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On Tuesday, February 20, 2001 4:51 PM, Simon L Hartley wrote:

(snip)
> I don't think Instructors consciously choose to teach poor technique, more
> go along with the flow without really sitting down and evaluating the
logic
> of the techniques taught.

True!  A lot of it depends on the attitude of the particular training agency
and the flexibility that the instructor is allowed in terms of
"over-teaching".  And that, of course, hinges on the Instructor's own
knowledge, experience of a variety of different diving conditions,
equipment, and their ability to gauge a person's aptitude for diving.

>Even if they did there would be a lot of inertia
> to overcome in changing the type of equipment used by shops or the
> standards of a particular agency.

The path of least resistance is always easier.  And generally speaking
there's a ready supply of  Instructors with a willingness to follow a shop
or training agencies procedures without questioning.

> >An Instructor is - in my book - only a person who has an aptitude for
> >teaching ...
>
> One hopes, are candidates adequately scrutinised.  What is the failure
rate
> from most Instructor courses?

From what I've seen, very few!  But generally speaking this isn't as much a
fault of the programmes themselves as it is of the Evaluators who - in many
instances - have to assess the abilities of a large number of candidates
within the space of just, say, a couple of days.  That's something that
does - to my way of thinking - need to be addressed if the Instructor rating
is to have any worth!  (At a personal level, I'd have difficulty in properly
evaluating just four candidates over a long week-end - let alone ten,
twenty, or more!) :-)

> >...and can follow the guidelines laid down by whatever agency they
> >belong to.  It is not a mark of diving prowess or a qualification that,
> >somehow, imparts superior skills or knowledge to the holder!  A *true*
> >instructor is - to my way of thinking - a person who's, "Been thar! Dun
> >That!"  :-)

> After 100 dives?  Ok, let's not go there.

OK!  :-)

(Although I would say that, within reason, the number of dives has little
relevance to a person's ability to teach basics!)  :-)

>But it IS seen as a mark of
> diving prowess, superior skills/knowledge, sexual prowess, alcohol
> tolerance,  etc  :-)

If the instructor regards themself in that light then they have aspired to
the rating for all of the wrong reasons.

> I really object to the presumption many folks seem to have that
> DM/Instructor is a natural progression and not progressing along this path
> is somehow a reflexion on your competency or the value of the
> information/experience you impart.  I'd like to think I could gain repect
> from what I know and do (have done), rather than from what cards I've
> collected alone.

I agree with you!  And it harks back to a much earlier discussion about the
difference between being 'certified' as opposed to 'qualified'!  :-)

> >> (this is a dig, but not at anyone in particular).

> >I should think not! (I've yet to meet a DM who didn't know more than the
> >instructor and who couldn't point up the faults in the teaching process!)
> >:-)

> Rather a narrow assessment of my point of view.

It was - and is!  It was said tongue in cheek and certainly not intended as
a blanket statement!  :-)

>I left the last part of my
> post open so it could apply to divers of any level.  IMO many people
> (Instructors, newby divers, etc) look on their cards/certificates as an
end
> to their training/learning (in a particular specialty area) and there
> doesn't seem to be an obvious desire to progress that knowledge.  Maybe
> it's a result of time constraints or maybe it's "uncool" to be seen to be
> too anal about your equipment or about study.

It's a flaw in the way that diving's marketed as a, "Fun, Safe, and
Enjoyable" activity with an open-ended certification that has no expiry date
attached.

>Being able to quote the
> latin names of every nudibranch seen on a dive or describe how the RGBM
> differs from traditional Haldanian decompression models is probably not as
> cool as being able to scull five pints of lager and remain standing  :-)

I can't even begin to respond to that!  :-)

> More on your dig about DM's knowing more  :-)   When it comes to marine
> biology (I have the academic transcripts to prove it), equipment and
> perhaps a number of other areas of diving (local maritime heritage,
> physiology, decompression theory, etc), THIS DM probably does know more
> than most Instructors I associate with (and most would readily admit this,
> why else would they refer questions on these matters to me).  Now as far
as
> teaching techniques.  Well I'm an academic but that doesn't mean I can
> teach  :-)   I have been trained in teaching of skills and theory to the
> Dive Control level and I give guest lectures to students up to Dive
Control
> level.  I DON'T walk into OW classes and undermine the Instructor by
> challenging his/her knowledge on a particular topic (generally I don't
have
> much to do with OW classes at all).  If someone (Instructor/student) asks
> my opinion I'll give it.  I would take offence to being publically scorned
> for the way I do things or for my interests and wouldn't consciously
> inflict that on anyone else.

Apart from anything else, it's bad management practice to publicly criticise
*anybody* in front of a class. :-)

> I reserve the right to think the techniques I use are better than others
> (and express that opinion) until shown a better way.  Feel free to make
any
> suggestions  :-)

I can't!  Other than to say that I agree with most of what you've said and
acknowledge your experience!  :-)

Strike