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Students having fun on a moving water canoe course on the Kananaskis River, AB.
Location: Kananaskis River, Alberta. Photo credit:

Paddle Canada Instructor Trainer Certification

The role of the Paddle Canada Instructor Trainer is to teach others how to teach, inspire and manage groups both on and off the water.

Instructor Trainers represent the pinnacle of instruction certification in Canada and are senior leaders within the paddlesports instruction community and thus can administer and assess on instructor courses and individual mentorship.

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It is critical for Instructor Trainers to remain active and current, as it is their knowledge, skills and experience that is passed down to instructors, and from there to students.

Attributes of an Instructor Trainer

These attributes are to be encouraged and assessed during the Instructor Trainer development process:

  • Commitment to Paddle Canada with a spirit of cooperation and participation in the development of the Paddle Canada programs.
  • A clear and thorough understanding of the various Paddle Canada programs.
  • Commitment to continued education and training in paddling, teaching and coaching.
  • Recognition of their own limitations and providing the opportunity for mutual learning between the mentor and the apprentice.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in the overall delivery of a full course of instruction or mentorship.
  • Excellence in maintenance of all course records and correspondence with Paddle Canada, paddlers, instructors and apprentices.
  • Demonstrate competence in developing course outlines and lesson plans.
  • Demonstrate alternative teaching styles to address a variety of learners.
  • Maintain and adapt good class management.
  • Structure individual teaching and coaching sessions.
  • Be objective with all participants.
  • Identify and communicate benchmarks for achievement with clear processes for assessment and evaluation.
  • Provide ongoing individual feedback about overall success and failure in the program and provide a constructive final debriefing for each individual at the end of a course.

Instructor Trainer Development Process

Instructor Trainer certification is achieved through a four-step development and training process.

Step 1: Application

There are two ways to become an Instructor Trainer. The traditional method involves completing all of the prerequisites and the online IT training before apprenticing with one or more IT mentors.

Alternatively, existing Paddle Canada ITs can transfer their IT certification to another stream, if they meet all prerequisites stated in the stream’s manual.

In either case, the process starts by completing the application. It documents the candidate’s prerequisites and suitability for the program and is reviewed by the Program Committee (PC). Please allow 2-3 weeks for the Program Committee to review the application.

Start the Application Process

Step 2: Online Training

Once accepted into the program, the IT Candidate will complete the Instructor Trainer Development online training module for the level of certification they seek. This mandatory step readies the candidate for the next stage of the training process, apprenticeship. The training module consists of assigned readings and video viewings, followed by a test of the material. ITs who have already successfully completed the appropriate level of online training module do not need to complete it a second time.

Please note that it is important to allocate enough time to complete this important step as any apprenticeships undertaken before completion of the online training module will not count in the overall development process. For that reason, we suggest the ITC allocate several weeks to complete both the module and any assigned apprenticeship preparation homework.

Step 3: Instructor Course Apprenticeship

This step does not apply to existing ITs transferring their certification to another stream, in recognition of the IT training they received previously with Paddle Canada.

Once the online training is complete the ITC will apprentice on at least two Instructor courses under the guidance of at least one Instructor Trainer. The ITC will normally act as a helpful assistant on the first course then take a significant leadership role in the second course.

Please note that specific disciplines might have slightly different requirements for this process so refer to the discipline’s program manual for specific requirements.

Given the flexibility and personal nature of a mentorship, it is essential that all apprenticeships are clearly described and well understood by the Mentor and the IT Candidate. The success of the mentor-candidate relationship is beneficial to both parties and the quality of training relies on mutual respect, cooperation and commitment to the overall process. Frequently the IT candidate will work with more than one instructor trainer and in more than one region of Canada. Good communication and record-keeping are essential and both the IT Candidate and the mentor should keep a written record of all aspects of their participation in an apprenticeship.

After each course apprenticeship is completed, the instructor trainer(s) will submit an evaluation form online. If more than one instructor trainer is involved with the assessment, they will each submit their own online evaluation.

Step 4: Completion and Recommendation for Certification

Upon the successful completion of the ITC’s apprenticeship stage, the IT mentor(s) will submit their recommendation for instructor trainer certification, on behalf of the candidate, to the Paddle Canada head office.