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Better Supervision better Teaching

Better Supervision better Teaching: A Handbook for Teaching Practice Supervisors

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Better Supervision better Teaching
    Book Description:

    This handbook is designed for those involved in teacher education and the supervision of practical teaching. It will be useful for university tutors on teacher education programmes and mentors in schools, as well as senior staff in schools who are involved in appraisal and evaluation. It is intended to meet the growing need for an accessible, jargon-free discussion of supervision conferencing that is based on practice and the viewpoints of both supervisors and those supervised, rather than just theory. This user-friendly handbook could be used as the basis of workshops for in-service training of supervisors. However, it is also designed as a readable self-help introduction to the subject for the many practising tutors for whom the supervision of teaching practice is a part of their everyday professional life. The handbook sets out to answer two main questions: ( What is the role and context of supervisory conferencing? ( How to tackle topics that are often difficult to discuss?

    eISBN: 978-988-220-037-1
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. About the Authors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    David Reid

    This handbook makes, to say the least, a timely contribution to the rapidly changing world of initial teacher education. It has been created by a team of highly experienced supervisors at a time when more and more classroom teachers are working in a supervisory role with trainees on teaching practice. In my own country, teachers are also preparing for a supervisory role in induction programmes for newly qualified teachers.

    One striking feature revealed by this handbook is that the basic skills required by the good supervisor transcend cultural boundaries. The book meets head on many of the perennial problems attaching...

  6. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Part A The Role and Context of Supervisory Conferencing

    • Chapter 1 Towards Understanding the Supervision Process
      (pp. 3-10)

      Supervisors have always held sharp differences of opinion about schooling, teaching, curriculum, and the role of the supervisor These differences mark the history of supervision, surfacing both in internal struggles over mission and a more external struggle for identity as a distinct field of practice.¹

      Siens and Ebmeier (1996, p. 299)

      At the outset, it must be emphasized that supervision lies at the heart of most initial teacher education programmes. Supervision is an integral part of the teaching practice or teaching practicum undertaken in schools by part-time and full-time students seeking professional initial teaching qualifications.

      We have engaged in systematic...

    • Chapter 2 Frameworks for Supervision
      (pp. 11-24)

      We have already emphasized that supervision is a systematic, purposeful activity. It is one in which we as supervisors engage in a learning process in which we and our student teachers learn together. Together with the student teachers, we change our professional knowledge, attitudes and skills. In this chapter, we want to clarify some of the frameworks in which supervision takes place.

      The supervision of the teaching practice is directly related to the preparation that we give student teachers before the teaching practice, and to the follow-up activities that occur once the teaching practice has ended.

      Clearly, this preparation and...

    • Chapter 3 Discussion and Supervisory Conferences
      (pp. 25-32)

      ʹSupervisory conferenceʹ refers to what takes place before or after a lesson is observed by a supervisor or mentor. The term expresses the context. Discussion, which takes place during the conference, puts the focus on the process. It is necessary to be clear about what discussion is and how it differs from other forms of verbal discourse. A useful approach is to look on it as one element within an informal spectrum of forms, or modes, of oral communication ranging from chatter, or gossip, to a formal speech.

      Figure 3 1 provides an overview of various forms of oral communication...

    • Chapter 4 The Observation Record
      (pp. 33-56)

      This chapter considers the written record of lesson observations the notes that the supervisor makes during and/or after the lesson and gives to the student teacher

      We shall first consider studentsʹ views of this record, then look at the structure of the forms used by supervisors, then finally we shall consider the nature and language of supervisorsʹ comments in the record

      First, student teachers expect supervisors to make full use of the observation record, with specific and detailed comments:

      The evaluation sheet seems to be the main communication channel between supervisors and student teachers, so supervisors should write down their...

    • Chapter 5 Supervision: When and Where
      (pp. 57-70)

      Whereas for part-time student teachers the teaching practice cannot be separated from their normal employment, for full-time students the timing of the teaching practice within a course is of considerable importance. In determining the timing, decisions must be made about:

      the number of teaching practices;

      the length of each teaching practice;

      the scheduling of each teaching practice in the context of the whole course;

      the number of supervisory visits each student teacher should expect to receive in each teaching practice.

      In reaching these decisions, close attention must be paid to:

      the experiential function of each teaching practice, e.g. orientation, lesson...

    • Chapter 6 The Language of Supervisory Discussion
      (pp. 71-98)

      Our choice of language affects the way our meaning is perceived and the way communication develops.

      There are, of course, other factors like the positions and relationships (roles) of the people involved (participants), the context in which the language is used (setting), etc. A query raised with a person you do not know well could be interpreted negatively as a criticism, while a person you do know well, e.g. a good friend, might accept the query, worded in exactly the same way, as an open-minded, neutral enquiry rather than as a criticism.

      In supervisory discussions, the roles of participants have...

  9. Part B Difficult Areas for Discussion

    • [Part B Introduction]
      (pp. 99-102)

      In this part of the handbook, we look at the topics that university supervisors and/or student teachers might find difficult to discuss during supervisory conferences. The QUEST Project identified thirty-three possible topics that might raise problems. These were derived from: first, a general questionnaire on supervisory conferences that had been sent to student teachers on the postgraduate initial teacher education programme and to supervisors, and, second, the understanding and experience of team members.

      The thirty-three topics could broadly be classified into topics that centred on (1) technical aspects of teaching, in particular, those related to either classroom delivery skills or...

    • Chapter 7 Discussing Possible Failure
      (pp. 103-112)

      Both supervisors and student teachers agreed that the question of possible failure was one of the two most difficult of all to discuss. In one sense, the reason was obvious and was succinctly put by this student teacher:

      Itʹs a miserable thing to talk about … Nobody wants to hear

      ʹYou are no goodʹ.


      However, it is not simply a matter of reluctance to convey such demoralizing news. There are many other factors involved which make the situation more complex. For instance, it is likely that the supervisor has played the part of a supportive colleague, and even a...

    • Chapter 8 Discussing a Lack of Subject Knowledge
      (pp. 113-122)

      Most student teachers on initial postgraduate teacher education programmes have recently graduated in their chosen subject area and it is this that they will teach. The same is true for many B.Ed. degrees where some, if not all, non-education elements precede courses in pedagogy and teaching practice. In the case of teachers who have graduated in a subject they will teach in school, the award of a degree is seen by many as an accolade for exhibiting specialist understanding and knowledge. There is, therefore, an implicit assumption that whatever weaknesses they may have during their teacher education programme, a lack...

    • Chapter 9 Discussing a Lack of Language Fluency
      (pp. 123-130)

      This topic refers to the language of instruction, which in Hong Kong, at the time of the interviews, was still English in most secondary schools for most subjects. However, the supervisors and student teachers already knew that government policy would soon begin to phase in Chinese language of instruction for the majority of schools.

      Before asking why this was considered a difficult topic to discuss, let us look at its importance and seriousness.

      One student teacher of English was very clear:

      Itʹs very important. A teacher acts as a model in English teaching and learning. Pupils have few opportunities to...

    • Chapter 10 Discussing Dress and Appearance
      (pp. 131-142)

      The way that people dress is a highly personal matter and it is no different in the case of a student teacher. To some people, dress strikes at the heart of their individuality and their right to choose. On the other hand, some schools either explicitly or implicitly have a dress code. Some principals, for example, find it inappropriate for female teachers to wear trousers, despite this being acceptable in the business world of today.

      There are also hidden pressures that face beginning teachers. Many start their careers with little money and had virtually no income over preceding years, having...

    • Chapter 11 Discussing Enthusiasm, Commitment and General Attitude
      (pp. 143-156)

      Comments about enthusiasm and commitment are commonplace in discussions among supervisors. Enthusiasm and commitment are not synonymous terms and yet, whatever oneʹs responses to the questions on the right, there surely exists some form of relationship and interplay between the two concepts. Although the concepts of commitment and enthusiasm are often elusive, supervisors are able to detect a variety of characteristics that indicate when a student teacher lacks one or both of them. Having observed an unsuccessful lesson, for example, a supervisor might feel that there are deeper, underlying causes in terms of lack of commitment or enthusiasm that go...

    • Chapter 12 Discussing a Lack of Presence in the Classroom
      (pp. 157-166)

      In many ways, talking about whether or not one has the ability to establish a presence in the classroom is like the issue of dress. As with dress, presence is a highly personal issue and indeed is strongly linked to personality itself. Can a supervisor change how a student teacher presents himself or herself to a class? Should a supervisor even try? Has the supervisor the right?

      Part of the problem in addressing these questions, as with the problem of enthusiasm and commitment, is one of definition. What precisely do we mean by a ʹlack of presenceʹ or ʹestablishing a...

    • Chapter 13 Discussing a Lack of a Supportive Attitude
      (pp. 167-180)

      What does it mean by having a supportive attitude towards oneʹs pupils? There is clearly no single identifiable characteristic that defines this feature. However, perhaps it is possible to describe a combination of characteristics that we can agree should be in evidence. Among these, we can surely include the quality of the relationship between the teacher and the pupils in terms of mutual respect and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in the classroom. The teacherʹs concern for the level and quality of learning of his or her pupils should also be evident, as should attempts to monitor such learning. We would...

  10. Part C Summing-up

    • [Part C Introduction]
      (pp. 181-188)

      The purpose of this third part to the handbook is to bring together the various opinions that have been expressed in different contexts about effective ways to conduct pre- and post-lesson observation conferences. At the end of most chapters, we have provided an Action Checklist. These contain our suggestions of what supervisors might do and what they should avoid, based on what supervisors and student teachers said to us. At this point, it would be useful to look once more at those lists. For the convenience of the reader, we have summarized in Table 3 much of what is written...

    • Appendix 1 The QUEST Project
      (pp. 189-190)
    • Appendix 2 The Use of the Materials in Staff Development Workshops
      (pp. 191-196)
    • Appendix 3 An Annotated Bibliography
      (pp. 197-206)