World Wide Swim School has been designed to help Swim Schools learn the Laurie Lawrence philosophy of teaching swimming. When people enrol at Laurie Lawrence Swim School they are not being taught by the man himself, they are being taught by any number of fabulous teachers. When it boils down to it, the biggest thing that Laurie Lawrence Swim School has in its arsenal is continuity. Continuity within a Swim School is very important particularly for children’s learning but also for customer satisfaction. If you have worked in administration within a swim school I can guarantee you’ve dealt with feedback from parents relating to student progression and teacher performance.
Consistency of teaching is extremely important for a swim school to grow. Sure having one fabulous teacher is great but what happens when that teacher is away or when children have to move to a different teacher. Sure you are still going to have customers who only want to go with ‘Jane’, but it makes it much easier when your clientele know that all teachers within your swim school are capable of delivering quality, coherent lessons with clear progressions for all students. The ideal scenario here is that your clientele are not just boasting about one teacher at your swim school but all the teachers they have had at your swim school.
Having continuity within your program really gets down to one thing, STAFF TRAINING. It is important that everyone follows the same philosophy and everyone is on the same page and World Wide Swim School helps you to do that. WWSS is not about stifling teacher’s personality or taking their creativity or knowledge away. It’s about building on their knowledge base. By sharing information Laurie intends to develop his swimming teachers so that they are capable of developing and delivering lesson plans that meet the individual needs of the children within all their classes. WWSS does offer lesson plans to help beginner teachers but as all experienced teachers know that great teachers must learn to be flexible and know how to adapt.
Laurie’s tips for continuity within a Swim School
- Establish a philosophy
Establishing a philosophy is about developing attitudes, ideas and beliefs around teaching swimming and water safety. The Laurie Lawrence philosophy centres around ideas like maximum practice time, parental involvement in the lesson, following a building block approach to teaching, using positive reinforcements and team work. If everyone in your Swim School understands and is on board with the philosophy then you are off to a great start.
- Design a curriculum
Developing a curriculum is much more specific. It is about establishing clear goals and setting a purpose for each program with the intent for swimmers to achieve specific outcomes. For example, in the Laurie Lawrence Curriculum we start with a Level 1 class. This class is designed for children over the age of 4 who are total non swimmers and are often scared of the water. The objectives for this class are to get children comfortable in and around water and establish floating patterns. Our curriculum then sets a list of specific skills and drills that children must learn within that group. Once children have mastered those goals and objectives they can then progress to a new level. While Laurie is very specific in the curriculum in terms of what children learn, how they learn it becomes more flexible. Here teachers can develop lesson plans that are suitable to each individual class while meeting the parameters of the curriculum.
- Regularly assess all swimmers
Regularly assessing the swimmers in your program helps to ensure that all children are on track. Are the level 1 children who swim with Jane, the same as the level 1 children that swim with Kate? At Laurie Lawrence Swim School the individual teacher is responsible for progressing students in their class to the next level. Of course this will differ at everyone’s swim schools. However to assist with this process at LLSS we encourage team work and teachers get a second opinion from their colleagues before children progress to the next level.
- Regularly assess all teachers
Regularly assessing teachers is a means to give positive feedback and establish open lines of communication. By assessing teachers, Managers can identify areas that people are excelling in and give guidance on areas that need improving or strategies that may assist their class. These assessments may also help to assist Management in determining staff training topics. For example after observing all staff you may notice that all teachers could benefit from discussing behaviour management strategies or effective teaching principals. Managers must ensure that these assessments are seen as a positive way to improve everyone in the team.
- Continual Staff Training
Staff training builds a culture, sets expectations, creates open lines of communication, promotes job satisfaction, helps with staff retention and helps to establish a successful work team. Staff training can be difficult to organise, can be stressful for managers, is hard to fit in but it is easy with World Wide Swim School.