What is Supervision

Supervision means an all-out effort of the school officials directed towards providing leadership to teachers and other educational workers for the improvement of institution. It involves both human and material elements. The human elements are the pupils, parents, teachers and other employees, the community and other officials of the state. On the material side money, building, equipment, playgrounds etc. are included. Besides these, the curriculum, methods and techniques of teaching also come under the scope of supervision.

Teaching is a creative act. A teacher has to coordinate his thought with action. So the basic psychological problems underlying supervision is to see that the teaching is improved through supervisory techniques and supervisor is able to secure integration between teaching practices and sound principles of education on which the practices are based.

As commonly used, the term ‘Supervision’ means to guide and to stimulate the activities of others with a view to their improvement. It attempts to develop instructional programs according to the needs of the youth of modem democratic society and also to provide materials and methods of teaching for enabling the children to learn more easily and effectively. There are various definitions of supervision in educational literature.

Types of supervision

Clinical supervision:  The term ‘clinical supervision’ is sometimes used in the sense of the everyday supervision of a trainee’s performance. Clinical supervision according to ‘The Gold Guide’ to specialty training (Department of Health, 2007) involves being available, looking over the shoulder of the trainee, teaching on the job with developmental conversations, regular feedback and the provision of a rapid response to issues as they arise.

All trainees must have a named clinical supervisor for each post (although there may be contextual differences between specialties), who should be able to tailor the level of supervision to the competence, confidence and experience of their trainee. We can, however, use the term in a much wider sense to include all professional conversations at many different levels of practice.

Clinical supervision is a method of supervision whereby the supervisor is involved with the teacher in a close, “helping, relationship”. Essentially, clinical supervision in education involves a teacher receiving information from a colleague who has observed the teacher’s performance and who serves as both a mirror and a sounding board to enable the teacher critically examine and possibly alter his or her own professional practice. Within the context of such supervision, ideas are shared and help is given in order to improve the teacher’s ability through the analysis of objective data that is collected during the observation.

Clinical supervision is increasingly being carried out as an aspect of personal and professional development in both primary and secondary care. It is an aspect of lifelong learning with potential benefits for both supervisor and supervisee.

Clinical supervision has been defined as ‘An exchange between practicing professional to enable the development of professional skills’ (Butterworth, 2001). Within the context of primary care Burton and Launer (2003) define clinical supervision as ‘facilitated learning in relation to live practical issues.’ However, Clark et al. (2006) suggest a wide definition that includes a variety of one-to-one professional encounters including mentoring and coaching.

The Clinical Supervision is based on the participation of two people who can be described to be fundamentally equal in being, aim and objective as they share in a common call and purpose but differentiated by functional inequality- the teacher and the supervisor, in that each within the school administration has his/her specific function to play for the good of the entire system. This consists of four phases which can be modified according to the needs of the teachers and the supervisor and the fifth is but a critique of the four scopes. The stages are:

  1. Pre- observation conference
  2. Classroom observation
  3. Analysis and strategy session
  4. Conference stage
  5. Post- conference observation or what can be called a Critique of foregoing four steps

Phase 1—Preobservation Conference: This phase was designed to provide a conceptual framework for the observation. During this phase, the teacher and supervisor planned the specifics of the observation.

Phase 2—Classroom Observation: During this phase, the supervisor observed the teacher using the framework articulated in Phase 1.

Phase 3—Analysis: Data from the observation was organized by the supervisor with the intent of helping teachers participate in developing evaluations of their own teaching.

Phase 4—A Supervision Conference: The teacher and supervisor engaged in a dialogue about the data. The teacher was asked to reflect upon and explain his or her professional practice. This stage also could include providing didactic assistance to the teacher.

Phase 5—Analysis of the Analysis: The supervisor’s “practice was examined with the entire rigor and for basically the same purposes that Teacher’s professional behavior was analyzed.

Democratic supervision: Under this type, supervisor acts according to the mutual consent and discussion or in other words he consults subordinates in the process of decision making. This is also known as participative or consultative supervision. Subordinates are encouraged to give suggestions, take initiative and exercise free judgment. This results in job satisfaction and improved morale of employees.

Democratic supervision is a term used to describe the in-house supervision of teachers in a school environment, to facilitate the maximum amount of possible development.

Democratic supervision is based on a more modern approach to teaching, in understanding the dynamics and natural progression of life. The former precedence of rigidity and austerity in the school environment is now taking a backseat to a newer, more flexible approach.

Instead of placing heavy emphasis on discipline and obedience, this new approach of democratic supervision is more centered on learning, progression and overall growth. It is noted that teacher participation in study has led to greater success in such a path, hence the growing eminence of democratic supervision.

The beauty of this system is that it is designed to allow nuances within the teaching environment. It accommodates for all personality types. In doing so, it stops excluding those who do not usually “fit in” or are not tamed by rigid obedience techniques.

Supervision in this area is tailored to maximize the flourishing of individual personalities, expressions and idiosyncrasies.

Scientific supervision: Scientific Supervision approach insists that the most efficient way to improve the public school is through the improvement of the activity of teaching. “This improvement is accomplished by categorized the extent to which a classroom teacher engages in each of nine specific activities”.

Scientific Supervision has been received with great popularity because it establishes a “right way” to do things and there are no hidden agendas. However, this approach has received criticism from those who feel that the model does not go beyond the boundaries of teacher is student learning and student learning occurs, then the student teacher is meeting the goal, and learning is occurring.

Nine specific activities of scientific supervision:

  1. Diagnosis: Identifying general objectives and assessing pupils present attainment of them.
  2. Specific Objectives: Selecting on the basis of the diagnosis, specific objectives for the daily lesson.
  3. Anticipatory Set: Focusing attention reviewing previous learning, and developing readiness for what is to come.
  4. Perceived Purpose: Clarifying an objective for the pupils, explaining its importance and relating it to previous learning.
  5. Learning Opportunities: Choosing learning opportunities that will help learners achieve objectives.
  6. Modeling: Proving both a verbal and a visual example of what is to be learned.
  7. Check for Understanding: Assessing the extent to which pupils are achieving objectives.
  8. Guided Practice: Guiding pupils practice of learning and checking to see that they can perform successfully.
  9. Independent Practice: Giving pupils the opportunity to practice new skills on their own.








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