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Effective Classroom Management

Being an effective swimming instructor is not just about teaching your basic strokes. It's also about managing your class. In fact, you'll have a hard time teaching anything if you aren't managing your class. And that includes planning and preparing your lesson, figuring out what equipment you need, getting kids from the parents, and starting class. Using teaching cues, managing groups, and addressing different learning styles.

To get a snapshot of what class management is all about. We've arranged to have you visit a swimming class taught by Erica with the help of her aide Chris.

“How about we start with the Flutter game? We can use a kickboard.”

“Yeah, sounds good.”

“Hi there. Right now, I'm setting up for today's class. I've learned it from experience. Once the students arrive, you won't have any extra time to do stuff like this. Such as planning and preparation. Organization beforehand is key. This is a level three class, and we're going to be working on the front crawl, sometimes called the freestyle. But it doesn't matter what level you're teaching or whether you're teaching kids or adults. The basics are the same when it comes to class management and the pool is our classroom. Right?”

“So here comes our students and parents. How about every time I use a strategy that makes your teaching more effective by managing what's going on? I identify it, that work for you? Great. This is my Chris. He'll be helping me with today's class.”

“Hey there. Hey. We're good to go. I'm going to take attendance now.”

“Sure. I'll be right there in a sec. It's not always possible or even necessary to have one assisting you like a co instructor or an aid but having someone to assist can be a big help. Especially if you have a large class, are teaching a difficult skill, or have a student who needs extra attention. But you have to communicate with your aid. Tell them your lesson plan, tell them what you expect of them. Use the aid strength to the classes advantage. Someone might be an excellent class organizer. Someone else might be dynamite when it comes to one-on-one practice drills. You'll never know what your aid is good at unless you talk to them.”

“Oh, right. That was wonderful.”

“One more thing. You know how important safety is that? Even though a lifeguard is present during every class, you're still the one responsible for the control and supervision of your students. If you ensure that your aid is involved with the lesson planning and is as hands on as you are, no student will be ignored or unsupervised.”

“Hey there, everyone. Hey, Josh. Hey, Brianna. Hey there, Mr. Stockton. How are you?”

“Good. How are you?”

“Good. I'm good. Good to see you.”

“Hey, we're ready to go. Everyone's here.”

“Good. I forgot to ask, how do I go about scheduling makeup lessons?”

“Oh, Mrs. Talking. Do you mind if we talk about that after class when we have more time? Or you can talk to Andrea, my supervisor, if you'd like.”

“Oh, it's fine after class. I'll wait till then. Thanks.”

“But meanwhile, feel free to watch us from the observation area.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

“You want to make parents feel welcome, but they can be a distraction to you and your students since class time and so valuable offer to talk with them after class is finished. If you can provide a place for them to watch the class but not interfere or be a distraction.
“Some parents may be nervous or excited while their child is in swimming lessons, sometimes to edge closer and closer to the pool and try to get the attention of their child. They may not even realize that they're distracting the whole class from the lesson.”

“Okay, everybody, let's go work in our front crawl.”

“It's up to your parents. Let's go. Any time you move around the pool, walk the class to the next location. Or have your right meet them there. If you're taking the class to deep water, make sure the appropriate safety equipment is already there or bring it with you.”

“Marshall, buddy, we got to remember to walk, okay?”

“Okay. Okay, everybody, let's get a kick board."

“You have to be creative about different ways of teaching. And also clear when it comes to giving directions, especially when you're telling your students how far to swim or in which direction. You also have to be creative and clear when teaching, particularly when you're giving instructions on how to do a skill.”

“Okay, everybody. Now we're going to practice the flutter kick across the width of the shallow end of the pool. Josh is going to start with the kick board, and then when he gets to the line in front of Chris, Marshall's going to push off.”

“Think about what level each of your students are at and what you're trying to teach them before organizing an activity. I try to vary the type and formation of drills and activities to keep the class interesting and relevant, especially if I'm teaching students who vary widely in ability.”

“All right, let's go.”

When choosing drills. Think about these five things:
1. The students current skill level. How good are they at doing the skill?
2. What is their physical condition? Do your students get tired quickly? Do they have health problems that limit their abilities?
3. The intensity of each drill. Pay attention to your students reaction. If they seem frustrated, the drill might be too difficult.
4. Frequency of rest between drills give your students an equal opportunity to rest. Some students finish more quickly than others. Make sure the swimmers who are slower get the same rest as the swimmers who are fast
5. Your facility set up, including space used by other classes and that the available equipment is appropriate when practicing their flutter kick.

I'm using a staggered drill. That way they won't run into each other, and I can follow the progress of each student for a few body lengths. This method of organization in the class gives me time to give each student a little feedback.

“That's good, Josh. Okay. Let's do it again. And this time it's okay to bend your knees slightly Good.”

Bottom line is, you have to organize your class. Your students are safe, and that way they can hear and see your direction.

“Okay. You want to make sure your demonstrations are done right?”

It's important the students see how to properly do the skill. This will help those students who learn by seeing. So make sure the skill is demonstrated correctly and make sure they have opportunities for enough practice because if they don't practice and experience the new skill for themselves, they're not going to learn it. Also, make time for opportunities to give feedback so they'll get positive reinforcement and motivation and one more thing, keep your students engaged. Never let them get bored.

Sometimes I take individual students aside and try a different approach from the rest of the class. Not everyone learns at exactly the same pace. So it's a good idea to have a variety of approaches to teaching a certain skill. You can't have one student and let the rest of the class just sit there because they'll get bored or chill.

But you can give the others a drill. Just make sure it's a drill or activity that they've previously learned. Or you can have a student work independently practicing a skill while you help the others. If you have an assistant, whether it's a co instructor or an eighth, use him or her.

“All right. Let's talk Facing the water. Keep going back. Are you ready?

“Yes.”

Always position yourself so you can watch over the rest of the class if you're helping an individual student know where each student is located and what they're doing at all times.
“Let's go, Jerry.”

“There you go. All right. Hey, hey, hey. You're doing a good job. Okay? I want you to keep it up, okay? Yeah. There are all sorts of teaching kids you can use to get someone to perform the skill you're trying to teach. The more you know, the better. I mean, if it's noisy and they can't hear you, you're going to have to use visual cues as well as verbal ones. The thumbs up sign clapping cue cards, pictures, list, whatever you can come up with.

Then take one arm, take a stroke, and we turn it back to the kick point. Take the other arm, take a stroke, and return it back to the kick for everybody. Got that? Yes. Okay. Let's go.

“I assume that everyone sphere is real and to be taken seriously, that means I make sure every student is prepared mentally and physically before they learn a new skill even students who are consistently enthusiastic and fearless may suddenly become fearful if they're learning something new. So, is everybody comfortable with what we're learning today? Yeah, remember helping your students overcome their fears is first priority, especially when teaching them a skill in deep water. Once you've done that, then teach the skill that everybody have fun today.

Yeah, right. I have fun, too. Well, now it's time to wrap up, so I'm going to have you guys get out of the pool and get your towel. All right, everybody have.

“Oh, she's doing great. But if you want to reinforce what you learned today in class, you can have her show you the game we play with the hoops, or you can take a look at the Learn to Swim booklet that we gave on the first day.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

Plan how you will communicate with your parents. After the class session, you've learned to swim materials available from the American Red Cross that help parents know how their children are progressing, what their children are working towards, and how they can help their children review what they've learned and practice skills outside of class, giving input as to how the student is progressing and what the parents can do at home to assist students reach his or her goals is an important step in helping a child learn to swim.

Right. Great job. I hope that we provided you with enough tips to effectively manage your classes. Feel free to observe again at any time.