Jack's CAS Journey

An Odyssey of the Diploma Programme

Service in Times of COVID-19

The New Gecko INc.

Individual Swimming Lessons

As mentioned in my initial DP2 CAS goals, I have adapted the Gecko Inc. service program to function during the coronavirus pandemic (albeit on a significantly smaller scale). Specifically, I have begun providing individual swimming lessons to a second-grader named Josie. The lessons have been progressing quite well so far, and I have some lofty ambitions for Josie’s swimming trajectory. She has very strong fundamentals and is quite brave in the water (although she does need a metaphorical push every now and then), and I look forward to seeing where she’s at when regular service resumes.

Combining Service and Creativity

One of the major elements of effectively conducting individual swimming lessons regards the planning of said classes. This usually involves formulating a detailed agenda for each lesson that will manage to keep Josie busy and entertained, and to accomplish this I usually have to get creative. One of my main strategies is to break up larger tasks into small, manageable steps that are periodically broken up with productive and fun games. Some of my personal favorites include

  • Throwing and retrieving pool toys from the bottom of the pool (which works on acceleration, underwater swimming, and breath-holding)
  • Two-person tag (a suggestion of Josie’s), which is really quite self-explanatory. This is especially good because I can adjust the difficulty level based on how tired she is to keep her engaged.
  • Underwater hand-stands (not really a “game” per se, but still something that Josie likes to do nonetheless) which works on diving below the surface and holding breath.

These activities are supplemented with about 200 meters of lap swimming per practice, which includes freestyle, backstroke, and some kicking. Later, I plan to build Josie’s breaststroke skills and maybe work on some preliminary butterfly drills to ensure that she has an understanding of all four strokes. Clearly, though, I need to employ all three elements of CAS (creativity, activity, and service) to effectively maintain a fun learning environment and make the classes enjoyable for everyone involved.


General Reflection

Overall, Josie has already improved her skills significantly over the last three months, and while we have recently had a short break from lessons, I know that she will soon be meeting and exceeding my goals for her. Josie is a quick learner and needs only minimal support before she is ready to take on new challenges. Even when she is hesitant to try something that she views as daunting, she is always able to overcome such fears with a little encouragement and some kind words. Ultimately, her strong work ethic and willingness to be coached embody the true spirit of athletics, and I eagerly look forward to seeing where the next few months of classes take her.

Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
    • Prior to my classes with Josie, I had never worked one-on-one before. This new style of lessons required me to adapt my methods of instruction to a more personal approach, which required an entirely new skillset. Developing said skills allowed me to show that new challenges had been undertaken and that I had developed new abilities in the process.
  • Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
    • By demonstrating my ability to maintain service activity through individual lessons during quarantine, I have clearly shown that I am able to effectively initiate a CAS experience. Moreover, as I mentioned extensively in previous paragraphs, much of my lesson planning requires me to be creative, thoughtful, and inventive, which in turn allows me to demonstrate the manner in which I am able to plan a CAS experience.
  • Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
    • Teaching a seven-year-old is never easy. Although I truly do enjoy my lessons with Josie and I look forward to every single one, there are times when it is difficult to stay on track and stick to the lesson plan. In these instances, I have to demonstrate a commitment to the CAS experience and persevere through whatever the distraction, objection, or complaint may be.
  • Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
    • I view my lessons with Josie as a collaborative effort between the two of us. While I serve as a mentor and instructor, I am also constantly looking to receive feedback in order to improve my lesson planning and teaching skills. Thus, I can clearly recognize the benefits (and demonstrate the skills) of working collaboratively.
  • Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
    • Every year, hundreds of children drown worldwide. Many of these tragic deaths could be prevented if the victims had sufficient water safety skills, which is exactly what Gecko Inc. aims to provide local Sri Lankan children with. This clearly demonstrates engagement with an issue of great global significance.

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