SUPERVISION Introduction The important function of supervising teaching traditionally fell in the realm of the school inspector alone. Progressively, however, this function is being shared with other supervising officers who have a direct or indirect influence on the classroom teacher’s motivation and morale. The function of supervision is now the responsibility of all education managers, including heads of departments, headteachers, school inspectors and other senior education officers at the school, district, provincial (regional) and national levels. As an education manager, you are expected to provide the professional support and guidance that teachers need so that they can approach classroom instruction with confidence. This unit is intended to assist you to develop the necessary skills. Objectives After completing this unit, you should be able to: Define supervision. Explain the purpose of supervision. Identify the types of supervision in education management. List and justify reasons for planning school supervision. Explain the concepts of feedback and follow-up as they relate to supervision. Definition of Supervision There is no single unifying definition of the term supervision. However, for the purpose of this unit, supervision is viewed as: A process of facilitating the professional growth of a teacher, primarily by giving the teacher feedback about classroom interactions and helping the teacher make use of that feedback in order to make teaching more effective. (Glatthorn, 1984: 2) Therefore, supervision broadly refers to the professional guidance and support provided by you as the education manager. You are expected to offer the teacher assistance that will enhance and improve teacher motivation and classroom instruction. Purpose of Supervision The reasons for conducting supervision will vary depending on the area supervisors focus on. Supervision can be directed at two possible areas that relate to the classroom teachers. Supervision can be directed at the management of the environment in which the teacher is operating. When this aspect is the focus of supervision, the purposes may include the following: checking on the availability of teaching-learning materials, advising on the appropriateness of the teaching-learning materials in use, • assessing staff levels, • advising on the school climate, assessing the availability and quality of advising and support services available to the teacher, • promoting curriculum change and innovation, • timetabling, • attending to the welfare of teachers,
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attending to institutional problems, data collection to facilitate planning and decision making, and monitoring policy implementation.
When the focus shifts to the teacher as a professional operating in the classroom, some of the reasons for conducting supervision would be: o providing feedback on teacher performance, o identifying needs for staff development, o identifying potential for promotion, o conducting quality assurance checks, o ensuring teacher motivation and morale, and o providing professional support and guidance to the teacher. In both of the above situations, supervision ensures that the professional environment is supportive of the teaching and learning process. The ultimate objective of supervision is to improve the quality of teaching and learning. This means that you need to play the roles of a planner, organiser, leader, helper, evaluator or appraiser, motivator, communicator and decision-maker (Beach and Reinhartz, 1998: 11). Learning Activity 1 What would be the possible effects of lack of supervision on the teacher and the school? Types of Supervision A variety of supervision types can be perceived to lie on a continuum with two extremes. One extreme is a type of supervision in which the supervisor acts as a friend and provides a shoulder for the supervisee to lean on. At the other end of the continuum, supervision demands strict accountability from the supervisee....