Are you making the most of the SDI standards
By John Bentley
SDI instructors and potential SDI professionals often hear the term “flexible teaching,” but what does this really mean? So let’s take a minute to really take a look at this.
When you take a look at our standards they are, for the most part, a simple list of dives and minimum standards. The minimums are just that – minimum requirements for the course completion. Those are designed to accommodate the most prepared and focused of students. Our instructors have the flexibility to add relevant skills or academics, or even repeat skills or academics, to best benefit the student(s) in the class.
There is one major reason this is done: to create educators instead of instructors.
We don’t require skills 1 through 3 on dive one or anything like that because our course can reasonably accommodate the most prepared student and the least prepared student. Our instructors have the ultimate discretion to craft their students’ educational opportunity.
Have a student who has difficulty with mask skills? Build their confidence with success in other skills. Move on to another one that they are able to do, gain their comfort in the water, and then come back to that mask clearing.
Have a student who gets neutral buoyancy instantly? Integrate some combo skills with swimming to challenge them to keep them learning. Come up with cool games.
Have some engineers in the nitrox class who breeze through the calculations? Don’t waste your time over-teaching with them; switch gears to keep them engaged and learning.
Embrace the System
So how do you totally embrace this system of teaching?
- Never teach the same class twice
- Keep yourself excited by learning new topics in innovative ways
- Keep your students excited by challenging them in fun ways
- Remember to train divers, not just people that do skills
Keep those 4 points in mind and customize your training programs to fit your needs. Whether you’re a new or old SDI instructor, we have tools like slates and instructor guides to help you organize your programs.