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Following standards?

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by grazie42, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. grazie42

    grazie42 Divemaster Candidate

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    There´s another thread on the board that got me thinking...

    I´m doing my DM right now (PADI if it matters).
    There are some standards that I have routinely violated in the past. Before I started my training I decided that I would follow the standards of my agency as closely as I am able.

    Before the first theory session was over my instructor had detailed a variety of ways in which he routinely violates standards. It is not that I disagree with his rationale for doing so and I belive that his violations improve the quality of instruction for both his regular students and us DM-candidates but they are still standards-violations.

    How do you feel about the standards of your agency? Do you feel obliged to follow them? Do you?
     
  2. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

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    To cover your own butt, you should never violate standards.

    If you have to violate standards to improve the course, there's a problem with the standards and I wouldn't follow them. I also wouldn't violate them. I'd find an agency with standards that allowed me to teach the way I believe the class should be taught and I'd get certified to teach with that agency instead. Violating standards is a very bad idea for many reasons. Not only are you setting yourself up for problems if something goes wrong, but you are also violating your integrity and displaying a lack of ethics. Of course, by agreeing to follow standards you believe are inadequate to the task of teaching properly, there is yet another major ethics problem.

    If you can't follow standards with a clear conscience, go with another agency.
     
  3. Warren_L

    Warren_L Instructor, Scuba

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    You are leaving yourself open to liability any time you violate agency standards. I would suggest that if you have specific issues with any PADI standards that you discuss the issues directly with PADI for clarification rather than to violate those standards in the belief that you are doing good - there may be issues or concerns you may not have thought about. In the end, if you still are not satisfied, then as Walter suggests, finding another agency that is more aligned with your training philosophies would be the best course of action.
     
  4. SDAnderson

    SDAnderson Dive Charter

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    If it's BLUE, it's true, at least until the class is over.

    I don't violate agency standards when I'm working...what I do when I'm diving on my own is sometimes another story. I have no problem telling students that I don't dive with a snorkel and that I use my BCD to control my buoyancy even when I'm wearing a drysuit, but I make sure that everyone does it the PADI way while training. As far as procedural standards go, cutting corners on things like releases and skills sequencing strikes me as nuts.
     
  5. Karibelle

    Karibelle IDC Staff Instructor

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    I worked - briefly - with an instructor who also "routinely violates standards." His rationale was that if anything ever went wrong, he had 30 years of experience to back him up. That is, he felt that his way was better, and that his experience would support that idea "in the unlikely event" an accident happened. I tried, in vain, to get him to a) explain how I could do things the way he wanted them done while meeting standards, and b) understand that while his experience may back *him* up in court, it would not back me up.

    We did not manage to reach agreement on either of a) or b). That is why our association was brief.

    I feel that my agency's standards are there for a reason. I follow them to the letter (as I understand them). There are some of the standards with which I disagree, and in those instances, I discuss them with the agency. I have also found the agency helpful in interpreting standards; it is okay to call and say "how would YOU do this within standards?"

    Do I feel obliged to follow them? Of course. I signed an agreement that said I would. I know there are some here who will disagree with this next statement, but I believe that agency standards are in place to protect me. If I follow the standards and something goes wrong, my responsibility is to have followed the standards. The agency is in place to defend its standards - defending the standard is not my job, it is the agency's job.

    As for standards violations that improve the quality of training, I think that is a slippery slope. Perhaps a greater understanding of the standards in question would help. Who is qualified to decide what is better? Is it the guy who told me "I've been an instructor for 30 years, and I've never had an accident"? Maybe. Maybe not. I was shiny new when we had our falling-out, and fwiw, I disagreed vehemently with his "revisions" - and not having had an accident in 30 years of teaching may just boil down to good luck, IMO.

    Whatever you decide, remember that each day, you are the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror. I ask myself "How would the person I'd like to be do the thing I'm about to do?"

    kari
     
  6. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

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    If you aren't working with a class, you can't violate standards. They only apply to classes of the particular agency.

    You are correct, in the event of an accident, you would likely be hanging.

    It would be wonderful if they weren't written in code.

    I agree with most of it. If the standards weren't written in code, I'd agree with it all. The standards are there to protect the agency. If you can be covered as well, they're ok with that. If not, I think they're ok with that too.

    Agreed. If standards prevent you from teaching a quality class, there are other agencies with different standards. Switch agencies.

    It could be either case. In general, I think those particular standards need serious revision to make them workable, but without knowing what he was changing, it's impossible to tell. In either case, the answer is not to pretent to hold to one set of ideals when sneaking around. You can either teach to the published standards with a clear conscience or you can't. If you can't, you need to disassociate yourself from them officially. I can't respect the "violate because it's better" attitude.
     
  7. neil

    neil Dive Charter

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    It might matter. In my experience, many PADI instructors don't really know or understand what the standards are, because, as Walter says, it's in code. I'd venture to say that SOME of what your instuctor thinks are standards violations may in fact NOT be. Give us some examples and maybe it would help to discuss specifics.
     
  8. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

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    What do you understand the word "mastery" to mean?
     
  9. grazie42

    grazie42 Divemaster Candidate

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    One specific thing was doing fin-pivots (I think that´s the english term) in CW1. His reason being that bouyancy control is one of the most important aspects of good/fun diving (duh!). It is my (limited) understanding that you´re not allowed to change the sequence in which the skills are introduced.

    I think I remember something about introducing additional skills being ok though so maybe just calling it something else and doing it slightly different would be ok?
     
  10. Karibelle

    Karibelle IDC Staff Instructor

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    :) Yes. A good example is "is a divemaster able to demonstrate skills in the pool?" You can find differing views in different parts of different manuals. A call to the agency yields little clarity. In these instances, I think a call to the agency, documented and dated, is imperative. An email is even better. Then take what information was given, think like a Reasonably Prudent Scuba Instructor, and go from there.

    I agree completely. I would further submit that it is the responsibility of members of the organization, when the standards are seen to be inappropriate, to try and change things from within that organization.

    kari
     

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