The Sea Company

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


In role as divers, I reminded the children that it was time for the yearly exam to renew their divers’ licences. They had to sit a three part test: oral, written and practical. I asked the children to place themselves on a line continuum to show how they felt about the test- one end was ‘very confident’, the other ‘very unconfident’. It was interesting to see the range of feelings – they were pretty much spaced out along the line, with a small cluster at each end. They were very articulate in their responses and very much in role when I asked some of them why they had placed themselves in that position on the line. I then told them to get ready for the arrival of Paula Smith, chief diving instructor (me in role with a clipboard!). (Would have been better to have another adult but none were available!) Ms Smith asked the divers to sit at their tables for the oral part of the test – they were each to name a sea creature they might see when on a dive (extra points given for a creature that no-one else had thought of). Their answers were knowlegable and varied and they were already taking the test seriously. The written test was to draw and label 3 pieces of divers equipment – they worked in complete silence as, again they showed their already growing expertise about their work.

For the practical part of the test we went into the flotation tank room (curtains drawn and lights off to help create the atmosphere). First the divers had to demonstrate their knowledge of signals .Then teams of divers had to demonstrate their skills in the tank: each diver had only 1 minute of oxygen in his/her tank. After 20 seconds radio signals break down; after 40 seconds one of the divers (pre-chosen) gets into trouble and the rest of the team have 20 seconds to rescue them. Each team worked really well together on this – again a great atmosphere (did get a bit ‘samey’ by the time we got to the 5th team though!!).

I finished the session with a bit of a ritual, which the children loved - announcing that all the divers had passed their tests, shaking their hands one by one and awarding them with their new licence certificates.


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