"New personal performance awards" - Huh?

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Allan Olesen
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"New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by Allan Olesen » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:32 pm

I am confused.

I am a BCU 3* who booked 4* training a couple of years ago. When the training was held, BCU 4* had changed its name to BC SKL, but content was more or less unchanged. No problem.

Right now I am trying to prepare myself for the SKL assessment.

A few days ago, I got a newsletter from BC, informing me that _now_ they had changed things completely. Personal awards are now unlinked from leadership and coach awards. Okay, so this might mean something for my SKL process. After all, SKL is a mixed personal and leadership award. So I downloaded some of the PDF's but didn't get any wiser.

To me, it seems like it is exactly as it was before. There is no high level personal award without leadership, and there is no leadership award for paddlers with a low personal award.

Has someone here deciphered the changes? Are there any real changes?

And perhaps of more importance to me: Has the new "Coastal Sea Kayak Award" changed so much from the old "Sea Kayak Leader, Moderate Water" award that I should undergo new training before I take the assessment?

Chris Bolton
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:00 pm

Allan, as I understand it, the change has been in two phases:

First, 4* and 5* were replaced by SKL(MW) and Advanced SKL
Second, 1*, 2* and 3* have been replaced by Sea Kayak Award, Coastal Sea Kayak Award and Advanced Sea Kayak Award. These are Personal Performance, they don't have any Leadership element, and I don't think there's any significant change to the Leadership Awards - the syllabus has been re-issued but I think it's only to cross reference the new PP Awards.

The new Personal Performance awards appear to be at a higher level than the old star awards. "Advanced Sea Kayak Award" includes winds higher than F4, while 3* was only winds up to F3. I notice that the starting point for working towards SKL is defined as 3 star or Coastal Sea Kayak Award, so presumably they are roughly equivalent.

Allan Olesen
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by Allan Olesen » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:53 pm

You may very well be right. However, I followed the links from the newsletter and in this link...:
https://www.britishcanoeingawarding.org ... nload/348/

... I found on the last page something which looks like a translation table between new and old awards. Here the old "Sea Kayak Leader" seems to be replaced by the new "Coastal Sea Kayak Award". But the old Sea Kayak Coach (MW) _also_ seems to be replaced by the new "Coastal Sea Kayak Award".

Of course, this table may not really be a translation table, but something else, for example a table showing that the required personal performance level for the "Coastal Sea Kayak Award" assessment will be roughly the same as needed for Sea Kayak Leader. It just doesn't say that very clearly.

I have a feeling that the new levels could be described very easily, but BC has done so much to obfuscate it that it is impossible to know what it means.

GregS
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by GregS » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:49 pm

OK - this really isn't so very hard - especially as everything offers pretty much what it says on the tin!
  • Sea Kayak Award - Independent for successful days in forgiving coastal environments (up to force 3 & 1 Knot tides);
  • Coastal Sea Kayak Award - independent in less forgiving coastal environments (up to force 4 & 2 Knots tides);
  • Advanced Sea Kayak Award - Independent in "advanced" coastal environments and on bigger crossings;
No-one should feel under any pressure to do ANY of these Awards. They are not pre-requisites for ANYTHING. If doing one appeals, great. If not, that's fine!

The above PPAs are perhaps most likely to appeal to sea kayakers who want the endorsement of someone who really gets what's involved in being independent in one of those environments.

If you want to get a Leadership Award that's also good. You will not need any of these PPAs... but if you think a weekend doing one of them is just what you need then sobeit: they're there for you to do.

Ps. the relevant Award explanations are here:

on the rocks
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by on the rocks » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:48 am

the changes seem positive to me from the perspective of our recent 3 star (with ms On The Rocks), for which the criteria seems the same as Coastal Sea Kayak Award, This fits with our comfort zone of being independent in up to F4 and 2 Knots. I like the emphasis on competency to be independent rather than being able to be led in a group, but of course independence is a good quality for group participation. We also really like having the Advanced Sea Kayak Award to aspire to (which seems to be the same skill level as the old 4 star) as we build our skills without the encumbrance of automatic leadership qualifications.

Chris Bolton
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by Chris Bolton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:58 am

this table may not really be a translation table, but something else, for example a table showing that the required personal performance level for the "Coastal Sea Kayak Award" assessment will be roughly the same as needed for Sea Kayak Leader.
Overall, I agree that the FAQ document is not easy to read and interpret. It does say at the top of the table "the awards provide appropriate milestones and acknowledgement of personal skills, setting up the paddler appropriately for British Canoeing Coaching and Leadership qualifications", and on page 1 it says "The Personal Performance Awards will no longer be linked to the Coaching and Leadership qualifications as prerequisites but the awards can be used as the recommended level to progress through qualifications and awards. See Appendix 1 for further information".

My understanding of that is that the right hand column shows the personal performance levels from which paddlers should work towards the leadership awards in the left column. They are not requirements, just suggestions, so if a paddler feels they are at that level they don't need the actual Award.

I think it would better if the FAQ was in two documents, one for providers and one for candidates. There's a lot of jargon - it reminds me of the Microsoft Help pages for Windows, which make perfect sense if you already know what they mean but are difficult to follow if you don't.

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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by TheEcho » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:51 am

I think the new Sea Kayak award is at a good level. If I want to take people out on the sea with my club, I want to know that they can handle their kayak OK for a few miles and be confident at getting back in their boat quickly with help if they go in. And it is sensible to train them to this standard for easy to moderate club trips. Before, we had no concise and objective way of expressing this as there were some experienced and sensible sea kayakers who were mostly up to 3* standard but couldn’t roll.

Allan Olesen
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by Allan Olesen » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:20 pm

TheEcho wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:51 am
I think the new Sea Kayak award is at a good level.
My intention with this thread was not really discussing if those levels are good or bad. The intention was discussing what they mean.

I have a feeling that there is a very simple message hidden in all those pages of text:
Sea kayakers can probably now get personal skills awards on the same levels which are required for passing Sea Kayak Leader and Advanced Sea Kayak leader, but without having to demonstrate leadership.

If that is so, that is certainly good news. But why not market this good and simple message instead of burying it in a bunch of PDF files where people have to deduce it themselves?

To me, it seems like incredibly bad communication skills.

TheEcho
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by TheEcho » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:48 pm

I certainly agree with you about advanced sea kayaking quals being useful. However I have been told Sea Kayak Leader (4*) personal paddling skills were in practice 3* level under the same conditions.

We had a British Canoeing presentation at our club explaining all the changes. The guy was explaining that the material was aimed at people coming in new to the sport and to make a fresh start,and they didn’t want to overemphasise the equivalences and differences from the old scheme because he considered the old scheme to be the complicated one and it would just pollute the new generation. Whenever someone stuck their hand up and said “so which one is 1* now” there was a pained sigh followed by “they are not comparable”. Perhaps a separate conversion document with instructions to new folk not to look at it would do?

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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by Fozzy » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:54 pm

In a nutshell

Sea Kayak Award = 3* Sea without a roll.
Coastal Sea Kayak Award = 4* Sea skills without the leadership
Advanced Sea Kayak Award = 5* Sea skills without the leadership.

If you do a leader assessment and pass the skills section but not the leader section you can still get the relevant performance award ie Coastal or Advanced.

GregS
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by GregS » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:19 am

I am seeing a lot of reference to "skills" here... and in a way, I'm ok with that. No-one should be dismissive of skills... and to take one example, "sea kayak skills" do feature in one of the six sections of the new Sea Kayak Award.

One sixth of the new Award includes:
  • Skill: Effective forward paddling
  • Skill: Negotiating confined spaces
  • Skill: Maintaining direction
  • Skill: Changing direction
  • Skill: Moving sideways
  • Skill: Working as a group
  • Skill: Dealing with mishaps
  • Skill: Towing
For each of these skills there's a "We may need to know" paragraph - phrased to allow that there's more than one way to skin a cat (allowing individual solutions) and giving the provider the scope to work with individuals on solutions which will work for them.

Key thing: being independent is about a lot more than skills.

In fact, it starts with planning and preparation and it's first and foremost about judgement and decision making - all of which is more dependent on knowledge and understanding (including of our own capabilities).

The importance of much that went beyond "skills" was at least partially recognised in 3* Sea Kayak - which included Sea safety, Weather, Wellbeing, health and first aid, Access, Environment, Planning, Group awareness, General knowledge, Navigation and Basic knowledge of collision regulations and sound signals.

What's different now is the focus on what is REALLY involved in being independent. This is reflected in first three headings:
  • Decision making - What we are going to do and where we are going to do it?
  • Decision making - How would we like to do it? What might help us get the day out we want?
  • Decision making - Is the reality what we were expecting? Is there anything we need to change? Are we good to go?
THEN we get section 4, which is the skills bit...

...which is followed by:
  • Reflection - What went well? What could we do better in future?
  • Looking ahead - Where are we at with our sea kayaking? Next steps?
Experienced Star Award Providers might look at all of this and think "I've been doing exactly that for years and years. That's great - enjoy the fact that British Canoeing has finally started catching up with you.

Key thing: if that's you, you've been delivering a lot more than just "skills" :)

Chris Bolton
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:42 am

Thanks Greg, that's useful - the point about independence is key, and doesn't come across at all in the FAQ, although I did infer it from the syllabus. I think BC need to test their communications on a selection of the intended recipients before releasing them, as they are written around internal BC terminology. Words mean different things to different people - to me, sea safety, weather, first aid, planning, group awareness, navigation and decision making are all skills.

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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by GregS » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:35 am

Chris Bolton wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:42 am
to me, sea safety, weather, first aid, planning, group awareness, navigation and decision making are all skills.
Whether we talk of common sense, judgement or whatever... there's something we've all recognised over the years about independence needing expertise (easily assessed skills) to be backed by "experience" (less easily assessed as it's often the same experience lots of times rather than genuinely useful experience through which we've learnt and developed).

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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by TheEcho » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:08 pm

Fozzy wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:54 pm
Sea Kayak Award = 3* Sea without a roll.
...in slightly more sheltered conditions (1 knot tides etc)

So in practice sea kayak is in sheltered estuaries and bays, coastal is going around the headlands and advanced is open crossings, which makes sense, especially on the west coast and rocky areas. It breaks down a little for those of us on bits of the east coast where even beginners get exposed to strong tides, just in a less risky environment, but a separate qualification for Mud Botherers would likely get few candidates.

on the rocks
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Re: "New personal performance awards" - Huh?

Post by on the rocks » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:40 pm

Or to put it even more simply, grades 1, 2 and 3 in the Wales Sea kayaking guidebook?

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