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Theory & research on administrative supervision of teachers, including suggestions for improvements.... More...
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Theory & research on administrative supervision of teachers, including suggestions for improvements.
Introduction Ornstein and Hunkins (1993) have stated that the field of curriculum/instruction is directly related to the field of supervision. As the authors put it: ...once curriculum is created, we need to "look" at, to supervise, how it is being delivered. (p. 201) The purpose of the paper presented here is to examine theory and research on instructional supervision. The presented review begins with a brief historical overview of theoretical approaches to instructional supervision. More current research is then examined. In general, the review focuses on literature that emphasizes theoretical conceptions of those methods and procedures school administrators can use to improve school instruction.
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The administratorthen enters the classroom with a virtual checklist of those activities thattraining has taught, activities said to make for effective instruction,e.g. The model holds that it is the learning ofnew information in a structured educational setting that will result inimproved instruction, not any specific corrections which the principalmight give to teachers. Spier (1994), however, has taken a more empirical approach tospecifying the activities and qualities needed for effective instructionalsupervision. Theories embedded in the events of clinicalsupervision: A humanistic approach. In addition, classroom and remedial teachers indicated greatersupervision satisfaction following principals' participation in theprogram. Most earlytheoreticians asserted that it was not so much what principals did toinfluence change in instruction that produced it; rather, change was morelikely to occur as a function of what teachers believed to be the knowledgebase, credentials and social influence of the principal. Dissertation AbstractsInternational, 49(1 -A), p. Okeafor, K.R. (1983). (4) While there are numerous theories of instructional supervision,few of these have been tested empirically. Hills, J. This knowledge, Pajak and McAfee (1992) state, should then be used byprincipals in a directive and authoritative manner. Hunter, M. The findings were said to support the view thatmaster's, specialist, and doctoral levels of professional preparationshould exist for school principals. Curriculum: Foundations,principles, and theory. NASSP Bulletin, 76(547), 21-3 . This fact is demonstratedin an article published by Hills (1991). Theinstructional program emphasized three categories of instructionalsupervision. However, one fairly rigorousempirical approach to instructional supervision suggested that in theopinions of educations, improvement in instruction is most likely to occurif principals are knowledgeable about instructional technology, havecollaborative working relationships with teachers, and adopt a problem-solving approach. Knowing, teaching, and supervising. Regarding more current notions of effective instructionalsupervision, several different theoretical models have been developed.First, there is the traditional model of instructional supervision perhapsbest characterized in the writings of Hunter (1984). What needs to be noted here is that Garman's emphasis is upon formingrelationships with teachers and jointly fulfilling the responsibility ofinstructional improvement. This notion has received some support in the existingliterature. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision,Spring, 2 1-213. Garman (199 ) refers to this view of instructional supervision as thetheory of consensual domain because when the steps are properly carried outthey foster a sense of joint action and decision making betweenadministrators and teachers. It can be noted here that the situational leadership model holds thatgroup performance is a function of the combination of a leader's style andseveral relevant features of the situation According to the theory, asituation in which leader-member relationships are relatively good ispotentially much easier to manage than a situation where relationships arestrained. The model commonly requires that teachers be given some pre-trainingin effective instructional strategies and techniques. According to Glickman, the administrator functions as"glue" in the sense that he or she successfully molds the myriad elementsof instructional effectiveness into successful school action wheresuccessfully school action is ultimately manifested as high qualityinstruction resulting in strong levels of student achievement. 2878. Research indicated thatthis problem can be solved by providing principals with time managementclasses specifically designed to help them find more time and moreeffective methods of performing instructional supervision. (1993). In fact, Maher reports that most principals probablylearn most of what they need to know about instructional supervision incollege. In an effort to test this approach, Maher (1986) evaluated a smallsample of principals who received nine hours of instruction in a three-phase, time-management approach to instructional supervision. Phelps (199 ) states that educators need to get beyond prescriptivesupervision, and recommends a "medical" model. (2) Although theoretical models of instructional supervision differ,most theories hold that an important element of maximal instructionimprovement is the formation of good relationships between administratorsand teachers. Therefore,according to Maher what principals need with respect to education is somesort of workshops designed to help them manage their time so that they canperform those activities required of them to improve their effectiveness assupervisors of instruction. Rx instructional supervision: Look to thephysician. Once this consensus has been reached, the principal then observesteachers' instructional methods in the classroom. Instructional leadership as collaborative sense-making. Instructional supervision andthe avoidance process. Hunter's traditional approach to instructional supervision is stilloften advocated in the current literature. Barr, William H. Supervision of instruction. The results of this study, according to Lobban (1988), revealedseveral important considerations that provide the basis for development ofa process that promotes continuous improvement of instruction by increasingsupervisors' instructional supervision effectiveness. Through an extensive review of the literature, 287 competencystatements of knowledge and skills were initially identified. DissertationAbstracts International, 55( 9-A), p. (3) Utilizing some sort of consensual, joint-decision making approachto instructional supervision is going to help not only in improvinginstruction but in improving administrator/teacher relationships. The presented review begins with a briefhistorical overview of theoretical approaches to instructional supervision. Over the years, several theories have been developed as attempts tospecify those steps which principals need to take in order to be effectiveinstructional supervisors. This model advocates that principals form close relationships withteachers but rather than evaluating their performance, the principal worksto improve their knowledge and understanding of instruction by encouragingthem to continue taking classes. Data indicated that the collaborative effort wasperceived by teachers as resulting in the highest levels of instructionalimprovement. With respect to empirical work, Hunter's model has had mixed results. In other words,principals should facilitate instructional improvement by effectivelymanaging school governance and by making sound decisions concerningstaffing, instructional supervision, scheduling, and materials selection. (1987). Instructional Supervision: Theory and Research Glickman (199 ) has conceptualized supervision as the "glue" of asuccessful school. (1991). (1992). (199 ). As delineated byHunter, this model postulates the principal as directive and authoritative. Sixteen supervisors and sixty-six teachers engaged in instructionalsupervision were surveyed in Lobban's (1988) study in order to identifytheir perceptions of supervision and leadership effectiveness. (p. This need for clarification of thinking in the area of instructionalsupervision can probably not be overestimated. skill modeling, guided practice, presenting input, providing feedback,etc. (199 ). This additional instruction can beobtained through diverse methods, including inservice workshops, additionalcollege courses, and so forth. Leaders whose writings werestudied are: Arvil S. (4) None of the early theories fully accounted for the experientialnature of instructional supervision, the dynamics of the supervisoryhelping relationship, and the critical, evaluative nature of the teacher-supervisor relationship. Curriculum leadership. References Andrews, R.L. The principal observes teachers' instructional behavior and pointsout those checklist items where teachers need to demonstrate improvement.In short, improved instruction consists of getting all teachers to exhibitall checklist items. Conclusions The review of literature presented here examined theory and researchon instructional supervision. (1992). According to Maher(1986), this preparation need not be restricted to education received whileattending college. Spier, S.C. In other words, principalsshould not monitor and direct teacher instruction but rather only assessit. (2nd ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Burton, and Leo J. (5) Principal preparation is an important element in effectiveinstructional supervision. Brueckner (whosedefinition of supervision is considered traditional); Alice Miel (whoinitiated the idea of supervision as democratic, cooperative leadership);Morris Cogan (who rationalized clinical supervision); and Thomas J.Sergiovonni (whose theory building and integration of supervisory modelshas generated recent interest). The first step is holding a teacher pre-conference in which thegeneral objectives of the curriculum are reviewed by both teachers andschool administrators (principal, vice principals, etc.). 2 1)The purpose of the paper presented here is to examine theory and researchon instructional supervision. Phelps, P.H. The fifth and final step delineated by Garman (199 ) is that ofcritique. 55. Following observances,the administrator then analyzes and interprets what has been observed.This third step is followed by the fourth step which is the teacher post-conference. For example, Pajak and McAfee(1992) state that the principal is the school leader and must show strongleadership behavior in terms of instructional supervision. Whereas Garman (199 ) characterizes instructional supervision as acollective or collaborative effort based on principal-teacher jointdecision making, and Hunter views it as an administrative task to befulfilled in a structured, directive, and authoritative manner, Glatthorn(1987) formulates a model entirely different form both of these. For example, Mandeville and Rivers (1991) conducted a series of threerelated studies designed to provide evaluative information concerning theMadeline Hunter model of the Program for Effective Teaching implementationin South Carolina. On the other hand, Lee (1991) views instructional supervision as anactivity in "sense-making" rather than as classroom observation,evaluation, and suggestion process. Bolin, F.S. Translating this model to the educational setting, Phelps (199 )states that effective principals must respect teachers' autonomy, encouragethe expression of feelings, educate teachers in self-monitoring skills,value second opinions, use research wisely, gather thorough data, providefollow-up contact, reinforce teachers' efforts and achievements, and assesstheir own strengths and weaknesses. Selected educational leaders' perceptions of thecompetencies necessary for professional preparation programs. Inaddition, demographic information from each study participant wascollected. Garman, N. Ornstein, A.C. Mandeville, G.K. Specifically, Okeafor and Poole (1992) summarize the resultsof their study exploring how teachers characterize their administrators'supervisory behaviors and administrator-teacher relationships, includinghow administrators show respect for teachers. However, no matter how well principals aretrained, they may find that they do not have enough time to effectivelysupervise their schools' instructional efforts. Instruction is said to improve not because ofprincipal overview and evaluation but also because of the consensualinteraction between both groups of educators. After three stages of refinement, a survey instrument was createdthat consisted of 5 competency statements. In Bolin's (1983) work, the scholarly writings of six leaders ininstructional supervision were examined. (1991). There is research support for the notion that effective instructionalsupervision and relationships between teachers and principals areassociated. While theauthors acknowledge that principals cannot be experts in all contentfields, they state that nonetheless the principal must be a curriculumgeneralist who understands how the curriculum is organized and how learningactivities and materials are related to instructional outcomes. Alexandria, VA:Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The language of instructional supervision: Anhistorical study of the writings of six leaders in instructionalsupervision. These weresorted into 13 categories subsumed under four domains of educationalleadership: functional, programmatic, contextual, andpersonal/interpersonal. (1991). The South Carolina PET study:Teachers' perceptions and student achievement. & Hunkins, F. Dissertation Abstracts International, 44( 1-A), p. Four distinct supervisor patterns (backstage, collaborative, surly,and imperial) emerged. In this regard,it can be concluded that: (1) A directive, authoritative approach is probably not going toresult in maximal instructional improvement. The principal as school leader,curriculum leader. These were: (1) time management problem analysis, (2) plandevelopment and implementation, and (3) plan evaluation. In this regard, Bolin (1983) has presented acomprehensive review of the foundational work in developing theories ofinstructional supervision. Most of the studies reviewed so far have been more theoretical thanempirical. Thequestion that can be asked here is how the principal/administrator bestattains the objectives of high quality instruction and high levels ofstudent achievement? In this regard, Hills reviewed the"Journal of Curriculum and Supervision" Spring 199 issue from a scientificviewpoint. Asthe authors put it: ...once curriculum is created, we need to "look" at, to supervise, how it is being delivered. Instructional leadership: Supervision thatmakes a difference. An analysis of the relationship between clinicalsupervision and situational leadership: The development of a process toincrease clinical supervision effectiveness. NASSP Bulletin, 74(525), 12-14. Elementary School Journal,91(4), 377-4 7. The survey solicitedperceptions from a national sample of 3, educational leaders who wererandomly selected from the membership roster of the Association forSupervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Pajak, E. Analysis indicated that educational leaders "strongly agreed" thatall 5 competencies subsumed under the four domains were areas that shouldbe addressed in professional preparation programs for educational leaders.Educational leaders " agreed," but did not "strongly agree," that their ownprofessional preparation programs provided experiences related to thefunctional, programmatic, and personal/interpersonal domains.Educational leaders "disagreed" that their own professional preparationprograms provided experiences in the areas of public affairs and technologyin the contextual domain. & Poole, M.G. It was further observed that after review of the time managementprogram by principals from other school districts who did not participatein the study, these principals rated the instructional package aspotentially beneficial to colleagues and themselves. Some interesting empirical work on instructional supervision wasconducted by Lobban (1988) who investigated the relationship betweeninstructional supervision and situational leadership theory to discern thepotential for improving existing instructional supervision practices. Primary results of the study showed that while trainingwas well received by the teachers, student achievement was not affected. A situation where goals are clear and performance measures understoodis said to be more favorable than conditions of low task structure (goalsare ambiguous and people are not clear as to the extent nature of the jobthey are to perform). Here the administrator discusses what has been observed withteachers and together they formulate methods of improving the quality ofinstruction. Glatthorn, A. (1991). multi-media computers, audio-visual aids, etc.), who functioned in an authoritative manner butnonetheless developed personal collaborative relationships with teachers,and who adopted a problem-solving approach to instructional improvement. Improving the instructional supervisory behaviorof public school principals by means of time management: Experimentalevaluation and social validation. (3) It is not so much the principal's actual power but his symbolicpower that influences teachers to improve instruction. According toMaher (1986), results indicated that all principals were able to increasetime spent in instructional supervision following time-management programparticipation. Andrews (1991) echoes this view noting that itis not so much the suggestions for improved instruction made by principalsthat in fact result in instructional improvement. Findings of the analysis demonstrated that most writings oninstructional supervision contained ambiguous word meanings, apparentcontradictions in and among several authors' writings, an artificiallydichotomous formulation of the relationship between two complementaryinquiry methods and uncritically held assumptions concerning theory-practice relationships. (1986). Regarding instructional supervision, it was concluded that educatorsbelieved the most effective principals to be those that understood thetechnology involved in instruction (e.g. Lee, G.V. Specifically, Phelps statesthat principals should consider physicians' behaviors in their field,behaviors that are both humanistic (e.g., compassion with respect totreatment of patients) and scientific (diagnoses, testing, prescribing ofproper medicine, etc.). Theoretical models and empirical studiesfocusing on methods of improving the supervisory process were emphasized.Based on the reviewed theory and research, a number of conclusions can beformulated regarding effective instructional supervision. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 7(4), 372-392. However, Maher (1986) reports, administrating schools requires suchdiverse tasks and activities that principals' schedules simply do not allowthem the time it takes to effectively apply this knowledge. Rather, it is the quality of personal interactions between and amongteachers and the principal that lead to the improvement of instruction.The traditional method, Andrews (1991) holds, has a principal focusing upon"doing things right." On the other hand, the relational or consensualdomain model is more focused on having the principal doing the right thingsto improve student achievement. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision,7(1), 1-12. The goal of thepre-conference is to reach a consensus regarding these objectives. More current research is then examined. Theory into Practice, 3 (2), 83-9 . In addition, the theory holds that when tasks are relativelystructured, there is little ambiguity about how they should be approached;that is, goals are clear and performance measures understood. Introduction Ornstein and Hunkins (1993) have stated that the field ofcurriculum/instruction is directly related to the field of supervision. (2nd ed.) Boston:Allyn and Bacon. Garman (199 ) states thatadministrators must strive for consensus in their efforts at improvinginstruction and that this can be done best by following five specificsteps. Glickman, C.D. In her discussion of instructional supervision, Phelps (199 ) notedthat most principals approach instructional improvement throughprescriptive methods. Professional School Psychology, 1(3), 177-191. That is, they observe a classroom and prescribethose steps/strategies/techniques teachers should take to improve theirefforts. (2) Instructional supervision best meets its objectives whenprincipals evaluate rather than supervise. Garman (199 ) has offered a theory of instructional supervision thatis more relational in nature and less directive. Theirresponses to the supervision and situational leadership instrumentationwere compared and contrasted using the Spearman Rank-difference Method. & Rivers, J.L. In other words, the administrator does not somuch need to change teachers' actual instructional practices as to helpthem clarify their thinking regarding instruction. Lobban, S.J. Each of these theorists, according to Bolin(1983) has widely influenced notions of effective instructionalsupervision. 2674.----------------------- 1 (1988). Theory into Practice, 3 (2), 97-1 1. (1994). Here the principal reviews how well the first four steps havebeen implemented and looks for what can be done to improve the process infuture instructional evaluations. Issues in research on instructional supervision: Acontribution to the discussion. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used toanalyze the data. In P.L.Hofford (ed.), Using what we know about teaching. As Phelps sees it, physicians diagnose, prescribetreatment, and so forth but always have, as their final goal, thetermination of medication because the patient is cured and now knows whatto do to stop the illness from reoccurring. Spier's (1994) study highlighted the importance of proper educationalpreparation for effective instructional supervision. Sense making focuses on encouraging themembers of the school community to examine the meanings they give to theirexperiences and to consider how these meanings influence the way in whichthey carry out their work. Moreover, the authors found a positive correlation betweenprincipals' respect for teachers and high-quality informal principal-teacher relationships. He notes that instructional supervision hashistorically been concerned with classroom improvement, rationalizing thatwhat administrators and supervisors encourage in teachers is what teacherswill encourage in students. Finally, as to position power, the model statesthat, other things being equal, situations in which a leader has positionpower are considered easier to manage than situations in which such poweris lacking. In general, the review focuses onliterature that emphasizes theoretical conceptions of those methods andprocedures school administrators can use to improve school instruction. & McAfee, L. In this regard, the purpose of Spier's study was to developand validate a set of competencies for professional preparation programs ineducational leadership as they related to several areas includinginstructional supervision. Several conclusions were formulated on the basis of the review.These were: (1) There may have been a better objective-subjective balance in thecharacterizations of instructional supervision provided in early theoriesof the practice than there is in more current theories. Weak positive correlations existed between perceptions of educationalleaders about the competencies that should be included in professionalpreparation programs and the reported adequacy of their own professionalpreparation programs in providing experiences related to the competencies.Some significant differences in perceptions were found among educationalleaders with varying levels of academic preparation, years of experience,and leadership positions held. In other words, Garman'stheory does not endorse the more traditional notion that a principal (anoutsider to the classroom) enter and do something (point out areas needingcorrection) to the teacher who is a classroom insider. Additionally, all 85members of the Council of Professors for Instructional Supervision (COPIS)were surveyed. AsGlatthorn sees it, effective instructional supervision consists of theprincipal providing encouragement to teachers for the purposes of theirprofessional development. (199 ). (1984). Participants were asked to respond to each competencystatement with respect to three issues: (a) the appropriateness of eachproposed competency as a component of academic preparation for educationalleaders, (b) the adequacy of the participants' preparation programs inproviding experiences related to each proposed competency, and (c) thelevel of professional preparation at which each proposed competency shouldbe addressed. Maher, C.A. Glenview, ILL: Scott,Foresman. These considerationsentailed improving instruction through such activities and processes as:(1) synchronizing supervisor and teacher perceptions of the principal'sstyle of supervision and leadership effectiveness; (2) recognizing thedesirability of situational leadership training; (3) understanding thatyears of supervisory experience do not seem to play a major part in shapingteachers' perceptions of principals' instructional supervisioneffectiveness;(4) surveying teacher perception of their principal's leadership andsupervision effectiveness based on actual experience with that principal,and (5) recognizing the almost universal desirability that teachers andsupervisors place on principals' use of combination of leadership styles.
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