the ocean. It's not a popular view now, but I would guess an awful lot of us learned the skills on the bottom and we turned out OK (I think). It maybe took me a handful of dives to get really comfortable, but I dived regularly from the start. I can imagine a non-neutrally trained diver who then doesn't dive for 6 months or does the "vacation diver" thing would have way more difficulty enjoying diving than one who completed your course.
    The Chairman and Steve_C like this.
  8. mrfixitchapman

    mrfixitchapman Great White

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Upper right-hand corner of Iowa, equally inconveni
    Satisfied customer here. NetDoc and Mselenaous were instructors for my newest dive buddy, my granddaughter. This was a referral, with the pool and classroom work done in Minnesota. Granddaughter had to work for it, but we were all determined that she would not be the cute girl on the boat who could not dive without help. I have a couple decades of dive experience and pretty good buoyancy control. I have dived with any and all matter of dive buddies. After NetDoc's sessions, granddaughter had exactly zero trouble handling her first unsupervised ocean dives. Our dives were off Key Largo, mostly, with wildly varying weather, light, surge and current conditions. (That'll happen in January). NetDoc no doubt had to unlearn some of granddaughter's habits that she earned in the pool sessions, and it was extra work for her, too. Worth it.

    My 2 psi.

    mselenaous likes this.
  9. ElGaucho

    ElGaucho PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Mexico City
    Ive been teaching fully neutral for 3 years now. I can't stress how good the results have been. Im just wrapping up a new OW class next week, and I can tell you that the two students are doing just fine and much better than any "bolted" student would be making by now.

    Just the other day while I demonstrated equipment removal and replacement in midwater, as I was doing the demo I was thinking "and to think most instructors couldn't do this as a demo, what a disservice to their students"
    The Chairman likes this.
  10. freewillie

    freewillie Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: SoCal Beach Cities
    The art of teaching is to try an impart a body of knowledge to beginners. The really good teachers are patient and able to convey even complicated material in a simple yet easy to understand format. Average to poor teachers simply repeat materials, go through the motions, and hope some people get a portion of the material.

    Pete hit on the single biggest factor in teaching it neutral, it depends on the intructor. Some slightly unorthodox methods of teaching but bottom line is the students get a basic understanding of diving skills. Pete takes the extra time needed to get his students to feels what the sensation of neutral buoyancy feels like. But I did a formal weight check on my first OW dive class. Even though my weights did not change when I did peak performance buoyancy class it was until after that class I had a better understanding of my buoyancy. I also feel that simply getting in the extra dives and gaining experience was the main reason I started feeling more comfortable.

    PADI tends to get a bad rap here because of their the modular system of instruction. But some instructors may simply be lazy. Overweight the students to sit on the bottom. Go through the motions of performing the basic skills. Certify the stupidest then hope they don't drown later. If the student doesn't speak up to say "I still don't feel comfortable ...."then that student leaves the class feeling insecure. It's good for Scubaboard because they come here and ask, "should I dive with a divemaster ...."

    But in all fairness to PADI it was more the instructor than the system. As a PADI certified diver my instructor was great. While a little apprehensive about diving on my own the first time once I relaxed and went through my training I realized I was actually diving with a dive group and holding my own.

    Come to think of it, probably the most revolutionary part of Pete's class compared to PADI is no snorkel. What would PADI say about diving without that essential piece of life support equipment?!!

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