Why are We Doing this? Cognitive Science and Nondirective Supervision in Clinical Teaching

25 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2018 Last revised: 5 Nov 2018

See all articles by Serge Martinez

Serge Martinez

University of New Mexico - School of Law

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

When, not that long ago, I was a brand new clinic professor attending my first clinical conference, I heard clinical supervision described this way: Imagine you have been an excellent professional taxi driver for some time. Now, imagine you have to get into the back seat and let a beginning taxi driver take the wheel. You have to get her to take you safely to your destination without giving her directions. You need to help her understand the rules of the road and the operation of the vehicle with as little explicit instruction as possible. This sounds like a terrible idea for road safety, but any clinical professor will recognize that the experienced taxi driver in the example is practicing "nondirective" supervision of the trainee. At the time I heard this allegory, I was not told why it was the right way to teach a novice, or what the benefits (or alternatives) to nondirection were. It was simply explained to me that this was the way of clinical education, and it did not occur to me until many years later to ask why this was the best way, or how we arrived at this pedagogical theory.

Suggested Citation

Martinez, Serge, Why are We Doing this? Cognitive Science and Nondirective Supervision in Clinical Teaching (2016). Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2016, UNM School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3099216

Serge Martinez (Contact Author)

University of New Mexico - School of Law ( email )

1117 Stanford, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87131
United States
505.277.6556 (Phone)

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