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What would your ideal training agency look like?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by ScubaWithTurk, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    61,693
    30,108
    As long as instructors are human, there will never be a perfect agency. The instructor is both the best and worst part of any agency. Fixing agencies won't fix instructors.
     
    Bob DBF and AfterDark like this.
  2. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Working toward Cenotes ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    2,131
    1,329
    Fixing eLearning might push instructors the way you want. That is the part the agency has best and cheapest control over.

    If the eLearning gives a very neutral buoyant, in trim, properly weighted version of diving, with detailed diagrams and steps of training, and diver expectations, in video. It seems difficult for the instructor to not teach that version. If the student doesn't get that version, the staff get feedback, or the students got what they wanted anyway (walking around clumsily underwater).

    So my ideal agency would have eLearning videos of the type of neutral buoyant training we have seen examples of on the board. My expectation is that instructors in that agency would be more likely to teach that way. And more often achieve divers that dive that way. And more likely have instructors able to teach good dive skill classes beyond the OW/AOW/Rescue list.

    Now, this has implications. The main lecture and initial skill demonstrations (a core instructor role) are now from the national instructor(s) in the videos. The on site instructor is repeating the demonstration, ensuring safety for higher risk moments (a core instructor role), providing feedback to the student, correction, and diagnosing issues/fears/concerns. Adding personalized or additional value beyond the main skill (something DM/AIs do), and certifying its achievement (a core instructor role).
     
  3. ScubaWithTurk

    ScubaWithTurk Bubble Blowing Buddha

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Huntington Beach, CA
    1,031
    1,011
    I do not believe, based on my experience, that dive count has anything to do with the skill level of a diver. As others have said, some with 1000 dives still scull and I have seen divers with as little as 50 dives that looked like they were highly trained tech divers.

    Does there need to be a dive count to enter a course? Yes I think there needs to be something but I believe a dive count and in-water evaluation combined is the key.

    “You meet the dive requirements but prior to starting the DMC or IDC, you will need to take a workshop to improve (insert skill or skills)”

    I fully believe that this is the best way to create highly skilled DMs and Instructors and not pander to the LCD (lowest common denominator)

    No but an agency can make better instructors. Also I never mentioned a “perfect agency” as nothing is perfect. I said your ideal agency. One you could build from the ground up.

    I would think you would have a lot to contribute in this thread. I have a hard time believing that you don’t have ideas for creating a better agency other than the defeatist idea that because we are human, we can’t create a better agency.
     
    NothingClever and Diving Dubai like this.
  4. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    3,737
    4,036
    One way, is as I have mentioned before to ensure that each additional tier of training, builds upon the foundation skills of the previous tier, with ever increasing standards required

    Also have a minimum dive count required between each course, say between OW and AoW (in PADI terms) the student must have completed at least say, 200 mins underwater (5 x 40 min dives). havign made dives below 10m. All to be verified in a logbook/dive record which will be signed off.. And you follow it on between courses

    For DM entry, not only will there be a minimum time underwater, minimum time since originally certified, but the diver would have to show a proven record of X amount of different types of diving and depth. For instance they have to show that they've made a number of dives in say 4 categories out of 8 (arbitrary numbers)

    You can weight it such as if diver chooses the DS in cold water diving category they would only have to show 10 dives, but say warm reef then 20 in that category

    Being eligible to enter the DM program should be aspirational and require the diver to put some effort in before hand to gain experience and improve skills (rather than expect it to be taught on that course)

    However the requirements should be such that they are attainable to the average diver (putting some effort in)

    For Instructors: The current method of attending IDC then passing IE, for the most part doesn't give them the tools. I'm sure every instructor was full of fear and self doubt the first time they taught an OW class solo. Every instructor knows there's a huge jump between teaching role playing divers in IDC/IE and real students

    So in Passing IE - you become a "Provisional" instructor then need to teach say 5 separate classes under direct/indirect supervision before being fully fledged. So the instructor gets support for the first classes, and is audited on their teaching skills and given feedback and assistance.

    The Next level up (MSDT in PADI) is a good idea, being able to teach 5 specialties and have cert-ed 25 divers) Thus by the time you get to this you do have a clue about teaching

    But its open to abuse ( lots of Caribbean and SE Asia Centres allow instructors to pay a bit extra, stay on for 10 days, and jump in the water with a group on their certification dive and grab the certs without ever have having taught a course solo. So perhaps 6 months or so post being fully fledged as an additional requirement

    Again there needs to be a balance between the effort and time require to get to each level so that a Part time instructor can progress to a certain level, and it is achievable within a realistic time frame with a certain amount of effort.

    After that of course, and rightly the only way you can reach the upper levels of teaching status is to be working and teaching full time.
     
    Graeme Fraser likes this.
  5. Graeme Fraser

    Graeme Fraser Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Narnia
    927
    1,611
    I like your thoughts on a brand new instructor initially being in 'provisional' status. Our DC (and I'm sure many others) always get new instructors to team teach with a senior instructor for a number of classes post IE. By the time they're happy and prepared to fly solo, the senior instructor is basically just acting as a DM.

    One more defined step I'd like to see is the jump between DM and Instructor. I've seen quite a few DM's qualify on the Friday and start their IDC on the Saturday. I believe this cheapens the role of DM and doesn't give a would be instructor enough real-time experience of working with students or newly qualified divers. Ideally DM's could earn 'assist certs' and only meet the prerequisite for IDC after achieving X certs, a bit like going from OWSI to MSDT.
     
    ScubaWithTurk and Diving Dubai like this.
  6. ScubaWithTurk

    ScubaWithTurk Bubble Blowing Buddha

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Huntington Beach, CA
    1,031
    1,011
    I was told I would be able to team teach after the IE. Then when I got my first student, an AOW course, I was told they did not have the bodies to spare and I learned what I needed to know in the IDC so it was time for me to put it to use.

    I hated that and it has made me uncomfortable when teaching certain courses. I feel I teach a great sidemount and advanced course but can do MUCH better teaching the OWC.

    I believe there are some great ideas here and am learning a lot from this discussion.
     
  7. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    3,737
    4,036
    Oh I hear you.

    Actually they were right, you had been taught what you needed to know. What you didn't have was experience and confidence in yoru abilities, and some of those abilities needed refinement from further experience.

    As an example;

    My first teaching was solo, a Scuba diver to OW uplift, the diver had been out of the water for a while so we started at CW1 as a refresher. The Student had been taught and was a close friend of one of the Instructors I respected and looked up to, so being allowed to teach their friend was a show of trust in me.

    All the CW work went okay, we were covering old ground for the student, and it gave me confidence and faith in myself.

    Come OW my Instructor friend accompanied me, thankfully. Nothing went wrong, but it was a new challenge, managing a student in OW, carrying out the skills NB and just requiring that extra bandwidth of carrying out the lesson ensuring we hit all teh points and standards, being safe etc etc.

    The most stressful dive ever!

    I was given lots of constructive feedback, post dives. Even now I won't take more than 4 students in OW - even with a DM. I don't have the bandwidth to manage it all in 3 dimensions (no knees ever).

    So while we were all taught what we need to know, we do need time to gain confidence with the assistance of others

    While we're under probation or whatever we shouldn't' earn certs (stopping the MSDT factories)
     
  8. Graeme Fraser

    Graeme Fraser Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Narnia
    927
    1,611
    Yes, AOW and Rescue are a good example of when team teaching is really helpful. OK, theoretically you know the structure, skills and standards, but how do you put it all together into an interesting and informative package taking into consideration local logistics and environment.

    Each instructor has their own tricks of the trade, so why reinvent the wheel. Just cherry pick the bits you like and gradually introduce your own little gems. I learned so much from our senior instructors when I first qualified and now have the opportunity to pass that knowledge on to new instructors.
     
    ScubaWithTurk and Diving Dubai like this.
  9. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    3,737
    4,036
    Couldn't agree more, I try to dissuade people from going direct from DM to Instructor without havign a period of consolidation - if anything guiding, divers allows then to "practice" control etc on certified divers


    My own personal horror story, was when I was actively heading toward Tech Deep instructor. I had more than enough actual experience for course entry, and was thinking about taking the course somewhere different and exotic and thus sought out after much research a reputable instructor who happened to be in the Caribbean

    After the usual emails, about experience etc, they hit my with something that shocked me. While I was there they'd happy include the Tec Trimix Instructor cert, after all I'd only need 10 (additional) dives to my existing log on Trimix below 50m to gain that cert.

    Seriously - Not even a Tec instructor, never ever breathed Tri mix, and they were going to roll all the required courses together in a package discount and behold 7 - 10 days later OWSI becomes Tech Trimix instructor allowing me to teach people to 90m

    I mean WTF! Yes technically its possible, and within standards (perhaps the letter but not sure about the intent) And its certainly not morally right

    I didn't do it, indeed I still haven't bothered to take Tech Deep Inst as that experience put me right off

    This is why the certification criteria need to be the entrance criteria (you can't start the course unless you've got the required dives and experience for cert - not allowing people to enter then then going away to get the dives before sending the cert away)and there need to be an enforced period of consolidation between course, for divers and instructors alike.


    Self cert should be banned too
     
    rjack321 likes this.
  10. Graeme Fraser

    Graeme Fraser Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Narnia
    927
    1,611
    :eek: that's quite a leap! Fortunately you had the moral compass to realise that wasn't sensible, but there are plenty would be tempted to go for it.

    Post certification, I probably ran 3 tech courses before I truly felt confident and fluent teaching tech, and that was only to 50m, with a certified assistant and only one student!

    Yep, mandatory consolidation and experience at each pro level would definitely be on my agency wishlist.
     

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