“He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.”
– Psalm 7:15 –
The practice of making pitfalls has been an often-used method for trapping wild animals and has also been a strategy used against enemy soldiers in time of war. Sometimes a man having made such a pit covered it over so completely that he fell into his own trap. Sometimes a supervisor can inadvertently create pitfalls that are hidden and whose danger is not easily recognized. Here are two such pitfalls you will want to avoid.
Pitfall #5 – Neglecting to have students follows the recommended procedures for correcting incorrect responses on Checkups and Self Tests.
Students who miss questions on Checkups or Self Tests demonstrate a lack of mastery of the material. On Checkups, student should find the correct answer in that section of the PACE and replace the wrong answer with the correct one. Once the student has the correct answer to all missed questions, he raises his flag for permission to return to the scoring station to re-score his work.
If the answer is correct, the student circles the red “X” placed beside the question when he first scored the material, then returns to his office. He thoroughly reviews all material in that section, especially questions missed, before moving to the next section. For Self Tests the student must find the correct answer from the PACE and replace the wrong answer with the correct one. He should thoroughly review the entire PACE, especially questions missed on Checkups and Self-Test, before requesting to take the PACE Test.
Pitfall #6 – Giving students the answer instead of training them to find the answers themselves.
The Supervisor’s responsibility is not to answer the student’s questions for him but to ask leading questions to determine the nature of the problem, to focus the student’s attention on finding the solution, and to guide him to find the answer. Supervisors must avoid the temptation to be the student’s only source of information. In the conventional classroom the teacher has been “the sage on the stage.” The Supervisor’s role is to be “the guide of the side.” The answer is not the most important thing – teaching the student to find the answer is. Make sure he reads and understands the directions, (have him read and state the directions in his own words), and know what reference sources are available. In math, have him show his work and check to see that the correct answer can be achieved with the work shown (he didn’t just copy the answer). If the students come to depend on you for the answers, you fail to train him to be a learner. Two kinds of supervisors are prone to his pitfall.
First, there is the undiscerning supervisor who fails to discern specific needs and abilities of students and makes an inaccurate judgment of how to best help them. An undiscerning supervisor may see a student struggling with a problem and may intervene too early with suggestions like, “Here’s how you do that,” or “Here’s the answer’” or “Here’s the Score Key, “ or “You don’t have to do that problem (or that page); it’s too hard for you,” and strikes out the problem or section with his green pen. The student’s opportunity to learn to solve problems has been short-circuited because the supervisor failed to discern the student’s need to find the answer for himself.
Second, there is the slothful supervisor who lacks diligence to do everything possible to help students succeed academically. He knows what needs to be done to help each student, but when he sees all of the Christian flags to be answered he reasons — I don’t have time now to spend on all the flags. So he hurriedly answers the student with Here’s how you do that,” or “Here’s the answer,” or “Here’s the Score Key — find the answer,” or “You don’t have to do that problem (or page); it’s too difficult,” and he strikes through the page or section with his green pen. The student’s opportunity to learn to solve problems has been short circuited. The supervisor may be saving his time, but he is not helping the student discover answers for himself. He may give the answer to one problem only to realize the student raises his flag again for the next problem and wants the answer. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” The slothful supervisor is an economic liability to the school and may lead to the need for additional staff. Supervisors must help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills—not solve the problems for them! “One measure of the effectiveness of any teacher is the rate at which he makes himself unnecessary to his pupils…”