Section 2: Teaching to recognize Uncertainty - Page
6 of 13 Self-Study Guide | OUTLINE | INDEX | Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4 |Section 5 | REVIEW |
Developing an "intuitive understanding" of crossing time
It took me more than a decade to realize that most people have difficulty recognizing Situations of Uncertainty unless they have an "intuitive understanding" of their crossing time -- a functional, gut-level cognitive understanding of the passing of time that they need to cross.
This intuitive understanding of crossing time also helps students who are learning to judge gaps in traffic (covered in Section 4)
and I've discovered that it is helpful for learning to cross signalized intersections as well (if you want to see an example, you can click here).
So before teaching students to recognize Situations of Uncertainty, I help them develop that untuitive understanding of their crossing time.
I was amazed that students do not develop this "intuitive understanding" of crossing time by crossing the street, even if you tell them how many seconds the crossing time is!
Isn't that astonishing?
The story of how I discovered that is shared in Vignette #1, and
my observations were supported with research by Dr. Shirin Hassan.
However, students can develop this intuitive understanding with the following exercise, which normally takes only about 5 minutes.
When / how to apply this skill:
Students should develop an intuitive understanding of their crossing time for streets of various widths.
With this skill, they'll understand (on a "gut" level) how much time they need to cross any street, once they determine how wide it is.
They should realize that they may naturally walk faster across streets that seem dangerous than they do at quiet residential streets.
Some students seem to retain this skill indefinitely, but some need to renew it.
I've found that if students have trouble in subsequent lessons comparing warning time of approaching vehicles with their crossing time or recognizing Situations of Uncertainty, it is helpful for them to review their intuitive understanding of crossing time for streets of that width.
Exercise for Developing Intutitive Understanding of crossing time
This is the procedure I use to help students develop an intuitive understanding of their crossing time:
Once the student knows how wide the street is and how much time is needed to cross it (or to cross the equivalent distance, such as in the parking lot shown in the photos to the right),
** IMPORTANT NOTE: When students are learning to judge the time needed to cross, they should not be simply counting the seconds, just as they should not be counting steps when they are learning to judge distances.
Although some students enjoy the challenge of accurately measuring the passage of time and seconds (and doing so can be a fun additional exercise for these students), it is more important that they develop an intuitive understanding of the passing of time during their crossings.
This will allow them to make crossing judgments naturally and spontaneously, as most people do, rather than having to concentrate on counting or timing.