Informal Monitoring and Feedback
Informal monitoring involves a clinician or supervisor briefly observing the meaningful versus nonmeaningful activities of center participants when present in the staff work area for reasons other than to conduct formal monitoring. To illustrate, when a clinician or supervisor is present in the staff work area to consult on an individual case or provide information about certain work responsibilities, e.g., he/she can briefly observe the ongoing activity involvement of center participants. This type of brief monitoring is considered informal because the monitor does not record systematic data. Instead, the monitor simply makes a mental note about the activities that are occurring. Subsequently, the monitor provides brief feedback about the appropriateness of the observed activities to staff either immediately or at a later time. The feedback is also informal relative to what was discussed previously in that it typically involves only a short supportive or corrective comment.
Although this chapter focuses on formally monitoring participant involvement in meaningful activities and providing feedback to staff in a formal manner, informal monitoring is noted because it can play an important role in maintaining desired staff performance (Reid et al., 2012, Chapter 5). Informal monitoring and feedback are very useful supplements to the formal monitoring and feedback approach to help maintain participant involvement in meaningful activities. Supervisors and clinicians should strive to monitor and provide feedback informally to staff routinely as they go about their usual work within center-based programs.