Red Cross AWSI Communications Lesson Plan

The Red Cross is the foremost leader in safety training. The Red Cross is not only popular in CPR and first aid training courses but it also is the Canadian leader in water safety programs. This page is dedicated to the assistant water safety instructor (AWSI) communication lesson plan. These topics are covered in the AWSI instructor course provided through the Canadian Red Cross.

AWSI communication

Objectives to complete:

1. Identifies how communication affects learning

2. Domonstrate ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally with all age groups

3. identify effective strategies for solving problems and resolving issues in an aquatic environment

4. Identify how to create and maintain a safe environment for children and how to proceed appropriately should a situation arise

Evaluation critiria (C3)

1. Identifies effective communication (verbal / non-verbal) tips for working with all age groups

2. Identifies effective strategies for solving problems and resolving issues

Time: 1 Hour (dry)

Materials: Aladdin Video, audio / visual equipment, flipchart, paper/ pens, headband cards

Activity: Characteristics of Communication (20 minutes)

  • -Brainstorm what makes communication effective
  • -Ensure the following is highlighted:
  • -talk to not at
  • -eye level
  • -assertive
  • -specific
  • -body language match’s verbal
  • -use names
  • -Create brainstorm ideas in a chart format

Effective Communication                                   Strategy

-Eye Level                                             -Shoulders in water

-In the water always for feedback

Review communication concerns when teaching in an aquatic Environment

Concern                                                Solution

-language barrier                                   -visual cues (thumbs up)

-child with ear plugs                               -bring closer, ensure that they are getting the message

-learning challenges                               -adapt progressions

Activity: Tone, Volume, Voices, Direction (15 minutes)

  • -Play the Aladdin Video (song: “You ain’t Never had a friend like me”)
  • -Brainstorm as a group all the different types of communication that occurred (tone, volume, body language, facial expression, etc.)
  • -record answers on a flip-chart
  • -How do we use that communication as instructors?
  • -What was the main message of this video?
  • -point out how Aladdin used several ways to teach one message and how it relates to instructing
  • -examples: visual, auditory, volume (loud, quiet, small / big voice), assertive tone, specific (ain’t never had a friend like me), characters, non-verbal communication, eye contact at level, entertaining, fun, fast paced, colors
  • -kept reemphasizing the same method.

Key points to cover

  • -communication key to being a good instructor
  • -instruct with enthusiasm
  • -verbal vs non verbal (matching)
  • -keep it short / simple / specific

Activity: Headband Game (being specific, key points / perception checks)

  • -Round one
  • -give guesser a familiar object to place on forehead
  • -have class only give vague answers to the guesser (ex:maybe, i guess so…) – five minute limit
  • -guesser may or may not get the answer
  • -Round two
  • -second guesser given a familiar object
  • -class to give specific answers (yes, clear answers and details)
  • -Round three
  • -guesser get a non-familiar object
  • -class directed to give specific answers


  • -Review each round: How did the guesser feel in Round 1?2? Why?
  • -What happened to communication in Round 3 when no one knew the object?

Key points

  • -being specific
  • -process of communication
  • -using key points / perception checks
  • -good instructor link

Building Healthy Relationships (10 minutes)

  • -Read the section on healthy relationships on pg. 3.3 to the end of the chapter
  • -Quickly review the key points list on 3.3

Activity: Break into 3 groups:

  • Group 1: identifies what they need as swimmers in a lesson
  • Group 2: identify what they need as parents
  • Group 3: identify what they need as fellow instructors

Have them present while acting in the role of who they are talking about (swimmer, parent, instructor)

Review with the gorup what to do if a swimmer wants to speak confidentially.