Learning to navigate a raft down a river with class 1, 2, and 3 rapids follows the same rules as controlling all vessels. Whether the vessel is a sailboat, a ski, or a car.
(1) Make sure your equipment is in good condition.
(2) Wear proper safety gear and know how to self rescue.
(3) Point the bow in the direction you want to go.
(4) Stay away from hard objects.
As a bonus to make the trip more enjoyable consider the use of a non-verbal system of communication. Of course, you can always elect to be the captain of your own ship. If you are inclined to sail with a group I challenge you to submit your idea on how to quell the bellowing commands from astern and unintelligle verbage from the bow that echoes in the ears of the middle men (especially the aging ones) in favor of a more melodic communicae with all aboard. The chosen system will receive a free t-shirt from the Nanthahala Outdoor Center. This t-shirt will be complements of yours truly, email@example.com
Consider the Nanthahala River for your first, second or hundredth river rafting experience. They have guided trips, as well as self-operated rentals for groups, duos and solo rafters.