In the early, i.e. the first educational period of the child's life, swimming lessons pose a challenge to teachers and others involved in the teaching process alike. Fear (tense muscles reduce buoyancy and affect movement) is the biggest issue when learning to swim. Children are afraid of water, drowning and unknown environment and new people – other swimming teachers. To this end, it is vital that the class teacher be present during swimming lessons for pupils in the first educational period because they are emotionally attached to the teacher, know and trust him. Note that pupils at this age are not "tiny adults", which is why their class teacher should be the one to teach them. However, this is not always possible, so they are often taught by a physical education teacher or even an external service provider with a valid certificate as a swimming instructor. This research thus aims at examining the opinion of pupils about the pedagogical actions of their teachers during swimming lessons in the first educational period. Their opinion about their teacher's pedagogical actions reflects their true experience with those actions. This research explores pedagogical actions of a class teacher, a physical education teacher and a certified swimming instructor as perceived by their pupils.
The main goal of the thesis is to compare pupils' opinions about their teachers' actions, and identify the differences in the pedagogical actions of the class teacher, the physical education teacher and the certified swimming instructor. The research was empirical using the survey method with a quantitative research approach. It was developed in line with the descriptive and causal non-experimental research method. The sample involved pupils attending the third grade of primary school who had already completed a twenty-hour swimming class in the first educational period. Quota sampling, i.e. non-probability and convenience sampling, was used to select 12 pupils (6 girls and 6 boys) for individual group of swimming teachers, namely 5 class teachers (n = 5), 5 physical education teachers (n = 5) and 5 external certified swimming instructors (n = 5). In total, 180 pupils were surveyed. The questionnaire was devised by Cankar and Ambrožič (1991).
The research results revealed statistically significant differences in the pupils' assessment of the pedagogical actions of their swimming teachers whether it was their class teacher, physical education teacher or an external provider with a valid certificate as a swimming instructor. Two dimensions of pedagogical actions stood out, particularly "Encouraging personal relations and understanding" and "Leadership". It can be confirmed that the pupils who were taught by their class teacher provided a higher statistically significant assessment of his encouraging actions and understanding than those taught by a physical education teacher or an external swimming instructor. Moreover, pupils taught by an external swimming instructor provided a lower statistically significant average assessment of the teacher than those taught by a physical education teacher or a class teacher.
The pupils also assessed certain pedagogical actions of the class teacher during swimming lessons with a higher statistically significant average, as follows:
– for the statement: "I can trust him." Compared to pupils' assessment of certified external swimming instructors,
– for the statement: "He helps us." compared to pupils' assessment of two groups of swimming teachers, i.e. physical education teachers and certified external swimming instructors,
– for the statement: "He encourages us." compared to pupils' assessment of two groups of swimming teachers, i.e. physical education teachers and certified external swimming instructors,
– for the statement: "He loves me." compared to pupils' assessment of two groups of swimming teachers, i.e. physical education teachers and certified external swimming instructors,
– for the statement: "He commends us." compared to pupils' assessment of physical education teachers,
– for the statement: "He makes an effort." compared to pupils' assessment of certified external swimming instructors.
The practical value of different opinions about the actions of swimming teachers attests to the fact that pupils in this educational period value certain important pedagogical actions of their class teacher more. The research also confirms the importance of the class teacher in swimming lessons during the first educational period. The findings could improve this aspect of learning to swim by promoting training among class teachers, so they could be qualified for teaching swimming or be active in this process. Certain pedagogical actions in swimming lessons at such a tender age can only be performed by class teachers. The research on the pedagogical actions of swimming teachers in the first educational period contributes to the field and has a practical value in terms of developing more effective pedagogical actions in swimming lessons in the first educational period.