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

The Instructor Trainer Candidate (ITC) applies to join the IT Development Program. The application documents the candidate’s prerequisites and suitability for the program and is reviewed by the Program Development Committee (PDC). Please allocate 2-3 weeks for the PDC to review the application.

Instructor Trainer Candidate’s should review the Instructor Trainer Development Manual which can be referenced in the members section of the website. It covers this process and all relevant policies in much greater detail.

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. 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.

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 candidates allocate several weeks to complete both the module and any assigned apprenticeship preparation homework.

Step 3: Instructor Course Apprenticeship

Once the online training is complete the candidate will apprentice on at least two Instructor courses under the guidance of at least one Instructor Trainer. The candidate 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 any 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 both submit their own online evaluation.

Step 4: Completion and Recommendation for Certification

Upon the successful completion of the candidate’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.