Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Swimming lessons

On my post about moving to an Indian school I had mentioned that the US style of teaching is "nurture" based and the Indian style is more about throwing you into a pool of data. The swimming lessons are no different. Ankit went for multiple swimming classes at the Pro Club in Redmond. Ashvin got his lessons here at the Palm Meadows’ pool.

Ankit's class consisted of a group of children (3-5) sitting on the side on the pool taken turn by turn into the water by the instructor. They were acclimatized and gently taught to blow bubbles and kick. They played with toys and slowly became comfortable in the water and over months learnt how to swim along. I did think that it was a little slow and over gentle at times but in due time he learnt how to swim.

Ashvin went for personal coaching. I went for the first class to see what the teaching style was like. All seemed good. He was held and taken for a kicking and then splashing stint around the pool. They played a bit and blew bubbles. I felt good and then leaving him with my mom went off to the US for two weeks. The next lesson was a little different. It seems that after teaching him how to kick, move his arms and blow bubbles the instructor threw him towards the side of the pool and let him 'swim' to the edge. It freaked my mom out but she was not sure if this is what I had signed him up for. Ashvin did not like swimming that day and had to be cajoled into going for the next class. My mother had a chat with the instructor and he was gentler - not throwing but gently pushing him towards the edge. When I returned I almost had a heart attack watching Ashvin hold his breath and wriggle his way to the side of the pool. I was tempted to pull him out but he reached the point of getting it. So I held my mommy heart tight and watched him closely. It has been four classes since. The attached video shows a happy camper getting to the side of the pool. They are going to work on his stroke now.

He can swim but I am still not sure if I'd have sent him for the class if I had known how it would proceed. He is one stubborn determined creature and really wanted to learn how to swim but I can see kids being scarred. It's like one bad dentist can scar you for life.

At some $60 a month for thirty minutes of lessons a week I must have paid over $1200 by the time Ankit could swim on his own. For $30 a month for private lessons twice a week I have ended up paying $90 for Ashvin to learn swimming. India has proven itself way ahead in cheap labor and cost cutting but once again the nurturing angle was missing. I am glad Ashvin has come out swimming and not freaked out by the throw you in the pool experience.


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