Teaching the Project AWARE Specialty

2008 is the International Year of the Reef and, in support of this worldwide initiative, the PADI Northwest Newswire will feature a series of articles about promoting and teaching Project AWARE’s specialty courses. Today we’ll focus on teaching tips for the Project AWARE Specialty.

Both PADI Instructors and AI’s can teach the Project AWARE specialty and the recommended minimum course duration is four hours.

The purpose of the Project AWARE Specialty course is to familiarize divers and non-divers with the plight of worldwide aquatic ecosystems and describe what individuals can do to protect them. It’s also a fun way to keep divers active during the winter and help non-diving spouses feel like part of the scuba family.

PREPARATION
To prepare for the course, you’ll want to review the AWARE Our World Our Water manual (product no. 70241) and the Project AWARE instructor outline (product no. 70239). As you read through the material, jot down a list of how the topics relate to your local environment (contacts).

IN THE CLASSROOM
All you really need to teach the Project AWARE course is a room and some comfortable chairs. But here are some things you can use to make the course an interactive learning experience:

Utilize slides from the AWARE Coral Reef Instructional CD-ROM (product no. 70809)

Localize it! Show video / photos of your favorite dive sites*

In section VII (Fisheries concerns) – distribute Seafood Watch Guides (available from Project AWARE) that remind students which fish are okay to eat.

After section X (Marine Pollution), take a snack break and invite students to brainstorm a list of everyday actions they can take to lessen their impact on the aquatic world (cut up 6-pack rings, use reusable grocery bags, divers – practice good buoyancy, etc)

* The DVD Into the Deep has some beautiful footage of the Channel Islands. You can get it from amazon.com or Netflix.

TAKE ACTION
Offering the Project AWARE specialty a few weeks prior to a beach clean-up is a great way to recruit volunteers. At the end of class, pass out a sign-up sheet. No clean-up scheduled? Invite students to sign up for your email list so they can stay up-to-date on what’s going on in their local marine environment.

Award all students with a Project AWARE certificate of completion and a flyer with information on your next AWARE course. As you pass out the certificates, remind students they are now ambassadors for the underwater world. They are responsible for sharing what they’ve learned. Invite them to tell a friend about your programs and (for non-divers) you might want to offer a free Discover Scuba Experience.

. . . BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE
PADI Diving Society Members who enroll in an AWARE specialty (Fish ID, Coral Reef or Project AWARE) qualify for a free gift from PADI. Students must submit a redemption form and a receipt showing proof of purchase (training and AWARE manual) from a PADI Dive Center or Resort during 2008.

(Megan)

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