IFSTA International Swimming Standards Teaching Course Vietnam, July 2013

By Garry Seghers, STA Qualifications Development Manager


This year I was invited by the charity Hue Help to return to Hue City in Vietnam to continue the development of the program started in 2011, where I trained 36 school teachers to be able to teach the IFSTA International Swimming Standards to local school children. This year’s course has been supported by Nordic Assistance to Vietnam as part of Swim Towards Disaster Risk Reduction and the Department of Education and Training of Thua Thien Hue.

This year’s aim was to train eight tutors while teaching another group of school teachers, then for the new tutors to run three more teacher training courses for 119 teachers and for the new teachers to teach 1800 children to swim from 31 schools situated in the following four districts:

  • Thua Thien Hue Province
    • Phong Dien
    • Quang Dien
    • Huong Tra
    • Quang Tri Provence
      • Hai Lang

I arrived in Vietnam on 11th July working 8 days with Hue Help and finishing the stay as a tourist in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) before flying home on 24th July.

Tutor/Teaching Course

  • The first day was spent with the Hue Help support staff at their office checking and adjusting course paperwork and PowerPoint presentations for the course.
  • Day two: Tutor training and preparation, starting with feedback from the trainee tutors about their experiences delivering the program over the last two years and problems they had encountered, generating useful advice that would be passed onto the new group of teachers. They had a pool session to familiarize themselves with the rescue skills they would be teaching the next day and a resuscitation session learning the 4-stage approach to teaching these skills:
    • Demonstration in real time
    • Repeat the demonstration explaining the sequence and techniques
    • Repeat the demonstration with the group taking it in turns to prompt the next step in the sequence
    • The group take turns in performing the sequence
    • Day three – welcomed the new group of teachers with motivational speeches from the course sponsors. The trainee tutors were each allocated a group of teachers to mentor, then with the tutors working in pairs they trained their groups in Basic life Support and finished with a pool session to teach the rescues skills they had refreshed the day before and assess their groups swimming ability.
  • Day four – first day of the swimming teaching course – the trainee tutors, working in their pairs, had been given topics to prepare for presentation to the whole group:
    • Safety rules and environmental awareness
    • Teaching beginners
    • Teaching front crawl
    • Teaching back crawl

Over the next four days the pairs of tutors took it in turns to train their groups in practical resuscitation skills using the two manikins available to the group, while the other groups worked on their worksheet completion. The day finished with a practical session in the sea with the tutors preparing the teachers for teaching the children on the following morning.

  • Day five – the day started with teaching local school children the skills learnt the previous day, followed by feedback on the practical session, then followed a similar pattern to the previous day with the tutors delivering the following sessions:
    • Open water teaching considerations
    • Teaching breast stroke
    • Teaching treading water
    • Teaching shallow water submerging practices
  • Day six – followed the same format as the previous days covering the following topics:
    • Teaching survival skills
    • Teaching rescue skills
    • Revising skills from the first day of teaching
    • Revising skills from the second day of teaching
  • Day seven – started with teaching the children survival and rescue skills, followed by feedback about the teaching. Then a question and answer session working through the practical topics they had learnt to establish the groups understanding of teaching practices and teaching points. The afternoon completed the last group’s resuscitation training while the rest completed their worksheets. The day finished with a mock practical exam in the sea with each teacher in their group taking a turn teaching a topic for 15 minutes.
  • Day eight – started with the teacher’s 25 metre swimming test, working in their groups with two tutors assessing the group’s abilities. Then followed the swimming teaching examination, each teacher taught a small group of children for 15 minutes, being assessed by their group tutor. The course finished at lunch time with speeches from the local Department of Education representatives.

The following day Mr Hai Phan Head of Primary Education Division presented me with an embroidered picture of Hue City as a thank you for my work.


Overall a very successful course, producing 8 new tutors and 31 swimming teachers and assistants.

Community, Swimming Teaching

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