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SCUBA-L  September 1999, Week 4

SCUBA-L September 1999, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Training (Was Re: Reverse Profile?)

From:

Bjorn Vang Jensen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Sep 1999 20:41:00 +0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (148 lines)

Christian,
 
Thank you for a reasonably friendly reply. I have not the time to conduct
many power searches, nor do I store any posts other than those that contain
something I didn't know before, so all I can say is that I have previously
been irritated by posts from you applying an ultra-wide tar brush to diving
instructors. 'Nuff said on that score.
 
> May I, ever so respectfully, suggest that history teachers usually are
> not in a position to kill you? :-)
 
And neither are diving instructors, except in a very, very few scenarios,
mainly involving technical diving. The diver is in a position to kill
him/herself, if he/she does something unimaginably stupid. I have NEVER seen
an instructor who didn't emphasize ad nauseam the rules one must follow to
avoid the most dangerous mistakes. Where some fall
 
> I consider that I would make a _very_ bad dive instructor. I've probably
> said this before.
 
Actually, I don't think you would!
 
> Usually I am challenged by Strike during these affrays. If you think
> that he _doesn't_ know how to plunge the blade, you're a bit of an
> innocent, laddie (I'm allowed to say that, age you know <g>). I happen
> to know that you are not. ;-)
 
Strike does a good enough job - Pops ;-)
 
> i) Neither thankfully, she was much more beautiful than either of your
> examples, certainly preceded _at least_ one of them. :-)
 
I know.
 
> Uhh, did I but recently talk about a local duo of Diving Instructors
> that I much respect? Within that same post perhaps? Who, perhaps, bent
> the "rules"?
 
Without knowing which rules they bent, I can not comment on whether I think
that made them better or worse than any other instructor. Generally I find
that rules are there for a reason, and that the reasons are far less
sinister than the general population seems to (want to) believe. I am on
record as having flamed several instructors here and in rec.scuba for not
going by the rules.
 
> Yet I have sometimes _seen_ or _experienced_ the results of bad
> instruction?
 
I would have to echo Strike here. How can you be certain that a diver who
does something foolish was given bad instruction ? This is my main beef. It
seems that in many people's world, dive instructors are guilty until proven
innocent. I find that very annoying. I have previously related a story
wherein I ran out of air at 20 meters, after foolishly diving after a lost
mask after surfacing with only 20 bar in my tank. I and only I was foolish.
My OW instructor certainly taught me that after going back on the surface,
you stay up. He also taught me to surface with no less than 50 bar in the
tank. Did I mention that this was right after I got certified as an
Instructor ? Have you considered that when somebody fucks up, whether it is
a child or an adult who knows he's done wrong and is feeling foolish, it is
SO easy to blurt out "my brother made me do it!" ?
 
> My (independent) club has had a rule for several years now (understand
> that the club is entirely divorced from _any_ training agency, is
> entirely independent). It is that any, we do not care about C Cards/Log
> Books, whatever, new member is checked out by the more experienced
> divers of the club. THEN, and ONLY THEN, do we decide on that diver's
> level of expertise. In our experience its a pretty bloody good rule!
> Mainly because it has worked, every time.
 
Another rule riddled with holes. I have good days and bad days. Anyone does.
And who judges the judges ?
 
> If you look, please, more carefully at everything that I say on this
> subject it all has to do with your above comment that "people are
> people, and people take the short-cut every time they can get away with
> it". I wonder how often I have used the expression "lowest common
> denominator" recently. Feesh, where are you when we need you?
 
Often. First you complained that the level of diver education was pandering
to the lowest common denominator, then all of a sudden you were okay with
that, so long as newbies were cautioned that they needed to increase their
knowledge through further training.
 
> Bjorn, as you say, there are instructors and there are instructors. Just
> like the bad of everything there are bad here, as you acknowledge.
 
> Its just that, IMO and , no, its not humble, there are TOO MANY bad
> instructors out there.
 
I take the view that one bad instructor is one too many, but I am not naive
enough to think that there will come a time when we don't see any bad ones
out there. And neither are you, I know. I take your statement to mean that
there are a lot (without hazarding a guess as to what you consider a lot:-)
 
I guess _I_ miss Bob and his views on statistics now :-) There are hundreds
of thousands of instructors out there. Until we know how many you have
sampled, AND have conclusive evidence that the ones you label bad are not
victims of the "my brother made me do it" trap, I take the opposite view.
And mine is based on experience with working through numerous shops,
attending instructor development courses and exams, seeing a very large
sample in action on boats, and generally working within the system. I don't
dispute that there are bad instructors, but I certainly dispute the notion
that there are teeming hordes of them :-) And most of the instructors I
label "bad" get the label because of their lack of teaching skills, defined
as their adeptness of imparting knowledge in a non-textbook way.
 
> This would be acceptable BUT ONLY if they were
> teaching the aforementioned history rather than the use of a life
> support system.
 
Bad instructors are never acceptable, no matter what they instruct. But they
exist, and they always will. I'm going to make a slightly controversial
statement: Teaching the use of a life support system is the least demanding
element of teaching diving, and only constitutes a tiny amount of the
course. Breathing in and out is something most people are naturals at, and
the assembly and disassembly is something few can't master quickly :-)
Teaching buoyancy skills, entries, tables, and general diving theory,
helping students overcome their fears (and knowing how) is where the good
are separated from the bad.
 
> I was a pretty good spearo (sorta good?) before someone got me to
> breathe air underwater. Nevertheless I had a pretty good idea of the
> sea. Yet you say "Common sense and responsibility for one's own actions
> are far better in the long run". Sure if people are advised of both. Are
> they? Commonly? Universally? I doubt it. Again, it depends on whether
> its a history lesson or a lesson on using a life support system.
 
Common sense is endemic in humans, in my experience, and in any event is not
something you can teach. Responsibility for one's own actions, I also find
reasonably common, maybe more out here where I am, where litigation on
diving gets laughed out of court as soon as the judge sees the waiver. If
people don't have either, then all the rules in the world aren't going to do
any good.
 
 
> As above, I doubt that I have the ability to teach. I think strongly on
> that role of _teaching_.
 
I think otherwise. But I also think it would take a couple of years before
you would allow a student underwater :-)
 
> But I still don't think that you "flamed".
 
I'm glad you didn't :-)
 
Bjorn
http://www.bjornjensen.com

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