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CPC Paper Draft: Teaching Students to Swim


Swimming is a crucial skill that allows developing critical physical abilities, as well as provides one with an opportunity to improve one’s physical health to a significant extent, including training the muscular and respiratory systems. Therefore, it is important to give people a chance to learn to swim as early as possible. However, having built the basic skills of swimming, students often face the difficulty of transferring to the next stage, where they have to swim without the support of a teacher. Due to the stress that the descried change entails, a range of young learners faces substantial challenges overcoming the described obstacle and gaining independence in their swimming practice.

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The application of Vygotsky’s theory of childhood development will help to recognize the significance of interactions in the development of swimming skills, as well as the main reasons for learners to cling stubbornly to the support of a mentor when swimming. Namely, according to the theoretical framework developed by Vygotsky, social interactions shape an individual’s development and the acquisition of relevant skills (Sharkins et al., 2017). Although Vygotsky’s theory does not extend to the assessment of the role of physical assistance offered by swimming teachers, it shows that students want their efforts to be reciprocated in order to warrant an evaluation of their skill and gain the validation needed for further progress. In this case, the consistent support of a teacher becomes the crutch that a learner uses to encourage themselves to continue learning. In turn, when deprived of the specified opportunity, a student loses the needed encouragement and, thus, their motivation.

Another theoretical framework that needed to be applied to the case in point is Piaget’s theory of development. In contrast to the framework designed by Vygotsky, Piaget’s approach centers on the need for students to gain critical cognitive skills based on sensory input (Aslanian, 2018). In the context of swimming lessons and the unwillingness of young learners to transfer to a different stage of progress, Piaget’s theory can be applied to understand the specific challenges that the target demographic faces due to their age. Namely, being at the concrete operational stage (7-12 years), students tend to apply what appears to be nebulous concepts to concrete scenarios. At the specified stage, time and space are seen not as independent notions but as applied ones, which is why transferring from the theoretical idea of independent swimming to the actual practice may be very frightening to learners.

Cognitive and Motivational Concepts

In the context of the theories mentioned above, specific concepts may require closer scrutiny. In this relation, Vygotsky’s idea of motivating with the help of social stimuli needs to be addressed. Namely, while the teacher will no longer be present to provide consistent physical and emotional support for each learner individually, the general assessment made during the lesson will have to include the appraisal of each student’s performance. Thus, learners will feel encouraged to continue the training despite the necessity to accept a greater range of challenges and explore the idea of independent practice.

To include cognitive factors into the analysis of the specified issue, one will have to look at Piaget’s perception of childhood development. Namely, the concept of formal operational thinking should be incorporated into the training session and independent swimming practice. The specified concept implies the ability to operate in the target environment, specifically, the pool, while using the concrete example provided by the teacher prior to the training process. As a result, students will observe how theory is transformed into practice.



The proposed intervention is expected to assist in increasing students’ confidence and encouraging them to develop independence in their swimming practice. Namely, the proposed instructional framework is believed to help learners to be able to swim without the teacher’s support. Moreover, with the assistance of the strategy described below, learners are expected to continue building their skillset and learn new swimming techniques, as well as train the recently developed ones. By introducing positive reinforcement in the form of allowing children to show their progress and skills, one will be able to encourage them to abandon their fear of swimming without support.

Components and Achievements

Although the situation described above is quite difficult for learners to overcome on their own, it is far from being unique. On the contrary, the propensity toward clinging to the support offered by an instructor is quite common not only in students of the specified age but also in learners of other age ranges (Rocha et al., 2018). Given the fact that students are only starting to gain their independence in learning at the specified phase of their development, according to Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s theories, it is strongly recommended to provide students with an opportunity to build on the skill set that they have acquired so far.

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Namely, students can start by using the strokes that they have already learned in order to feel confident and safe without the support of an instructor while swimming. The described suggestion aligns with the framework developed by Piaget, who insisted that the specified developmental stage allows learners to apply newly learned concepts to concrete situations. Specifically, the swimming skills gained during previous learning sessions will be used to transfer from the concept of a swimming stroke to its practical application, which represents a concrete situation in the case in point (Skjæveland, 2017). Thus, students will gain the sense of safety needed for them to gain confidence and learn to swim on their own, developing the skills that are more complex.

Likewise, the suggested teaching strategy is in line with Vygotsky’s theory of childhood development. Specifically, one should mention the opportunity for students to expand their zone of proximal development and develop independence in swimming through scaffolding offered by the teacher verbally. The expansion of students’ zone of proximal development should be seen as one of the foundational objectives of the training process and the transition from swimming with the help of the teacher’s direct guidance to independent practice. Namely, checking that all learners have gained the needed abilities to apply specific strokes when swimming is vital to ensure their safety and prevent any accidents from happening.

Ensuring the safety of all learners should be deemed as the priority of the training session along with the development of key self-sufficiency skills and overcoming the inherent fear of failure. Overall, the proposed intervention will imply a heavy emphasis on the emotional reward that students will receive after being praised for accomplishing the set task and swimming on their own for a specific amount of time. Therefore, Vygotsky’s theory, while focusing mostly on cognitive development, will help students to train the needed skills accordingly. Arguably, the case in point is an example of the necessity to encourage cognitive development in learners, namely, their ability to acknowledge their ability to swim and make the needed cognitive effort to recognize the situation of independent swimming as identical to the one in which the teacher’s scaffolding is offered.


In order to test the efficacy of the proposed interventions, changes in students; ability to apply their swimming skills when practicing independently will be measured and compared to the outcomes observed prior to adding the proposed intervention. Namely, the comparison will be carried out by counting the number of successful attempts at swimming without the physical support of an instructor, as well as the amount of time spend while swimming. It is expected that after the integration of the suggested technique, students will be able to spend more time swimming on their own without the support of a teacher than they currently do with the present framework.

Since a comparison of the extent of students’ progress will have to be made, the outcomes of the specified strategy will have to be quantified. Thus, the effects of the new teaching strategy will be delineated clearly and compared to the present one with clear results. It is believed that a t-test for determining the statistical significance of results will be useful. The outcomes of the assessment will help to infer vital information about the further direction of students’ training. Namely, the strategies for encouraging learners’ independence while maintaining their safety will need to be supplemented in order to advance the current stage of their training.


Aslanian, T. K. (2018). Recycling Piaget: Posthumanism and making children’s knowledge matter. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 50(4), 417-427. Web.

Rocha, H. A., Marinho, D. A., Garrido, N. D., Morgado, L. S., & Costa, A. M. (2018). The acquisition of aquatic skills in preschool children: Deep versus shallow water swimming lessons. Motricidade, 14(1), 66-72. Web.

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Sharkins, K., Newton, A., Causey, C., & Ernest, J. M. (2017). Flipping theory: Ways in which children’s experiences in the 21st-century classroom can provide insight into the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky. Southeast Asia Early Childhood Journal, 6, 11-18. Web.

Skjæveland, Y. (2017). Learning history in early childhood: Teaching methods and children’s understanding. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 18(1), 8-22. Web.

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