Creating Confidence. Confidence is important, especially when considering activities never before tried. The same goes for learning about the world of Scuba Diving. The question is how do we as instructors instill confidence in our students whilst at the same time developing competence?
Here on Koh Tao at Davy Jones Locker we have come up with a few simple suggestions to help you as the instructor create confidence from apprehension:
Whilst teaching slow down, take your time and chill. You want to work out how much time your students need to demonstrate mastery for each pool and open water dive and then add some more!
The reason being that confidence requires competence but also requires time and repitition as you know these things don’t always go hand in hand. Divers who are having difficulty with a skill may need more time or even some one on one tuition to help to develope that skill. Have these divers once comfortable in confined water, practice in different situations for example, at depth or maybe even whilst swimming to boost confidence and competence of the skill.
Repetition is key to skill mastery, PADI courses are student orientated, this means that its all about the student! Not about the ice cold beer staring you in the face as the last couple of skills are completed! You need to adjust your time on a personal basis. Additional confined sessions or longer ones should not be considered a burden to make sure your students ‘get through’ or ‘keep up’. Treat these optional extras as doing what it takes to help your student master the skills necessary to comfortably complete all the criteria required of the course, use these sessions as a fun bonding experience between you and your students.
Rushing is the downfall of confidence, when student divers feel rushed they don’t learn as effectively and often make mistakes, which in turn lowers their confidence levels and may even have adverse effects on the relationship between instructor and student, making teaching almost impossible.
The solution is easy, don’t push student divers on allow the student to set the pace and pay specific attention to body language and especially facial expression this is your first gauge as to seeing how confident or apprehensive your students are, allowing you to start planning your time personally with your students’ best interests in mind. Divers who are happy and having fun are more often than not confident in their new found abilities. Emphasise to your students that they have enough time to experience and master all segments of the course concerned.
As we at DJL previously mentioned, it is easy to think that your students have fulfilled all skill requirements so therefore its beer o’clock however it is time not wasted going over any queries or re-demonstrating skills that may have caused any problems before completion, this will not only give the student divers confidence in their own abilities but also confidence in your level of attention and professionalism as a teacher.
Finally as a PADI instructor anywhere in the world and especially here on Koh Tao your job is to make learning to dive a fun and personal experience, this can be achieved easily by adapting the instructional system to the time frame and learning preferences displayed by your student divers.
The most important aspect of instilling confidence however is your personal attitude towards teaching and the world of diving, if you are having fun your students will be also. Telling stories of your experiences is a great way to break the ice and involve your students immediately in your world of Scuba diving.
Using these simple guidelines we can be sure that we are on track in creating competent and confident divers who become your customers and in majority of cases friends over a lifetime of responsible and enjoyable diving!
From all at DJL, Koh Tao have fun and keep teaching!