I just returned from taking my daughters (age 4 and 1) to their weekly swimming lesson. I love the swim school (Hubbard) and I just figured out why. This swim program and these swim teachers have a better grasp of behavior management and learning principals then many teachers in our school system today.
Here are my arguments to support this assertion:
- Fading – when first teaching a skill, teachers use physical prompts and supports to keep students afloat and then gradually fade to partial-physical, verbal, and gestural prompts, until the student demonstrates a skill independently.
- Shaping – teachers begin the journey of teaching students to swim across the pool by first asking them to swim 1′, then 2′, then progressively extending the distance as the student experiences success until they can swim from wall to wall.
- Task Analysis – teachers break down all skills into their component parts and teach the students each step in systematic and consistent manner. Even when a substitute teacher is brought in, the sequence remains the same for the student.
- Positive Reinforcement – not only do teachers reinforce students verbally at a very frequent rate, but students also receive award ribbons and their name (along with the skill they mastered) are announced for the whole pool to hear.
Imagine if every one of our teachers had these skills and tools for teaching our students?
If you’re a teacher or principal, a university instructor, or you work in any segment of education I’m interested to hear your take on this. Am I way off or do all teachers need more training in basic principals of behavior management?