Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Swimming Guidance .... Learning/Teaching Swimming Pool .... post 31

To motivate learning/teaching, to stimulate concentration requires that routines in and around the swimming pool are calm and quiet

All rules set boundaries for those teaching, learning, entry to and exit from our swimming pool and area. They are realised from our varied experiences with different people in different situations to be fair, keep safe and maintain hygiene

Through our commitment to the importance, the value and quality of safe education and life skills we create the ideal environment to learn/teach in

Gentle rhythmic background music (Enya is ideal) creates a feeling of calm for the teacher, pupil/s and all who are present in the swimming pool area which is well lit, ventilated, brightly colourful, uncluttered, interesting and fun.  This cheerful environment motivates the feeling to want to be a part of teaching or learning to swim 

The already recommended water temperature at the minimum of 32°C throughout the year in an indoor swimming pool which has steps for safe entry and exit, orientation, a shallow and a deep end to learn/teach basic and advanced skills should be clean and crystal clear at all times

The walk area around the pool should be hygienic and tidy.  Toilet access for anyone, with hygienic, clean and tidy change rooms which are left at all times as they are found

Teaching equipment neatly placed, easily accessible to the Teacher and the pupil/s to use, always returned to their place at the end of each swimming session by the pupil. An orderly, neat, organised learning/teaching environment creates a feeling of security, stimulates personal pride. These life skills learned are of great value to encourage respect of equipment which, though not ours, is ours to share   

Managed by the Teacher, diving toys, the from time to time necessary swimming aids used for learning to swim of a nature for use which requires that they are controlled rather than being controlling

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Swimming Guidance - A Guide to Choosing a Swimming Teacher .... post 30

Our ‘ego’ is not a part of the learning/teaching relationship that we develop between ourselves and our teacher. Changing from one to another can affect us. Use this guide to choose a Swimming Teacher  ....
OUR GOAL is a ’water safe’  individual who chooses to enter a water environment in which they are consciously aware that they are able to manage themselves without fear of danger, being hurt, dominated or bullied, where they can confidently participate as an individual or within a group
One who can swim by choice on top of and  with their face in the water, swim under the water and on their back with confidence without assistance or any type of floatable swimming aid. An individual who knows their limits and boundaries in and around water
We learn to swim to be safe, develop physically mentally emotionally and learn life skills ... have fun!
©   We have learned many skills in previous ‘blog posts’ which we can use to listen and think about   
©   Telephone the recommended Swimming Teacher
©    There are many different methods and techniques used to teach swimming. Ask  about the method used and if you may watch a swimming lesson
©    At any given lesson we are observing the qualities, the personality of the teacher and the manner in which the swimming lesson is being conducted which will   influence our choice of Swimming Teacher
 Qualities to look for ....
©    Professional, reassuring, patient, understanding of all enquiries 
©    Are swimming lessons conducted privately or in a public facility? Noisy causes distraction. Not a motivating/stimulating environment to learn/teach in
©    Ideal for learning/teaching an indoor, heated at 32°C swimming pool is free of    excessive sun, wind and cold    
©   Not recommend are ‘quick courses with guaranteed results’. At least one year of regular, continuous tuition at least once, preferably twice per week is necessary to ensure a safe, confident, capable swimmer
 ©  Continuous tuition throughout all seasons and long holidays ensure that learned is remembered, supports physical/mental/emotional development of young children, maintains confidence and fitness until we reach with each individual .... OUR GOAL
 ©  Teaching ‘free swimming’ rather than using ‘swimming aids’ which encourage ‘dependability’ outside of our true ability.  We are limited to learn/teach swimming skills like face in the water, correct body position and kicking which in turn hinders progressive to advanced swimming skills
     Swimming aids encourage ‘doggy paddle’ which is a difficult habit to break to encourage correct skills
Water safety cannot be taken for granted when using swimming aids especially in open water where drifting is uncontrolled from water safety
©  ‘Drown proofing’ (forced floating under cruel and severe pressure) of an infant/
toddler cannot be guaranteed to be effective to prevent drowning.  Infant swimming should be continuous until the age of 4 years old
© Teaching children from age 4 years indicates that only manageable ages are taught.
    Infant and toddler swimming is a specialised field of teaching
©   A one-on-one swimming lesson for fifteen minutes for infants, toddlers, beginners.
 For older children to adults, 30 minutes for an introduction, orientation to become  familiar and comfortable with their teacher, new environment, routine and 
 discipline. Thereafter integration into a group of three for 30 minutes is stimulating, 
 individual and fun
©    Entry to and exit from the pool area, quietly managed by the Teacher will maintain  order and courtesy towards each other and those learning/teaching. Public, parent    
      presence is distracting and disruptive
©  ‘Orderly chaos’, visual awareness of all in the entire swimming pool at all times ensures water safety
©  Etiquette and good manners (please and thank you) practiced by all creates a happy, friendly yet professional environment
©    The Teacher standing at the side of the pool talks down to, has little direct eye contact, is not easily heard, has no physical contact to assure, finds encouragement to focus and concentrate difficult when teaching
©   The Teacher standing in the swimming pool shows affection, encourages, motivates, instils a sense of security, uses all the necessary skills to stimulate in a firm, fair, kind manner. Learning/teaching is positive at a rate that is comfortable creating the bond of trust
©   Treating each one equally regardless of age/ability/inability is kind and fair.
©   Integrating disabled/special needs teaches how to socialise and acceptance of all, that in water we are all equal
©    Age, experience, qualifications are vital to share knowledge
WE LOOK FOR QUALITIES IN A SWIMMING TEACHER WHICH WE IDENTIFY AS BEING consistent, disciplined, tolerant, firm, fair, kind, patient, calm, intuitive, stimulating, compassionate, generous with praise for achievement, a fun personality ... one who smiles!
We want a Teacher who is adventurous in approach to the learning of skills, teaches with a positive attitude, motivated, motivating, consistent temperament
One who looks as though teaching is a pleasure, has a sense of humour, radiates affection and care, uses an incentive for achievement, anticipates changes in development, has a good relationship with children and parents, identifies illness, tiredness, hangovers from medication or lack of sleep (teething etc), compassionate ....



Thursday, 26 December 2013

Swimming Guidance - To learn to swim we must progressively .... post 29

©     Trust the teacher
©      Learn to listen
©      Learn to submerge in water
©      Learn to use both sides of the body
©      Through physical movement, feeling of movement, understanding the instructions    
        and the function thereof ....
©      Mentally visualise the instruction which must then be physically carried out
©      Develop the feeling of the physical movement which must be repeated to develop the
        muscles of the bod
©      Develop confidence with each learned skill
©      Develop confidence in a water environment in which we have not yet learned total free
©      Learn to adapt to moving against the resistance of water
©      Develop an attitude towards this learning process
©      Enjoy the setting of short term goals, then realise the feeling of achievement
©      Develop the rhythm of motion in the water
©      Realise the floatation of water
©      Have FUN!
©      Then we must learn to co-ordinate the individual skills we have learned

To learn these skills and life skills requires knowledge, care, patience, repetition, consistency, routine, discipline, kindness and fairness from a Teacher

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Understanding the stages of development .... post 28

Understanding the stages of development of babies and small children will decide how, when and what we teach them. Their age and stages mentioned here is a guide we can use from a pattern which was observed during many years of teaching.

 The ‘smartest’ advice to share is that the human being is born ‘smart’. Either through our adult ignorance, lack of care, passion, motivation, our use of all the good advice shared in previous ‘blog posts’  or their laziness in their daily lives, we will allow them to become ‘not smart’.

Courtesy and good manners taught and shared play a huge role in stimulating each individual person. It is the ‘tone’ of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ that encourages positive responses from anyone

As a guideline we can see that children from the age of seven, up to and including adults can understand simple instructions, mentally process them to then physically attempt to practice the skills we are teaching

Working with a baby or any small child requires that we give an instruction of a skill which we will physically demonstrate, verbally repeat, actively stimulate and assist their movement so that the specific words we use which will be repeated over and over, cause the feeling and sensations, the word association to fit each skill and action. We will have many singular skills with an instruction which become progressive. All is repeated and practiced continuously at each teaching session which sessions should be regular, consistent

We are born without conscious fear. Conscious fear develops during the lovely ‘terrific twos’ stage of life. The power of reasoning and choice is developed from all that we are taught and exposed to included in the natural process of mental/physical/emotional development which completes by the age of 4 years old

Language, sound, taste, touch, senses and sensations, motivation, kindness and all the good stuff that we have to share with ‘little people’ whether they understand it or not will accelerate their development to ensure self-confidence and self esteem

We motivate through verbal repetition and physical movement so that they attempt to or continue the physical action being taught. Praise for even for the slightest attempt is motivating. The reward of a ‘sucker/lollipop’ at the end of each lesson is a physical show of personal achievement through personal determination

The older child, teenager, adult might also need to be physically assisted when learning new skills, though will continue independently. Explain the purpose of the action for swimming and/or its purpose of safety in water

Give one instruction at a time using simple language using words which associate with each skill and action. Bring attention and awareness to the reaction that is caused in the water. We know how to swim. Our actions and movements are second nature to us. Never assume that an instruction is understood

When teaching swimming a kind, firm, fair personality with a fun sense of humour builds trust and is such a pleasure ....





Thursday, 19 December 2013

Swimming Guidance learn/teach skills Module 6 for Mouth Blowing and Water on the Face and Head .... post 27

Learning to feel comfortable with water either splashing the face or putting the face into water is the most challenging to teach. Best is not to teach the obvious. Fun interaction, like throwing the ball so that it falls short of being caught causing water to splash onto the face and head causes attention on the ball. When the ball is thrown back we do not flinch when water splashes onto the face. Visually, a positive action
We teach, explain and demonstrate each skill precisely. As we speak an instruction we act it out exactly as we want it copied. Over exaggerate each action so that it is clearly heard and demonstrated to be copied
Counting up to three is a commonly used method which is understood that we are about to carry out an action. We have given an instruction so get ready so that on the count of three we shall work together to carry out this action
Counting is positive, rhythmic, trusting. Each and every time count slowly with a slight break in between ...  and one, and two, and three. When the counting up to three begins, without hesitation, follow through with the action.  This is another technique to build confidence and trust when teaching or learning
The repeated practice of slowly, rhythmically counting up to three before blowing soapy bubbles or a ping pong ball will quickly become a functional habit. The longer we blow our breath out the longer and deeper we can breathe in
Achievable goals of the progressions using the same breathing in technique to blow bubbles into the cupped hands, into a plastic mug are motivation to combine washing the face with water from the cupped hands and blowing at the same time
A further progression is to pour water over the head so that the water runs over the face and head at the same time blowing out so that the water is not sniffed in through the nose or breathed in through the mouth
Our goal is to continue blowing until there is no more water on the face to sniff or breathe in. We will cough when water is sniffed in through the nose or breathed in through the mouth. Stimulate coughing to clear the throat to show this to be a fun game
Water contained in small quantities is easier to learn/teach blowing skills. For this reason each tiny challenge is a short term achievable goal which stimulates adventure to more challenging skills
Learning/teaching bubble blowing techniques is used throughout the process of learning to swim as a basic and progressive skill, for co-ordination and for swimming strokes. Children are able to learn these skills from as young as 1 year old. We speak to and instruct a baby in the same way that we speak to and instruct any other person. Children up to adults, Special Needs, Disabled, water sports competitors can use all the skills mentioned in posts 4, 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 23
Learning to consciously take breaths in, blow breaths out, hold breaths is vital for confidence and safety in water. Without these skills for swimming, participation in diversified water activities and sports is limited. We will always ‘fear’ rather than enjoy being under water .... 



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Swimming Guidance learn/teach skills Module 5 Hand Holding Technique Underwater / Walking / Hopping on the different Step levels .... post 26

Always learn/teach new skills in the safest, shallowest part of water or a swimming pool. Each new skill brings fears, insecurities. Orientation is an on going experience with each new adjustment to a new and different state of being. We encourage, stimulate, motivate and praise the attempts and achievements of new skills

To know each and every part of our newly discovered learning and play area we must physically be in it, feel it, become familiar with it, know through feel and sight what and where shallow and deep is. The floating of our body in various water depths teaches us how to manage ourselves. We develop focus, concentration, senses of caution and achievement  

Our feet feel where to and how to stand firmly. We learn to use our hands to touch and hold onto the immovable steps or side of a swimming pool. We never presume that everyone will hold onto the side. Through our own ability we realise our own personal achievement
We re-visit the ‘hand holding technique’ which is used to support by merely using hands so that the hands and wrists, arms and shoulders learn to use the joints (levers) of the body. Both of us can pull or push away from or towards each other, whichever is necessary for a specific skill
It is easier to walk in shallow water, progress to deeper water. Walking in water teaches us to push against the resistance that we feel as we walk against it. We learn to use our bodies, strengthen muscles and learn balance and how to recover from over-balancing
Watching our feet we learn to focus on skills, feel the water on the body. ‘Thinking’, we learn to understand our newly learned skills. We are motivated to be adventurous to try challenging progressions
Our ‘safe area’ where we can manage ourselves independent of physical support gives us the assurance of feeling safe in water ....  



Monday, 16 December 2013

Swimming Guidance learn/teach skills Module 4 'crocodile walk' .... post 25

The 'crocodile walk' teaches us to move in various directions. With wide open flat hands, asymmetrically, we pull our body forwards from one side of the step to the other. In the same way we push our body backwards without look backwards. This fun skill can be learned and practised in any shallow water post 21

Our legs are relaxed and straight out behind us, our body floats in the water. When we lose our balance while pulling forwards or pushing backwards our reflex is to spread our legs to recover balance. Regular practice of the ‘crocodile walk’ teaches us to use our hips and all the muscles attached to the hips and abdomen to maintain balance. We learn how to feel the core muscles of the body, their action and reaction. We develop the correct body position required for the various swimming strokes and for forward or back floating skills.

In a larger area, move to the right and back again, then to the left and back again. This challenge teaches us to ‘think’ and ‘feel’ our direction of moving to the left and then to the right without looking to the left or to the right.

Set a challenge to do the ‘crocodile walk’ in all directions with the eyes closed ....
If we tried to be technical, tried to explain all that is learned from this skill we’ll create confusion, not be understood, so we just do not teach the obvious. We keep our teaching methods simple, fun, yet functional. We encourage and motivate
The ‘crocodile walk’ stimulates using the palms and fingers of the hands, the arms, the shoulders adjusting balance of the body during the forward and backward movement. Thought, senses and sensations are being developed. We set a short term goal which has a short term achievement
Learning and orientation in this safe area builds trust, self confidence and familiarity in water. The unexplained skills and the progressions which follow when we combine other learned skills like blowing bubbles while ‘walking like a crocodile’ will be easy when the basic skill is proficient ....


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Teaching .... a gift .... post 24

The success of a good Teacher is having the observational skills to sense, to know, to understand the fears, insecurities, abilities of their pupil/s. To show their pupil/s how clever they already are in a patient, kind way. A Teacher needs to be many steps ahead, guiding, nurturing, introducing skills and progressions of skills at the moment that will have a long term positive influence on learning

'A true teacher is not one with most knowledge, rather it is one who causes most others to have knowledge'

Teaching swimming is personal, individual to each pupil. A true Teacher has the skill to assess an individual or group merely by each one's reaction to a simple instruction. Using pupils as motivators for each other has them feeling that they are a part of a group

Teaching is about sharing knowledge where it is needed. Our pupils are wonderful Teachers from whom we too learn a great deal when we use the known skills of listening. When we listen to them through our observational skills we learn how to teach them, what to teach them and when to teach them the necessary skills and the progressions to follow which take them to a great level of achievement

Pupils depend on their Teachers in the many ways of trust, affection, support, praise, fun. The greatest reward to a Teacher is when a pupil becomes independent of them, walks on to the next stage or Teacher in their journey of learning

During the early stages of teaching I would feel sad when a pupil, each one of them a special person, moved on. My brave face showed a smile though my heart was breaking. Behind the smile, hidden tears. My policy was no goodbyes. And then one fine day a precious little soul walked back into the swimming pool area, asked if he could hug and kiss me, said 'thank you Arlene for being so special' with the proudest smile on his face.

My lesson came from a very young boy child who showed me my worth as his Teacher and friend. I realised that I can share all my knowledge and experience, that no one can take away my personality and passion

It is 'rather it is one who causes most others to have knowledge' that is the most valuable gift a Teacher has to share


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Learn to Visualise .... post 23

We learn to visualise, create mental pictures, images of individual skills. As each skill becomes familiar to us we become more competent by repeatedly practising each of them. We progress to combine individual skills into phases which are part of a complete cycle of an action  

This developed from a clearly explained, properly demonstrated instruction of a skill/s. We practice to become aware of the sensations, action and re-action of our movement in water.

Developing the ‘feel’ in and of water is such a personal achievement. We cannot watch ourselves move or swim. For this reason all the little ‘lessons’ we have learned in previous blog posts which stimulate our senses we need to use to learn to swim
Developing the ability to visualise the skills of our learning stages requires that we develop mental and physical sensations which we either consciously or unconsciously become aware of as we move and practice our newly learned and already familiar swimming achievement
Through visualisation we become so in tune with the rhythm of movement that the sensations we feel on different parts of our body, arms, legs, face, our lungs, that burst of pride in our hearts encourages us to want to learn more and practice harder, without fear

We will never master this skill to perfection though we will want to keep on trying to. An adult or competitive sports person can learn this skill consciously creating their own method while smaller children develop this skill through a simple learning process and conscientious repetition ....

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Swimming Guidance learn/teach skills Module 3 Safe Pool Entry .... post 22

Safest for non-swimmers of all ages, an adult carrying a baby, small children, beginner pupils, always enter and leave at the steps where we can manage our entry and exit. We can stand on the steps or in the shallow water. This is where we start our orientation in a swimming pool, realise our ability within safe boundaries, learn/teach the basic skills to submerge in water, participate with all ages and where we can just have fun in water! The hand holding technique is comfortably supportive

When a child asks if they may swim we consciously become aware that they are going into water. This creates awareness of our responsibility to keep them safe. We learn to talk to and listen to each other. To ask in a respectful way … ‘please may I climb into the pool?’ In my years of teaching swimming this is the exact practice with each and every pupil. It only takes a few seconds of time. The communication brings both teacher and pupil into present time, mentally preparing to spend the duration of the lesson time together

Entry at the steps of a swimming pool is where everyone can stand, sit, ly down, be within reach of safety. The steps is where orientation in water and most skills are learned, practiced, used. They become our ‘safe haven’ when in the water. This too is where we can play and experiment with different abilities. 

We need to ‘actually feel’ to experience the sitting, the climbing in by either sitting or lying on the tummy, supporting ourselves. These actions make us aware of our own ability, the short term goal with the short achievement. These little actions are part of the strength and physical development we gain through independent movement. We learn to ‘think’ for ourselves

In this module you will notice the constant eye contact which ensures an instruction is given to and heard. This is where we all start learning to listen

The Hand Holding Technique is very smart. Although it is specific it is adjustable. We only need to adjust it slightly when we turn a person onto the back. When turning back again the technique automatically reverts back to the original position. The purpose of this technique is to stimulate use of the hands, elbows, shoulders in such a way that the person learns to manage each of their movements whilst being attached merely by the hand. The connection is strong enough, supportive enough to instil confidence to encourage independence to eventually swim freely. At no time ever is there strain on any limb or the body. Trust is built between the teacher and the person. Constant, repetitive use of this technique subconsciously teaches a person to reach for a hand for support rather than a body ....



Friday, 6 December 2013

Swimming Guidance learn/teach skills Module 2 Paddling Pool/Bath .... post 21

We can learn to swim in any ‘body of water’.  Learning/teaching is easier in warm water for all ages, for athletes who go back to basics to correct swimming faults

 In a paddling pool or familiarity of the warm bath water swimming skills are learned in a fun way. We can hear each other. The most important skills like pouring water over the head and face, blowing bubbles, kicking, lying on the back, the ‘crocodile walk’ can be learned by repeating them regularly, consistently. Confidence is developed. We realise our ability which stimulates us to become more adventurous in learning the progressive skills like kicking and blowing bubbles at the same time.

Without feeling embarrassed adults can learn the most valuable water skills, learn to blow bubbles, practice getting used to putting the face into the water, experience the sensation of back floating. Take the time to think about and understand the basic skills required to learn to swim and their purpose in swimming strokes ....