Recruiting Interest – Sometimes You Gotta Eat Dessert First

“Life is short and unpredictable. Eat dessert first.” Hellen Keller

six teal icing cupcakes with sprinkles
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash, @brookelark

Why Can’t a Swim Lesson Start with a Game?

My son goes to swimming lessons weekly and has been going on-and-off for a little over a year.  Every once in a while he’ll get into the water at the start of class, but mostly, he’ll wait to get into the water until 20 minutes has passed.

He tells me that his favourite part of swim class is “game time” which is always at the end of class. Knowing this, I asked the swim coach if they could try starting the class of 4 with a quick game or a zip around the pool with a flutter board, and then move onto the lessons. A big “nope” on that one. I get it. The reward for doing the lessons are the games at the END.

The formula for the swim class is pretty rigid.  50 minutes, 5 whistle blows, 5 stations, as written on the A-frame sign that resides at the end of the swim lane. But I wonder how much more my son would swim if they started with a game to engage and motivate him as a gateway to the lessons? This would allow him to have some fun, acclimatize to the water, and reconnect with the instructor. Its noteworthy to say that the structure appears works for the other children who are way more confident in the water than my son. That being said, perhaps they would do well with a little flexibility too.

Sure, I could put him in private lessons at 4x the cost, but that’s not financially feasible. And, our regular pool is a 2 minute walk from the house.

Boy in pool with only face out of water
Photo by Frank McKenna on

UDL Coming to Life:

It’s in moments like these that UDL really comes to life. The structure of the swim class is so rigid and prevents the instructor to adapt to their learners. It really feels like a manufacturing line of swimmers and my son is the swimmer that is tossed into the “discard” bin.  And, what if the instructor thinks they should linger a minute or two on a concept or jump ahead?  Sorry, too bad, the whistle has blown. Decision made. I appreciate the linear progression thru the lesson, but it prevents flexibility and ultimately prevents learning. In other words, the learning environment and approach is getting in the way of learning.

Recruiting Interest

I use a variety of  hooks and tactics for recruiting interest, but I too hear crickets when I get into the day’s content too quickly. Perhaps, I could offer a little dessert at the start of class to build community, connections, and confidence.

In what ways to do you offer dessert first?

This is post 2/9, in participation with ecampusontario’s #9x9x25 challenge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *