NOT THE ONLY WAY…

by / Thursday, 22 February 2018 / Published in DAHAB, GUESTS, PADI, SAFETY, TEC DIVING

My friend was cooking a meal for her family and before putting the meat in the tray, she cut the ends off. When her young daughter saw her do this, she asked why. My friend replied “it’s what I’ve always done; it’s how my mother did it”. The daughter was curious, so next time they went to visit her Grandmother she asked her “Why do you do it that way?”

Her Grandmother replied “It’s how I’ve always done it, my mother did it that way”. Shortly after, the daughter visited her Great Grandmother and asked her the same question. Her Great Grandmother said “I only had a small tray, so to make the meat fit I used to have to cut it down”

I was very fortunate whilst in the UK to assist on a couple of courses with esteemed TDI Instructor Trainer Mark Powell. Mark literally wrote the book on deco (“Deco for Divers”; well worth checking out for any current or aspiring divers, both technical and recreational). In Dahab we sometimes talk about the “Dahab Bubble”. This is both a way of diving and a mindset that has grown over the years due to people only diving in Dahab, with people who have only ever learned the “Dahab way” of diving. Whilst in some ways this is a very conservative way of diving it has also provoked the mindset of it being the only way. As an instructor one of my pet hates when teaching something is to hear people say “We’ve always done it that way” when asked why they do something. To try and push myself into exploring other ways I always jump at the opportunity to team teach alongside someone else or even just observe another course. Watching Mark teach was a total breath of fresh air to me.

His way was very different to how I have taught here – with very straightforward, simple explanations of what could be an incredibly complex subject. It helped me to highlight the gaps present in my own teaching and the areas where I had perhaps over-complicated things.
Every instructor has a ‘tool kit’ of hints, tricks and techniques they use not only to do skills but also to teach a subject, concept or theory. The better the instructor, the more skillful their use of their tool kit. I have already adapted some of the tools Mark uses and have put them into my own courses, with great success.

My aim for this year? To build my tool kit and improve my instructing even more. I have several courses on my wish list that I hope will help me with this. One is Gareth Locks “Human Factors Skills in Diving”. This course will not allow me to dive deeper, teach a different course or do anything like this. What I’m hoping to gain from this course is a way of looking at my own diving and teaching and analyse it to hopefully improve it.

We can all improve and one way of doing that is by learning from others, whether that is through a course, watching others or reading about a subject. I wish you all happy learning! – Jenny

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