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or improve existing skills. To be an effective instructor, you should strive to understand and recognize Box 2-3. The Anxious ParticipantFear and anxiety can decrease a participant’s motivation and ability to learn. These limiting emotions may come from different sources. Some fears result from personal experiences, such as a nonfatal drowning. Other fears may be referred from other sources, such as a family member’s frightening experience, media coverage of a frightening event involving the water, or sensationalistic television programs or scary movies.Anxious or fearful participants often show avoidance behaviors, such as:■■Making excuses (for absences, lateness or not wanting to attempt a skill).■■Huddling (rounding the shoulders too much and making the chest concave, especially when in a prone position).■■Holding the body rigid, particularly the muscles of the shoulders and legs.■■Clenching the fists.■■Pursing or biting the lips.■■Shivering even in warm temperatures (someone who is frightened may shiver no matter how warm the water or air temperatures).■■Clinging to supports when practicing skills, especially ﬂoating.■■Gripping the instructor, especially during ﬂoating and submersion skills practice.■■Moving unnecessarily (such as kicking when participants should be ﬂoating motionless).■■Performing swim strokes with arm actions that are too short, too shallow, too rigid, too fast or a combination of these.■■Making frequent requests to go to the bathroom (most common in young children).■■Being unable to blow air out underwater before returning to the surface. ■■Breathing in while the face is still submerged.For successful learning, participants must develop self-confidence and trust in you, the instructor.There are many things you can do to help the fearful or anxious participant:■■Plan practices strategically.For example, plan drills so that participants work back toward the wall, rather than away from safety. Practice skills that can cause anxiety (for example, submersion, ﬂoating) on steps with railings or in areas with zero-depth entries.(continued)
Chapter 2 |Promoting Effective Learning |29 the variety of motives your participants may possess. Their motivation can come from inside or be externally reinforced by incentives, rewards or challenges offered by instructors or peers. Motivation that comes from the participant’s own desire to learn is the more powerful and enduring of the two types of motivation because it is under the control of the learner. Be careful not to undermine internal motivation by offering unnecessary rewards or challenges! The most powerful motivator for everyone, regardless of age, ability or skill level, is to experience meaningful success. Success means that the person must overcome some reasonable challenge rather than simply performing an easily accomplished task. The level of the challenge and the criteria for success must always be adapted to each individual learner.
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American Red Cross, Lifeguard, water safety, Water Safety Instructor’s Manual