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Teaching contradictions: differing dive training philosophies

Discussion in 'Scuba Certification Agency Q&A' started by The Chairman, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
    2,772
    I'm not arguing against the teaching of the basic skills, rather I'm pointing out the loss of the integrative exercises. At base the skills must be taught, at least to the level of competence. I am suggesting, however, that without the integrative exercises added to that basic skill instruction the product that we are all looking for, a reasonably safe (ugh) diver possessing the excess capacity to be able to learn on his or her own, will not be produced.
     
    -hh likes this.
  2. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    27,201
    20,419
    I fully agree.

    ---------- Post added January 5th, 2013 at 04:45 PM ----------

    When I started my technical diving instruction, the instructor I had was quite firm in his belief that divers should not touch the bottom during pool training. We had to do all skills in horizontal trim. My classmates and I, who had never had any such training, struggled with a couple of the skills, especially the valve drill. We were supposed to do it while staying in the same place, not going up down, forward, backward, etc. It was really difficult--we would move across the entire pool while we worked the valves on our doubles. We couldn't stop it, because we had not mastered that level of buoyancy and (especially) the kicking technique needed to maintain position.

    So one day I went into the pool while the instructor was not there and practiced. I worked on three different skills at three different times. I worked on good buoyancy control and trim. I worked on finning technique. And I lay down lightly on the floor of the pool and did the valve drill over and over again so that I could do it without having to worry simultaneously about everything else I was learning. Once I had each one of those skills down much better, I found I was able to put them all together and accomplish my goal.

    Guess what? My original instructor now introduces those skills that way. Students seem to learn a whole lot faster, he finds.
     
  3. diverrex

    diverrex Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: LA - North Hollywood
    1,799
    375
    For me the best part of my confined class was my second pool session when the instructor said to just swim around the pool in circles and get comfortable. After having had a first pool session of nothing but skill after skill I thought I was missing something by not doing more skills. But after having difficulty with mask clearing doing it as a single skill now I was just doing it naturally as I swam around. Just letting me swim in circle as I practiced buoyancy and other skills was the best part of my confined training.
     
  4. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
    2,772
    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that part of that success stemmed from previsualization of the entire exercise while performing the individual steps. That's a pretty valuable and effective tool too.
     
  5. randytay

    randytay Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: USA
    585
    108
    Let me play the devil's advocate. Personally I don't think CESA is a safe thing to teach due to many things I have seen over the course of my diving career.

    Sure it is a tool for self rescue. However because of this "tool", many divers I know, especially the old timers (think 3 digit NAUI number) will try to breathe every last bit of air in their cylinder before surfacing so as not to waste air. We had conversations about it and their response is always "I can always do a CESA".

    Imho, the existence of CESA has evolved into a tool of building other bad and unsafe habits. Teaching proper gas management strategy like UTD's rock bottom is a better alternative and is not an equipment solution to a skill problem. The argument that "recreational divers hardly follow any buddy protocols" is a weak one. If new divers are consistently separated, whose fault is that? Wouldn't it be better to teach a solid buddy awareness and follow lost buddy protocol immediately upon separation a better option than CESA? The solo diver course was needed because most good divers I know cannot trust the buddies they are with. Maybe instructors should step up to the plate and teach being a good buddy.

    In short, if there is a good gas plan and a good buddy system (which should be heavily emphasized to begin with), CESA should be a relic.
     
  6. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    27,201
    20,419
    This keeps coming up again and again and again.

    Why is it that you think that teaching CESA prevents you from teaching gas management and the buddy system? It is possible to teach gas management and the buddy system and then go on and teach CESA so that students will know what to do if the unthinkable happens. You can teach both. It has been done.
     
    BDSC and Hawkwood like this.
  7. randytay

    randytay Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: USA
    585
    108
    Yes it can be done, the questions are

    1. Is it necessary?

    2. More importantly, is it safe or will it leads to unsafe habits due to the "confidence" derived?


    i can teach students on their knees in addition to hover too but is the former necessary? If the unthinkable happens, nothing you do matters because the "unthinkable happens". To me, the "unthinkable" means the worst case scenario, and worse case scenario = drowned. It doesn't get worse than that, does it?

    on the contrary, if you asked "well what would you do in a second worse scenario?" Then my answer will be which one? Buddy separation or OOA? If it is the latter (obviously), then you did not do any gas management planning or pre-dive check. In this case, you air share.

    well what if I lost my buddy AND OOA? Then I shouldn't be diving in the first place. In this case, the instructor did not do the job properly.

    anyway you cut it, CESA does more long term hard despite of the short term good.

    ---------- Post added January 7th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ----------

    I feel that many instructors have the following mentality:

    "well, 99.99% of divers will not follow safety protocol A, so lets teach them skill B to resolve that issue."

    Why? What if skill B eventually contributes to lack of safety protocol? Is the skill still a necessary skill?

    why do we have to teach a new solution to a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place?
     
  8. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    27,201
    20,419
    I do realize that a couple agencies do hold this point of view.

    So what do you tell your students? "If you lose your buddy and go out of air, then what you should do at that moment is realize that you should not have been diving in the first place and that I did not do my job properly. Then you should simply accept death as a just punishment for our incompetence, because I refuse to teach you the simple alternative that would save you."
     
  9. diverrex

    diverrex Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: LA - North Hollywood
    1,799
    375
    I almost always finish dives with 1,000 - 1,500 PSI. I don't think I've ever completed any out of 400 with less than 500 PSI. That's the way I plan to dive. I am still glad I was taught CESA. I really don't expect I'll ever have to use it but I'm glad I've practiced it, know to breathe out, and know that I don't have to rush to the surface. Knowing that doesn't cause me to adopt unsafe diving practices.
     
  10. randytay

    randytay Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: USA
    585
    108
    Now you are playing with semantics. But i'll play along and IDIOT proof what I wrote. I tell my students "avoid the problem altogether, and here's how you do it by planning rock bottom on EVERY DIVE, do not violate your rock bottom. Always have buddy awareness and follow lost buddy protocol. You can waste air but not your life. You can always dive another day by aborting your dive EARLY. If you can do this, you NEVER have to do CESA because it was a skill to resolve a non-existent problem created by incompetent instructors that promote bad and unsafe habits. If you choose not to and hence being in a situation where you are OOG in a lost buddy scenario, then you should not be diving."

    seriously, please do not argue for the sake of arguing here. You know what I meant but if you deliberately ignore it, then I will have to IDIOT proof it. And you know it does more damage to you than I.

    ---------- Post added January 7th, 2013 at 02:09 PM ----------

    In summary, I teach my students to prevent themselves to be in a situation to use CESA, using the law of primacy to help retain that simple solution. Or I can tell me students subconsciously that they can dive aggressively because they have CESA to fall back on, since everyone says "hey, it's ok!"
     
    mselenaous likes this.

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