Puzzle of Practice

After students change into their bathing suits and get their scuba diving gear on, there are approximately thirty-five minutes remaining in the class period to prepare approximately thirty students to pass their Deep Diving Scuba Certification Exam. The scuba teachers found themselves struggling to model the essential skills, facilitate student practice, and provide each student effective personalized feedback within the class period; yet, they know feedback is imperative to student success on the Deep Diving Scuba Certification exam.

Collective Goal

The scuba team united to use peer feedback to increase student agency and ownership over the accurate performance of the five regulatory scuba skills- reaching, arm sweep, mask removal, hovering, and fin pivot. They realized that if they could teach students how to provide accurate and meaningful feedback to one another, then each student would be more likely to receive the amount of feedback essential to their personal growth and more likely to pass the certification exam.

Collective Action
  1. The team consulted the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) model to unpack the five regulatory scuba skills. Through unpacking, they identified the success criteria for the accurate performance of each skill.
  2. The team administered a Google form survey to students in an effort to evaluate student perception of the value of receiving peer feedback and their level of comfort with giving peer feedback.
  3. The team created laminated and weighted skill cards for each of the regulatory skills. For each card, the success criteria for the skill were listed on the front and potential feedback statements were listed on the back.
  4. After applying the Microteaching Protocol with an open-source video, the team selected the “glow and grow” peer feedback structure to use with the students.
  5. Initially, the team taught the students the glow-and-grow structure in the classroom, allowing them an opportunity to provide feedback rooted in the success criteria on land before transitioning to the pool.
  6. To enhance their pedagogical application of the formative assessment process, the team engaged in the Lesson Study Protocol. Together, they planned a lesson in the pool in which skill was taught and practiced before students observed one another and provided peer feedback using the glow-and-grow method and the scuba skill cards. Once planned, one of the team members implemented the lesson first period while the others observed. Following the first period, the team debriefed and revised the lesson before a different team member taught the lesson in the second period. This pattern repeated itself until all team members implemented the lesson.
  7. As the students proceeded through the class they continued to provide peer feedback on the five regulatory skills. Initially, they provided feedback above the water with the skill cards, then they transitioned to using the skill cards underwater with signals, and eventually, they relied solely on underwater signals to provide feedback.
  8. The team readministered the Google form survey evaluating student perception of the value of receiving peer feedback, their level of comfort with giving peer feedback, and the impact they believe this practice had on their growth.

As a result of this collaborative inquiry, 89% of students reported they received more specific feedback when using skills cards with a peer (than without), 82% reported the skill cards helped remind them how to complete the regulatory skills, and 85% reported the cards made communication easier underwater. The positive impact peer feedback had on the quality of student work was observed by the teachers as they watched students perform the five regulatory skills. Additionally, it was evident through the percentage passing the certification exam. The scuba teachers reported their team had a clear purpose throughout the year and an obvious next step was always in front of them to embrace. The success of tackling their challenges together and finding success along the way developed their sense of collective efficacy. The teachers also felt their team’s clarity of student scuba diving expectations through their engagement in the Unpacking and Lesson Study Protocols.