How to Create Better Lessons
Teaching swimming can be a fine art, handling a class of primary school children after a busy day or half way into your shift can sometimes be challenging and stressful for you as the teacher and the swimmers. Here are some helpful tips to keep your lessons fun, engaging and educational.
1. Have fun.
Whether you are teaching once a week or several times during the week, be mindful that the swimmers in your class are usually often only coming once a week. It might be a tough ask (some days) but make sure you are having fun with your class. Smiling at your students is a great place to start, and they will most likely mirror your behaviour and you will have a happy class.
2. How are you teaching?
It’s very easy to fall into a slump with teaching a skill and sometimes you will discover it just may not be creating the desired effect.
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, teach the way they learn” – Ignacio Estrada.
Change the way you are teaching and if you’re not sure on how to move forward talk to your colleagues and ask for their guidance and thoughts. You might just find the secret to unlocking a skill!
3. Be mindful.
There are always groups of different personalities in each class, and you need to engage with all of them. There are usually four different types of children, the Fun-Loving, the Determined, the Sensitive and the Serious. The Sensitive and Serious children are usually the quiet ones in your class, so don’t forget to talk to them and engage them as well.
4. How are you communicating with your class?
Have you ever given an instruction to a swimmer and watched as they haven’t corrected or performed the instruction? How are you talking to them?
For example “You need to kick more Johnny” – this statement is valid however it is very broad without any positive encouragement and the child is not engaged until the end of the instruction.
An improved instruction would be - “Johnny, well done on your breathing, but can you kick a little faster?” – With this statement you have engaged the child first, provided a positive statement to a skill they are already performing and then give the correction. Delivering better instructions will get better results from your swimmers.
5. When did you last teach safety skills?
Learning to swim strokes is important however safety skills are also important. A child is more likely to get into trouble in the water and need the skills to help themselves or others. Many Swim Schools schedule “Safety Weeks” at the end of the term, however if you add up the amount of time a child may have exposure to these skills in a year it works out to be less than 2 hours. This is not enough to gain the knowledge, understanding, skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours for life saving skills. Make safety skills part of your regular program and provide the best you can to make sure your swimmers are safe in, on and around the water.
Teaching swimming is a fantastic and rewarded career, make sure you are enjoying your role and providing the best lessons you can to all the swimmers you are teaching.