Collaborative Planning: Ideas for the Clinical Educator & Student Clinician

Most would agree that post-session or feedback conferences with students are a vital part of the learning process. Less often do we think of having pre-session planning conferences with students, where the conference focuses on their skill development.

Here we look at a framework for such a planning conference.

Components of the Planning Conference (Acheson & Gall, 1980):

  1. identify student clinician’s concerns about the up-coming session. E.g. “How did the last session go?” “Did you find you had more success in one area than another?” “Are there any aspects of your therapy/assessment techniques we should take a look at in this session?”
  2. translate these concerns into observable behaviour E.g. If the student’s concern is “I wasn’t able to manage Billy’s behaviour and I think he sensed I was annoyed”, help her translate that concern into observable form, e.g.,” last time he did not attend to the book or board game, but did respond to the activity with the cars and garage. I could hear in your tone of voice that you seemed annoyed or frustrated”
  3. identify procedures for improving instruction. E.g. “Since he responded better to the activity where he had more motor involvement, include more activities like this. If you sense that you are getting frustrated, this could be a signal that he is frustrated too and it is time to change the task – what other tasks do you think would work?”
  4. Arrange the details of the observation. E.g. “What would you like me to record during this session that will help you with this?” (could be verbatim transcript of a segment of the session; could include recording of the type of feedback student clinician is giving the child; could include videotaping the session so that both can review after and count on-task behaviours and watch for indicators of student clinician’s feelings – i.e., facial expression, tone of voice etc.)

What strategies do you find work well ? Let us know


Acheson, K. and Gall, M. (1980). Techniques in the Clinical Supervision of Teachers, New York: Longman, Inc.