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To those considering an OW class...

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by loosebits, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. buhund

    buhund Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pflugerville, TX

    Apologies if it appears that I have hijacked this thread. My comments seemed appropriate to the thread at the beginning but it may have gone on too long. Maybe I should have just started a new one.

  2. ehuber

    ehuber Solo Diver

    In graduate school, we were taught to look at the root of the concern and reflect on how it should affect us in our positions as instructors or trainers in any educational setting.

    Looking at the problems and concerns with agency certification methods, it appears the goals and expectations of PADI and regular divers (like you) are largely different. Their goal may not be to produce highly skilled divers, at all, and leave us constantly wondering why their course curriculum is the way it is. Skilled divers with experience would, of course, prefer to see skilled divers given c-cards, but that is not our reality.

    Perhaps they are only trying to produce qualified divers, capable of quickly learning for themselves and given access to dive tables, instructors, feedback, and equipment troubleshooting. Maybe "skilled" is only a hope for some of the top divers in any given class, from the perspective of PADI.

    Maybe they fully appreciate the need to practice, practice, practice and don't expect anyone to be skilled in their first 20 dives, much less the first two or three they make. So better to arm them with learning tools and resources than to attempt (but usually fail) to produce skill in two to four days of diving.

    I'm not sure I agree with it all, but maybe we shouldn't be overly critical of PADI given the nature of the activity and length of time it takes to create skill.
  3. jbichsel

    jbichsel Instructor, Scuba

    What I'm going to say here is not meant as an attack or to criticize but to provide some info you may not have.

    PADI uses the term "mastery" to describe how we as instructors, are to judge student performance of skills.

    If you look at the definition of "mastery" you will most likely come to one of several conclusions:

    1 - Your assessment above of what PADI's intent is in dive training is incorrect;

    2 - PADI takes dive training, skill performance and assesment very seriously;

    3 - PADI is misusing the term "mastery";

    4 - Make your own conclusions.

    PADI has minimum standards that we as instructors are required to meet when we teach and when we evaluate. If "mastery" is not achieved, we are to repeat and/or modify how we are teaching in order to help the student achieve "mastery".

    In my 18 years of diving, I have reached my own conclusions as to the state of required minimum standards, how dive training is and should be done. I have not come to these conclusions in a vacuum and they are continually evolving as I talk to and observe new divers and other instructors, not just PADI instructors.

    In my estimation, minimum requirements as they stand currrently, are not adequate to produce a competant diver IF a given instructor decides to only meet those minimum standards. Understanding that there is a percentage of people out there that do only the minimum, it is my belief that the minimum standards should be raised in order to ensure that a competant diver is the product.

    PADI standards allow me a instructor-to-student ratio of 1:10 in confined water, 1:8 in open water. In my estimation that is far too many new studentdivers for one instructor. My personal ratio is 1:4, maybe 1:5 if it is a family unit.

    I am preparing to start two classes of 12-year olds this weekend, one group of 3, another group of 4. As it stands right now, academic time will be 24-26 hours. Pool time will be 18 hours minimum, three sessions of 6 hours each as a minimum.

    PADI recommends a 31 hour course for a class of 10 students. Divide that up and it equals 3.1 hours per student on a 1:10 ratio.

    I kind of like the 42 (or more) hour, 1:4 ratio I've put together better.

    I take two tanks per person to each pool session. Fun time is also learning time. Starting at Confined Water Dive 1, I start introducing games that get students working on controlling buoyancy and trim (thanks to James Doyle and Walter and others for helping me enhance my cirricula).

    PADI standards do not provide any time or exercises for the fum/practice time after skill assessment. Many instructors I have watched do nothing but sit at the bottom while students bump and bounce along the bottom, struggling to understand buoyancy and trim.

    I have seen instructors from PADI and other agencies that can only bicycle kick and tend to crawl down a rope in a lake and stir up silt.

    Just some FYI.
  4. plot

    plot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kansas City
    this thread is now 70 pages long... i think the same material gets recycled every 5 pages or so.
  5. TeddyDiver

    TeddyDiver Instructor, Scuba

    And I've seen CMAS Instructor to take an entry level diver (with 10 dives under his belt) to 50m/170'.:11:
  6. wjknobles

    wjknobles Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Big Pine Key, FL
    i'll admit i skipped to the end without reading all 70 pages, but all i have to say about the first post is AMEN. short classes create unprepared divers. when i first started i had the chance to go to hawaii right after finishing basic and advanced through a university. i guarantee i probably had less dives at the time than most of the OW divers on the boat, but after the first dive the DM's and such could tell i had taken a university course and how the extra time had been a benefit to my skills.

    so to support the thread ... take the longest class your dive shop is willing to take and do not be afraid to spend the extra money to build your skills. you will thank yourself in the long run.
  7. scubacoots3

    scubacoots3 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Alabama
    more training needed all the time at every chance.
  8. liuk3

    liuk3 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    record for longest thread?!!!
  9. GA Under Water

    GA Under Water Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Marietta, GA
  10. liuk3

    liuk3 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Los Angeles, CA

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