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The 20 Skills Broken Down

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by lishen, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
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    Sorry if I was not clear, that was not my question, what I was saying was that the skill level displayed on the video was inadequate to ...
    It's rare when compared to the millions of sports divers, but when you work and live in the community it seems pretty common place.
    Yup.
    You use a snorkel so that you can keep your eyes underwater. A good, large bore, no do-dad snorkel does not add much dead space.
    The scientific diving community, esp. those subscribing to the Scripps Model.
    Quite correct, thanks Tom
     
  2. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

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    I do not teach the way Thalassamania does, but I greatly respect his knowledge and ability. We agree much more often than we disagree. When we disagree, I look long and hard at what I'm doing and why. I honestly believe if I could watch him teach (or better yet actually take his class), I would be a much better instructor as a result.

    As for the charge of being out of touch with the learning system of today, that's simply not true. There are several learning systems in use today. We've all seen the one you seem to like. A few of us have rejected it for several reasons. It's ineffective in producing competent, safe divers. It is harder for both the student and the instructor. The longer class with more skills is actually easier for the students to complete. As an added bonus, they are much better divers after they are certified. What is your goal? Is it to get as many people through a class as fast as possible? If that's the case, the "the learning system of today" is the way to go. If it's to produce comfortable, competent divers, listen to Thal.

    As for training SEALs, not once in any of Thal's posts did he mention anything about hand to hand combat, explosives, infiltration, small arms or any other military topic. Those types of comments add nothing to any discussion, they are a cheap attempt at character assassination.

    I've resisted reading this thread until now because the title is silly. Which 20 skills? There are more than 20 critical skills without even counting those done out of the water.
     
  3. b1gcountry

    b1gcountry Divemaster

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    If that's covered in his classes, I'd take the flight to hawaii :)

    Tom
     
  4. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
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    The problem is that once something has become a traditional mode of operation, people are reluctant to consider alternatives. The reason for the kneeling is a good one--start students in increments they can handle rather than task loading them all at once. When people suggest there is a different way of accomplishing the same goal, they have trouble imagining it.

    Because of discussions on this topic in the Instructor to Instructor forum, I have over the past months gradually been doing away with the kneeling practice in my own instruction, experimenting with different ways of dong the required skills to eliminate the planted on the bottom techniques. Just the other day I finished a pair of students in the latest version of my experimentation.
    • In CW 1, the students did have contact with the bottom of the shallow end of the pool, but all skills were done while buoyant in a fin pivot type of position.
    • In CW 3 and CW 4, students emptied their BCDs in order to initiate the fin pivot and the hover. (I am still thinking through those.)
    • All other skills, including no mask swim/mask replacement, weight belt removal/replacement, and scuba unit removal/replacement, were done while neutral.

    My experimentation showed me that not only did this not increase the task loading, it decreased it. Students learned critical skills faster and more easily. It is counter intuitive, but given more time to explain, I can show you why it is true.

    I work in a shop with about a dozen experienced instructors, and I did my experimentation over time on my own. When I got near the point described above, I told the Course Director what I was doing, and he was very interested and very positive. He himself had been doing most of the traditional "planted on the bottom" skills while buoyant, and he was quite encouraging of my continued experimentation. When I described the class above two days ago, he thought it was great. Right now, the plan is for me to make a presentation to the rest of the instructors in our next group meeting.

    I have recently talked about it with two other instructors. I described it to one of our most experienced instructors, and he was very leery when I did. He was in the shop when I did my last CW 1, and I invited him to drop in and watch from time to time. He did, and he was immediately converted. He saw how very much easier it is, just for one example, to do the regulator recovery skills while in that position rather than kneeling. The second instructor had a similar revelation.

    I encourage all instructors to give this some thought--in time we may have a new paradigm.
     
  5. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
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    Bravo John, bravo!

    You have demonstrated the openmidedness and thoughtful approach than can actually result in not just significant change in instructional approaches that that in time could spur a reunion (at least in spirit) between currently highly alienated schools of thought. Your post should be made a sticky, I sincerely hope that we will be able to look back on it as one of those instants that everything changed.

    This so gives the lie to the idea that these discussions never change anyone's mind mind and change any thing.

    Thank you.
     
  6. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

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    John, I'm very happy to hear this. You're going to be very happy with your results! Good for you!

    I once taught students to kneel as well. We would kneel in the pool and we'd kneel in the sand during checkout dives. It's the way I learned and I never considered that there was another way. Once I was introduced to the concept, I tried it in my next class. I've never looked back.
     
  7. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
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    Thank you John for this post. I learned to dive on my knees and thanks to scubaboard and my tech instructor/YMCA instructor trainer got broken of that nasty habit. As a result I have never taught students that kneeling was ok. I've done it on try scuba's just to get people who are very nervous down but the last three I've done I found that they are less nervous and more relaxed when I have them lay flat out on the water and release air from the bc. They are not fighting to keep from falling over due to the unfamiliar weight on their back, they seem to equalize easier, and it has taken me less than 15 minutes with these last three times to have them swimming in midwater with just me having a finger on a dring to keep them under control and feeling safe. During my YMCA instructor internship was where I worked on getting away from the kneeling to do skills. I came from a PADI instructor, who I can honestly say, never demo'd a mask clear or reg retrieval in a horizontal position on the bottom let alone in midwater. I do it from day one on scuba. And your darn right that it is less task loading on students! As a new instructor I love seeing things like this! When experienced instructors do this it verifies and reinforces my belief that I'm doing the right thing. Now if we can just get you to start introducing a doff and don, and bringing an unconscious diver up from depth into your OW class! Welcome to a whole new world, where I'm also sure you will love the results and so will your students when they get out there on their own and see the difference between diving and just being underwater.

    Just a tip for your CW 3 and 4. Here is where you really spend time with them getting their weighting down. If they are properly weighted it will be a snap to do the pivot on breath control. One of my last students was grinning from ear to ear after coming up from one of our checkout dives. I asked her what she was smiling about.Her reply was that when we got to the platform she did what she learned in the pool when she saw she was coming in low.She inhaled a little deeper and exhaled a little slower and just glided over the railing and back down to her previous level. She was so proud that she did not have to touch her inflator. I hear from her hubby that everyone is hearing about it who will listen! This is what comes from teaching them in a horizontal position.
     
  8. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
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    One of the things I learned long ago when I was an education staff developer was that people have a hard time making a change when the change is too abstract for them to grasp. People need to SEE new skills before they can make a change; a description that is too vague does little good.

    If someone were truly in a mind for time wasting, they could sift through all my posts and find that I first mentioned an interest in this concept in reply to something Walter wrote a few years ago. I did nothing then but think about it because I could not really SEE how to do it effectively.

    Then came the thread I mentioned in the Instructor to Instructor forum in which instructors using these techniques described what they did in enough detail for me to finally see it. I tried the ideas I liked best and played around with them, working first in refresher classes with certified divers. I could thus SEE what was happening and tweak my technique. Eventually I started adding them to my OW classes.

    Ironically, that first post indicating interest was met by a cynical response from someone who suggested that I was only agreeing because it was Walter who said it, as if I slavishly followed every thing he said. Similarly, there was a post a few months ago that implied that Thal and I were in agreement on a specific point because our names were both in orange, so we always agreed.

    Folks, I have had more than a few arguments, sometimes quite lively, with both Walter and Thal, both public and private. I agree with much that both say; I disagree with both on other points. Disagreement leads to progress when all sides approach each disagreement with objectivity and a willingness to accept that the opposing side can be right at times, even when they disagree with something you believe with conviction.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.... Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today."
     
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
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    Thanks for the tip, but I have always known this. In that last class I mentioned, the two students were wearing 2.5 mm shorties in the pool. I had 2# on one and 4# on the other. Each was a little overweighted, but not by too much. I am appalled by stories I hear about how overweighted many students are.

    I was once diving in St. Maartin with a very good operator, and on one dive I saw an instructor (whom I had gotten to know during the week) who was supposed to be teaching an AOW student, but they were not doing the skills I would have expected. Later I asked what was up, and she told me that the diver's buoyancy was so horrible that she could not do the AOW skills until she took care of that. By sheer coincidence, I sat next to that diver on the flight home. She told me that in her confined water classes, she and everyone else in the class had worn 20#--and she only weighed 105# herself! I told her I did not see how they could have done the fin pivot and hover with that much weight, and she said they could not--no one could do it, but the instructor eventually gave everyone a pass anyway.

    I believe students are traditionally overweighted because of the need to plant them firmly on their knees to do the basic skills. If you don't need to do that, you can have them properly weighted from the start.
     
  10. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
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    Here's the place were we bring all the buoyancy and trim stuff together our goals are not construction evaluation or training (remember OSHA) but rather buoyancy control, planning and teamwork; on the final exam dive one of the students’ trials is, “the sewer flange.”

    The parts: a 18 inch PVC sewer flange with gasket, eight 3/4” bolts, eight 3/4” nuts, sixteen flat washers to fit, eight lock washers to fit, a mesh bag, two large adjustable wrenches, two net floats, and some net twine.

    The set up: Each flange half is tied to a ten foot piece of net twine with a net float at the other end. They are taken out over a flat bottom in 30 feet of water. Students are handed a net bag with the gasket, all the nuts, bolts washers and wrenches when they arrive in the area of the float. They were permitted to examine the flange in class and may bring their own tools if they’d rather.

    The problem: A buddy pair of students must approach the flange underwater and assemble the flange, with the gasket in place, by placing a flat washer on a bolt, inserting the bolt through an appropriate hole in the flange, then placing a second flat washer followed by a lock washer and a nut onto the protruding end of the bolt. The bolt must be tightened more than hand tight. This process must be repeated for all eight bolts. The exercise is scored on time and points off. Time is from when they are handed the bag, point off are: 1 point if a net float is pulled beneath the surface, 5 points if any part of a diver or a diver’s equipment breaks the surface, 5 points if a diver or any part of a diver’s equipment touches the bottom. Completing the exercise is made interesting by the fact that the divers are passing tools and other items with significant weight back and forth and must maintain good buoyancy control to remain on level with the assembly, even while they are “loosing weight” as the bolts and washers become part of the assembly.

    The best job ever done on this task was Steve Paulet, who is a member of the SB. Steve and his buddy brought their own tools and the kind of cocky attitude that only an undergraduate Ocean Engineer with supreme self-confidence, who’d been bragging for weeks that they were going to set a new record, can exude. They had practiced and came equipped with their own tools including a socket, a deepwell socket, a T-handle and a speedwrench. They swam out and set to work, the choice of tools was good, as one inserted a bolt through a flat washer and pushed it through one half of the flange, the gasket and the other half, and held the head of the bolt in a socket and T-handle, the other diver placed a flat washer, lock washer and nut on and tightened it down with a deepwell socket on a speedwrench. They were well rigged, the T-handle and speedwrench had wrist straps so that if they dropped them they’d not loose them and they were progressing faster than I’d ever seen a pair go. On about the fourth bolt Steve finished tightening it and pulled back on the speedwrench to get the clear the bolt end. He misjudged the angle and the socket came off the wrench and fell to the bottom. “Got him now!,” I thought. But the SOB reached into his BC pocket whipped out another deepwell socket, clicked it onto the speedwrench and was off and running with perhaps a loss of three or four seconds. Guess who was helping us teach the next year?
     

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