External Standards vs. External Control
Do you want a doctor who “thinks” she has learned enough to do your surgery?
Writing from a coffee shop in Spokane, Washington, this morning. Margaret and I are on our way to Missoula, Montana, to see our son, Jordan, graduate from law school. More on Jordan and law school this weekend.
Tim Mitchell and Jim Weller brought up great questions regarding the process of evaluation and specifically, self-evaluation, and today, Bob Hoglund, senior faculty at William Glasser, Inc., and the chairperson of the Glasser board in the U.S., adds to our understanding in the following article –
External Expectations and Standards vs. External Control
Bob Hoglund, Senior Faculty, WGI
With Dr. Glasser’s emphasis on External Control Psychology vs. Choice Theory®, it seems necessary to distinguish between reasonable external expectations (standards) and external control. Consider the following:
- Do you want a pilot who self-evaluated that he is able to fly a passenger jet?
- Do you want a farmer to self-evaluate that his meat is acceptable for consumers?
- Do you want a manager who NEVER gives you feedback or direction?
- Do you want an auto company to decide on its own that the problem with the brakes isn’t that bad?
- Do you want a doctor that “thinks” she’s learned enough to do your surgery?
- Do you want a dentist that has “decided” he’s ready to do your root canal?
- The flaw of self-evaluation is… If all you do is self-evaluate, how do you know what you don’t know?
Given the above questions and expected answers, it would seem that there is a place for external standards and evaluations. For example,
- Teachers provide needed instruction and feedback to their students. Without this, students may not learn properly or may practice incorrect methods.
- Coaches correct actions to improve skills the players have not yet mastered.
- Parents provide instruction and limits to teach their children the values and behaviors that they expect.
Many professions require external certifications in order to ensure standards of safety are met; however, unless an individual finds some worth in the external expectations and evaluations, there is little likelihood that he will produce quality work. The key to external evaluation is involving the individual in finding value in expectations and evaluations.
Additionally, it is important for the workers to be taught exactly what is expected of them, prior to any self or external evaluation. Dr. Deming said, “It is not enough to do your best. You must first know what to do and then do your best.” When there are set processes, procedures or policies, rubrics, checklists and other quality tools are helpful to the teaching/learning process and to enhance the quality or self and external evaluations.
When external evaluations are required, there are three factors that increase the likelihood that external evaluation will produce the desired result. External evaluation and information is crucial to our learning and growth. The external evaluation doesn’t “make” us do, think or feel anything. We take the external information and use the “self-evaluation” process to determine if we will use the information we are getting.
The term learner is used from this point forward to represent anyone receiving feedback or evaluation information because successful external evaluation results in learning.
There are three factors that determine the effectiveness of external evaluation?
1. Does it benefit the learner?
a. How will the evaluation be used?
b. Does the learner have a chance to improve the rating/grade or score?
2. Is it wanted / asked for?
a. Does the learner “respect” the source of the evaluation?
b. Does the rating / grade / score mean anything to the learner?
3. Does the evaluation give the learner the information needed to make the necessary improvements?
“Does the evaluation give the learner the information needed to make the necessary improvements” is the crux of the Glasser Quality School Model. Reteach and retest.
Dr. Glasser’s emphasis on self-evaluation and co-verification can coexist with the expectations of external evaluation that are expected in many workplaces and schools. This coexistence can become positive by involving others in the evaluation process.
A suggestion for increasing meaningful methods of external evaluation is to survey the individual(s) who will be evaluated. Questions, such as the following, provide a base from which to build useful, meaningful evaluations.
1. What does your ideal performance review look or sound like?
a. What would you like it to say?
b. What knowledge and skills would be recognized?
c. What accomplishments would be included?
2. In what type of environment do you work best?
a. How do you get along with others?
b. How do you treat others?
c. How do others get along with you?
d. On a scale of 1 to 10, how autonomous would you prefer your job to be?
i. How often do you think you should report your progress?
ii. How would you like to report your progress?
3. What expectations do you have of yourself?
a. What expectations do you think that the company has of you?
b. What expectations seem reasonable to you?
c. What expectations don’t seem reasonable to you?
d. How do you reconcile any differences between the two?
4. What type of evaluation is most helpful for you?
a. When do you want to receive it?
b. How do you want to receive it?
In conclusion, The Three E’s (Hoglund, 2000) provide the framework for optimal benefit:
The expectations and evaluations occur within a positive, supportive, trusting learning and working environment.
The expectations, even when external, have benefits for the learner or worker.
The evaluation is helpful because it meets the above criteria.
Jim, very wise; thank you. The article does reflect Bill’s understanding of Dr. Deming’s work; Deming always said you do not cease outside inspection, you just can’t rely on it as quality has to be built into the work (into the process); Bill is the one who said “Do you want a blind pilot to fly the plane?” (I heard this on several occasions). In all the years I worked for the Institute as a trainer/instructor/teacher, I think I only knew two students who truly could not self evaluate (out of many hundreds). These people had a tendency to self-justify; Freud might have said they were very well defended! But I tortured myself as a trainer in terms of how I could help these two people move toward transformation. In the end, I thought perhaps they just needed more time although now I wonder if the issues weren’t deeper and more elusive. Despite normal variation and no use of the seven deadlies, quality just wasn’t evident so I thought maybe it was because I was more or less “a single supplier” as Deming might have said. Bill had taught us to involve another instructor for co-verification, so I remember asking a colleague to help the student and me. I must say it was a great comfort to me. Time constraints didn’t allow me to access the depth I may have needed to truly understand—nor could I provide therapy in the context I found myself. I do think that cooperation and collaboration is the best hope for “”saving the day” when Quality is yet to be seen. Talking with another instructor—consultation—was very helpful and I was grateful to Bill for establishing that system in America and to the William Glasser Institute Ireland for replicating it in the Republic. I think the questions you have asked in this article are really helpful for the learner and instructors would be wise to utilize them. Again, many thanks.
I agree with your evaluation of the article and the value of the questions specifically, but remember the article is Bob Hoglund’s and not mine. I liked the ideas he put together and re-printed the article for the blog.
I am interested in your experience with the people who seemed not to be able to self-evaluate accurately, and your idea to include a colleague in the process. Did the person know that they struggled with self-evaluation? Did you point this out to them? Or were you still in the process of trying to introduce this possibility to them? When your colleague got involved in the process, what did he/she see as their role or goal? Very interesting.
Jim, In the same attribution commitment you made above to credit Bob Hoglund, my attribution is to Bill himself. I talked with Bill about the issue and it was he who said to involve a colleague. With one of the learners, the consultant chosen for co-verification was Dick Pulk (always an angel but now really an angel so perhaps I can talk about this situation more freely). Yes, transparency characterized the entire process. It semed to me at the time that the principles Bill had endorsed and the methods for possible improvement were the same as they had been for all other candidates: role play demonstrations were paramount, and with teacher candidates, the ability to design need satisfying activities which demonstrated theory and practice, and the ability to answer questions, gather feedback, and generate enthusiasm were all important. By this time, the Policy and Procedures Manual had delineated the qualities the Institute wanted. We stayed firm on these stated objectives. Dick was generous with his time and met with the person in a tutorial stance. We did our best. Importantly, we were fully cooperative across the function of our roles as Instructors—there was virtually no competition between us as teachers. Where the candidate had made errors with facts (information published in the Glasserian library). we gently suggested a re-reading of the text rather than saying “you’re wrong.” We would say “let’s visit this again together and see what you think after you have re-read the chapter.” Both of us were commited to having the person have the joy of his own discovery. Holistically, it would not have benefitted the Institute to approve a candidate for teaching who really wasn’t ready as down the road, we suspected the Institute would suffer in terms of student satisfaction and noncontinuance of the sequential program. We wondered how the program itself could improve and we decided only that the candidate may have needed more time, so we tried to invent ways to extend time constraints. Of course, we had to think through whether we were seeing a “common cause” (as per Deming) or a “special cause” and we had both benefitted from Instructor Marcella Finnerty’s dedicated study of Dr. Deming’s work. I must honestly tell you that, at the end of the day, we would have to say that the candidate’s inability to achieve “Quality” remained unknown to us.
Jim thank you for these wise words…completely agree with this piece of writing. I just finished doing curriculum supervision at a school where they are applying 21st Century learning using the flip model-this model is based on the idea that students watched lectures at home through video the teachers create and answer questions, the purpose for this is that students can watch video on own pace. When the student gets to the classroom the teacher will ask students if they need any clarifications and during the rest of the time students are working in teams to complete various projects(project-based learning). Through this method the students are not just accountable to the teacher, but to one another. The teacher in this setting is known the facilitator, helping the learner(student) to make sure they are on track so learner can have a successful learning work experience and create a real world experience. Therefore I believe the flip model creates quality students who are able to make wise choices as they are held accountable to teach other and gives them more self-worth.
Luis, Great description of a learning process which is self paced and requires self evaluation in the process. Back in the 70’s when I was trying to learn Glasserian approaches to therapy, I would travel to wherever Bill Glasser was presenting and ask for permission to record him (which he always gave). (To let you know how ancient this was, in those days, all we had were the reel to reel tape recorders! which means it was heavy and burdensome). Then I would take that home and listen, listen again and again, until I could nearly memorize what was coming next. But it helped me learn effectively. I would work all day (as a counselor) and then reflect on those sessions trying to utilize what I had heard Bill choose via the recordings. It helped me understand that there could be a uniform presentation followed by small group or individual meetings, discussions, and inquiries and that together, these methods form a learning strategy. Once, when I felt “stuck,” I travelled to Boston to seek Bill’s supervision, so every now and then, a real meeting with the teacher can provide something extraordinary too.
Suzy, what a great story! In a way, you were flipping your reality therapy learning, and self-assessing at every point along the way. Your commitment and focus reminds the rest of us that we can accomplish whatever we put our minds to. For me, one of the most important things that came out of your studying and reflecting on Bill’s idea was your becoming a great teacher of the ideas yourself.
Thanks, Jim—-I will think more about this! In those days, the Institute did not have a teacher in Vermont so it was more or less a self imposed tutorial. This has brought to mind that learning is joyful and hard sometimes. Whenever I’ve learned something of value to me that has been truly life-enhancing, there has been a process which sometimes had struggle, re-trying, tenacity, frustration. I don’t remember much about learning to read (which has had enormous value in my life) but I do remember Driver’s Education and learning to drive a car. I certainly didn’t get it right the first time. But when it all falls into place and the pathways are laid down in the brain (eg when we finally have it right and good), there is something that happens which sort of defies description. Don’t you suppose that really great teachers know this and have the patience to “wait us out” while we are “in process”? And good parents must do that too….
I love the picture you have drawn of “good teachers waiting students out while the students are in the process of learning.” Good teaching truly is about waiting students out, or about getting out of their way sometimes.
Good to hear from you, Luis.
I see the Flip Model as having a lot of incredible potential, too. I use it in my own classroom as I can. Flipping does change the evaluation process, which isn’t a bad thing.