This is my first blog post, so i thought it would be appropriate to start out with the first thing that people ask when I tell them I am an ISR Instructor:
"ISR, those are the lessons where you just throw them in the water, right?"
I understand where You get this from. Most of you have seen videos on you-tube of ISR-Skilled children, fully clothed, being placed in the water in various positions - face down, face up, feet over head. These videos can appear shocking if you don't know what you're looking at. What is left out of these videos is the fact that it is one of the child's last lessons. Every child goes through an average of 6 to 8 weeks of lessons, 5 days per week. how a child's first ISR lesson and last ISR lesson looks is a world of difference.
ISR is taught using the principles of sensorimotor learning, that is, allowing the child to physically engage his environment - to notice what works and what doesn't work. He learns to either repeat the behavior, or not, depending on the outcome.
Does this sound familiar?
If you've seen a child learn to sit, crawl, or walk, you have witnessed sensorimotor learning. That baby did not just get up and walk one day, just like children in isr lessons don't just flip over and float when we put them in the water. That final result, those 10 steps you saw that baby take are a result of him practicing and figuring out the proper way to do it.... And how not to do it. He learns that if he leans to one side too much, he will fall; that if he doesn't lift his foot enough, he will trip. His motor (muscle) activity causes sensory input, and he either succeeds (by staying upright), or fails (by falling) .
Of course, the water can be seen as a dangerous place for trial and error. That is why, with ISR, every child is in the water with an instructor who is trained to allow him to safely engage his environment - To learn what works, and what doesn't.
The videos below show one child's first ISR Lesson, and 7th ISR lesson. Notice the level of independence that is emerging through safe, slow, guided instruction by his highly trained instructor.
The first few lessons typically consist of allowing the student to gain his instructor's trust. The student learns that his instructor is his security, until he can learn to float or attain the side of the pool. The instructor guides the child (In the case of learning to float) to trust that the water will float him if he assumes the correct posture. tasks are presented in small, achievable increments, and the child is reinforced for even the smallest approximation of the correct behavior. each tiny skill is practiced.....and practiced.....and practiced.....and practiced again. The next skill builds on the previous skill. What you see in the videos is the end result of these small approximations being practiced and put together over the duration of 6 to 8 weeks. baby steps... if you will.
The result? a child with confidence backed up by competence in the water.
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