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Have you ever wondered if there were some simple tips that could help make teaching swimming to small groups (6-12 students) easier? You’re in luck! Here are some teaching strategies (and even a DVD Video on Teaching Group Swim Lessons
) that will make teaching easier for you, and more effective for your students:
1. Use your voice effectively.
If you’re teaching a group, you will have to talk much louder than if you were teaching just a couple children. Make sure not to strain your voice (look up tips for saving your voice), but most importantly keep your commands and instructions short and to the point. The video provides more information on voice techniques.
* In this example, which would be more effective? A. “Okay class, I want everyone to pay attention and listen closely to my directions.” B. “Oy!” The answer is “example B.” “Oy” means “attention” and is precisely 13 less words than “example A.”
2. Use proximity, touch, and facial expressions to communicate.
An example structure could be moving in closer to the student that is not paying attention, putting a hand on their shoulder, and giving them a “look” of disapproval.
3. Use “buzzwords” and cues instead of long or winded instructions.
If you’re teaching freestyle side breathing, for example, avoid saying: “Okay, I want you to start turning your head as your pulling hand passes under your body. Then take your breath and start returning your face back into the water as your dominant hand recovers and you begin recovering your other arm.” Instead, say, “Breathe, stroke one, stroke two.” Wasn’t that easy, precise, and to the point? And in just 5 words you communicate your message to the entire group.
4. Maximize practice space and practice time.
Give each student a number or a color. For example, go to each child and say, “red group,” next child “blue group,” next child, “red,” next child, “blue, etc.” Since every other child is in an opposite group, you have maximized your space. In large groups, you may even want to go with three groups. In order to maximize practice time, have one group go, and then when that group is 1/2 to 2/3 of the way to the rope or wall, have the other group go. This way you are maximizing practice time and eliminating as much down time as possible.
5. Use a flotation vest for beginners.
Nothing is more important than safety and practice time. By using a flotation device (preferably a progressive one), you can increase practice time and keep your beginners safer.
6. Use choral responding techniques.
Most swim instructors make the mistake of doing all the talking which is a huge mistake when teaching group lessons from both a learning and behavior standpoint. Instead, give yourself and your students an “edge” be engaging them in the process. For example, let’s say that you want to teach your students the cues/buzzwords for the back kick. Simply state, “say what I say” or “repeat after me:” “Ears in the water,” they repeat, “Tummies up,” they repeat, “Small, fast kicks,” they repeat. Not only are they learning but by involving them in your presentation, you eliminate many behavior issues.
Watch the “Swim Professor” demonstrate a sampling of some of the te...
Sources and Citations
* Original source of article from Swim Lessons University.
Shared with permission.
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