WSI certification requirements
The Red Cross definition of Successful Instructor Traits :
An instructor is a member of a select group of trained and authorized individuals, and reflects the standards and ideals of the American Red Cross. Instructors teach Red Cross programs and impart knowledge and skills consistent with American Red Cross policies, procedures, standards and guidelines.
Successful Red Cross instructors share the following traits:
- Good communication skills. Speak clearly, listen carefully and use reinforcing body language to effectively communicate with students;
- Strong subject knowledge. Become an expert on the subject matter and keep on top of new developments;
- Positive attitude. Share your enthusiasm for the subject matter with others;
- Patience and flexibility. Patiently explain facts, answer questions and meet the diverse learning needs of your students; and
- Professional behavior. Manage groups of people and adhere to rules and regulations.
These descriptions of what it takes to certify as a WSI and the lessons you will teach are from Red Cross materials.
You will be given practice-teaching assignments, which will give you experience in presenting information and teaching skills to course candidates, conducting classes and evaluating skills.
Certification will be awarded to instructor candidates who successfully complete the prerequsites, (The prerequisites are described at: WSI prerequisites ), attend every class session, successfully perform all practice- teaching assignments and pass the final written exam with a score of 80 percent or higher (correctly answer at least 40 of 50 questions). You must also demonstrate maturity and responsibility throughout the course. These qualities are demonstrated by, among other things:
- Arriving at class on time and being prepared
- Returning from breaks on time
- Being prepared for class activities, such as with homework completed and dressed in swim suits, when required (always be have swimming gear even on days we expected to be in a classroom in case plans change.)
- Completing homework assignments, including preparing written lesson plans (typed preferred)
- Demonstrating that effort was put forth toward homework assignments. (For example, the subject matter is appropriate, complete and presented in a professional manner.)
- Behaving appropriately during activities. (For example, whether playing the role of a child or teaching during practice-teaching sessions, the behavior remains safe and reasonable to the situation.)
- Providing appropriate feedback, as requested, especially to peers after their practice-teaching sessions
- Receiving feedback from the instructor trainer as well as peers in a professional manner
- Treating others with respect
Course work will include physical exercise. If you have a medical condition or disability or if you have any questions about your ability to participate fully in this course, discuss them with your physician or health-care provider and the appropriate person at facility offering the class before you start the course.
Students make written lesson plans and teach the lessons to other students in the class.
Some of the class will already be employed as swim teachers/coaches, others will have no formal teaching experience. We won't start doing lessons until a few weeks into the quarter when we have gone through the how-to-teach materials.
Each Water Safety Instructor candidate will teach at least four lessons of 10 to 15 minutes and two five minute mini-lessons, on subjects ranging from floating and gliding to various strokes. Some lessons will be designed for pre-school, some for older, more experienced swimmers.
You will prepare a lesson, arrange the class and teach it until I say time is up (5, 10 or 15 minutes). We will then have you give a self-critique of your organizational ability, knowledge of the subject matter, presentation and communications skills. This is followed by a peer (the other Water Safety Instructor candidates) and instructor trainer evaluation.
Your teaching will be evaluated by you : (what was done particularly well and what could be improved upon):
You will complete a Practice-Teaching Self-Evaluation Form.
Did I follow my lesson plan?
Did participants have enough time to practice?
Were the activities I used right for the age and skill of the participants?
Did I choose the right activities, or were they too difficult, too time consuming or too easy?
Did I use my teaching area effectively?
Did I use a variety of methods and equipment to enhance learning?
Did I include a variety of skills in the plan so that everyone had some success?
Did the participants’ skills improve?
Did I use co-instructors or instructor aides effectively?
and your teaching will be evaluated by the other instructor candidates and the Instructor Trainer:
(what was done particularly well and what could be improved upon), based on these goals:
Followed written lesson plan.
Arranged participants so that all could see.
Was clean and neat in appearance.
Communicated effectively. (A common. frequent mistake in delivery is to fail to listen and manage silence. Silence is okay. You don't need to fill pauses with "um. you know. So, um." Yup, it can take awhile to get used to
not needing to talk. Some students in WSI classes have even had giggle fits when they realize they just said 'Um' four times in one sentence. Fixing this problem as much as possible is part of what the practice teaching is for.)
Made frequent eye contact with students.
Organized presentation logically.
Managed time well.
Delivered accurate and specific information.
Was able to answer the questions asked by the group. (It is never acceptable to wing it, guess at or make up answers to questions. If you find yourself not remembering something, there is nothing wrong with saying, let's look in the book and read exactly what the Red Cross says. Not all questions have answers straight from the book. There is a difference between making up something and answering a question based on your own experience and knowledge. If you need to add from your own experience say that you are doing so. Refer to making an educated guess when you need to. )
Gave clear explanations of practice teaching and skills to be taught.
Started practice efficiently. (If you lose control, and everyone does some of the time, you must get it back. Unless all your class is listening to you they can't learn.)
Noticed participant errors.
Gave appropriate feedback.
Provided accurate demonstrations when needed.
Used appropriate class organization for the skills being taught.
Used appropriate learning activities, games or drills for the skill being taught.
Used appropriate equipment and teaching aides.
About your practice teaching:
One of your responsibilities is to make class time as effective and rewarding as possible for the participants.
This takes careful planning and preparation.
For a WSI class you must prepare a written (at least an outline) lesson plan beyond what is in your instructor's manual. Typed is best, but clear printing is okay if I can read it.
Put your name and the class subject at the top, then add at least:
List of instructional equipment, space (shallow or deep water, kickboards, fins, safety equipment. ) you will need to have.
Group and personal safety precautions
What do you expect them to learn and why?
(Remember the primacy/recency effect. The first and last words/sentence/points of your lecture can be the main things people remember. Tell them what you want them to learn, teach it to them and tell them what they learned .)
Consider class organization, that is, how your students will be able to hear you, see you, and practice. Is the sun in their eyes? Are some people at the back unable to see you?
When students get in the pool for a skill session it is easy to lose control. What discussion/practice/drill before getting in the pool would be worthwhile? What class organization method will you use?
You should often start with a brief review of previously taught skills that apply to this lesson.
Explanation, description and/or and demonstration of new skills.
(Rather than taking time to show a video, if one is appropriate for your lesson, you can say that the group already saw the video.)
When appropriate, briefly describe how/when & and or why the new skill is used.
Practice of the new skills.
List cue words/phrases you will repeat and possibly even have your students repeat out loud to help your students learn and remember.
Make a list of mistakes you expect. Prepare to maintain a non-judgmental perspective. Devise ways to prevent the mistakes and devise potential corrective feedback.
Prepare for usual questions and have the answers to them. Can you answer some of them before they are asked?
Plan to use your photographic eye. described below by the Red Cross:
"The ability to observe and assess a skill and to intervene to improve performance is often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful instructor.
The ability to see and hold a mental picture of what is being done at any given moment is critical. This is known as having a photographic eye.
A well-trained eye stops the action of a skill in the mind, such as a basic skill. and holds the image long enough to compare it to performance criteria.
This skill can only be acquired by practice and experience.
The keys to an accurate assessment are having a thorough knowledge of the skill, a clear understanding of the learning progression of the skill and a photographic eye."
You will have many opportunties in the De Anza College WSI training to start developing your photograhic eye, by observing swimmers (others in the WSI class) and videos of swimmers with lower skill level.
Keep it simple. You do not need to overdo it with powerpoint, flashy pictures/posters,
laser pointer, interactive holography, light show, f i r e w o r k s. attempts at mental telepathy or Vulcan mind melds, fog machine, cheerleaders, drum and bugle corps, tiki torches, string quartets, brass band, flocks of doves, dancing bears, or parading costumed elephants.
The class webpage when I teach WSI at De Anza College is at: P.E.28G