Back from teaching a Paddle Canada Level 2 Instructor Course

Friday, 13 June 2008
Tide Lesson
Tide Lesson

I got back late Tuesday night from co-teaching a Paddle Canada Level 2 Instructor Course for White Squall . Since the, things have been so busy that I haven't had anytime to post anything until now.

My fellow co-instructor, Graham Ketcheson and I had a fantastic time working the level 2 curriculum with the 4 students on the course.

We spent the first day at White Squall and 4 days out on Georgian Bay which was nice. The weather was really hot for the first two days but kind of rainy for the last 3. I didn't mind the rain as I much prefer paddling in the rain significantly more then hot sunshine.

Teaching more advanced instructor courses is quite a bit different then lower level ones. The students are expected to know the basics of teaching and student evaluation so they are thrown in the first day teaching all the skills to us and the rest of the group. Our job is slightly different as we take on a more of a facilitator roll and helping to fill in the gaps that students miss along the way.

Throughout the course, we spent a good amount of time working through the more difficult or potentially in-depth topics and figuring out what to teach on a level 2 course. Navigation is a great example. When teaching an actual level 2 course, you need to figure out in your head the cut off point of when you start talking about level 3 skills. If you don't do that and just keep getting deeper and deeper into the topic, you can easily confuse the newly intermediate paddler.


Surfing on the Magnetawan River
Surfing on the Magnetawan River

Don't get me wrong, we didn't sit on shore and talk the whole time, we got out and worked on some moving water skills in the Magnetawan River. The water was pushy enough to do some surfing and working boat control along the eddy lines which was a lot of fun.

Finally, another great thing about instructor courses is all the great stuff that I personally learn along the way. I have yet to teach an instructor course where I didn't walk away with a new tip or teaching progression idea and this course was no exception.

For example, one of the students on the course demonstrated a fantastic approach to teaching rolling; but from a more whitewater perspective. For me, it was a real eye opener to look at the progression from a completely new angle. I will try to summarize the ideas in a couple of days when I get caught up from the 300 emails I received while I was away.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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