Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dealing with Bad Behavior in Swimming Lessons?




Sorry!

I don't wish to be boring but this is a huge subject and there is only one way I know how to deal with a subject as big as this appropriately: I'm going to do it in a very formal way.

So over the next few weeks I'm going to tell you:

That you have to distinguish between bad behavior and fear and how you can do that.


I am also going to talk about how:
  • Any Punishment must fit the crime
  • The Punishment must be pool appropriate
  • The Punishment must be age appropriates
  • You must Praise lots and
  • Reward good behavior but
  • Don't reward bad behavior

Now lets get into it:

Distinguish between bad behavior and fear

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a swimming instructor is to not know the difference between fear and bad behavior.

If you have trouble with distinguishing the difference between fear and bad behavior then you have the problem not your new swimmer. Look in the eyes of your student, if they are wide open and even the pupils are dilated then you are definitely dealing with fear. In contrast if the eyes are set and defiant then you are probably dealing with bad behavior.

But it's not always that clear and you have to learn to ask questions. The simplest question is’ “Are you frightened”?

I am constantly amazed that teachers and parents alike don't think to ask questions.

It is probably too vague a question to ask a child, "What's wrong?" It's quite possible that they don't know themselves what's wrong. However it is quite possible you will get an answer that you can work with if you ask, "What can I do to help you feel safe/better/fix this?"

The one thing I have learned after raising 4 boys to adulthood and now having grandchildren is that children's good behavior is not always about good parental control. Sometimes it's about backing off and trying to negotiate a better outcome for all.

So unless it is a safety issue your first response should be to mentally step back form the situation rather than trying to win.

Having said that it's not about winning all the time it also has to be said that you can't always be a Child's friend. Sometimes, particularly when it comes to class management and safety, you have to be the adult the responsible one so sometimes you have to win.

Next time I'll talk about how the:

Punishment must fit the crime
and
Punishment must be pool appropriate 


Enjoy
   Richard

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