Teacher Supervision Strategies



Teacher supervision is an organizational function concerned with promoting teacher growth, which, in turn, leads to the improvement in teacher’s performance and ensures better student performance (Nolan & Hoover, 2011). Teacher supervision encompasses a variety of activities that can be carried out by multiple individuals, both in class and out of it. The most important goal of teacher supervision is to improve instruction and maximize time spent on high-quality instruction and student learning.

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The supervisory process begins by providing support and guidance for new staff members who are actively integrating past learning experiences into a personal teaching style that is compatible with the center's philosophy. The plan changes as the staff member adjust and develops into an accomplished teacher. The supervisory process should move from a differentiated approach for new teachers to a clinical approach for experienced teachers, and then to a developmental approach where an accomplished teacher and a supervisor share control of the process.

The first supervision strategy that the district can employ is known as differentiated supervision. Nolan & Hoover (2011) indicated that differentiated supervision is a process designed to promote continuous improvement in the quality of instruction provided to the students. A differentiated supervision program provides greater individualized supervision for professional teachers by offering various options for them to maximize time spent on learning, ensure high-quality instruction, and achieve the desired performance.

Nolan & Hoover (2011) indicated that differentiated supervision is based on the premise that outstanding educators constantly seek professional improvement and that meaningful change of high-quality instruction and student learning must come from within the school districts. In differentiated supervision, professional teachers have input and some sense of control over their development on how to maximize teaching time (Marzano, Frontier & Livingston, 2011). They further noted that through differentiation, teachers derive the greatest benefit in learning time management skills and ways of enhancing student learning.

The second approach is known as clinical supervision. This strategy involves collecting objective and reliable data on observable teaching behavior with some type of systematic observational instrument. Richards & Nunan (1990) noted that clinical supervision strategy is an ongoing process of teacher development that is based on direct observation of classroom teaching performance in the context of time management and the type of student learning employed. Clinical supervision strategy is a cyclical process consisting of three stages.

The first stage is the pre-observation consultation between the teacher and supervisor in which the general and specific goals of a classroom visit are determined (Richards & Nunan, 1990). The second stage of this strategy is observation and, finally, a post-observation analysis and discussion in which strengths and weaknesses are examined and proposals are made to improve subsequent time management, student learning, and classroom performance. The goal of clinical supervision is to promote effective teaching through time maximization and ensuring that the best learning strategies are employed (Richards & Nunan, 1990).

The third approach is the developmental supervisory strategy. Zepeda (2012) says that the success of a developmental supervision strategy rests on the supervisor’s ability to assess the conceptual level of a teacher or a group of teachers and then apply a supervisory approach that matches this level. Zepeda (2012) further says that diagnosing the conceptual level of teachers is the central point towards the success of developmental supervision. It is important to note that the most effective supervisors are those who can match appropriate models to the specific needs and developmental levels of their teachers.

In developmental supervision strategy, supervisors do more than merely observe teachers in the classroom; they engage in a wide range of activities that focus on the instructional lives of teachers and their engagement with students (Zepeda, 2012). Developmental supervision involves promoting peer coaching, action research, the development of teaching portfolios, and promotes other initiatives that make sense for the context of the school site. The fundamental idea of developmental supervision is that the teacher changes over the course of his or her development as competent professional and such changes in the teacher require changes in the students learning approach.

Management Theory

Total quality management theory should be used to assure that school district priorities, delivery of high-quality education, and learning schedules are adhered to. This theory ensures that teaching staff and senior management work together as a team, have roles and responsibilities which are clear to staff and that the management is highly visible and approachable. Bradley (1994) says that total quality management focuses on developing priorities and pursuit of good performance achievement by ensuring that high-quality instruction is given to students and learning schedules are adhered to within the stipulated time.

Total quality management captures the entirety of managed instruction and performance empowerment (McAdams, 2006). Total quality management theory ensures that priorities and schedules adhere through a tightly coupled instructional management system embedded in a well-developed performance system in the district. McAdams (2006) says that this theory is characterized by a sophisticated district accountability system, performance contracts for administrators, promotion standards for students, weighted student funding, high-quality instruction, and student learning and achievement. 

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