Supervising PETE Candidates Using the Situational Supervision Model: The Type of Supervision Should Be Adapted to the Teacher Candidate's Level of Competence and Need for Motivation

Article excerpt

Physical education teacher candidates (TCs), as part of their curricular requirements, often engage in early field experiences that prepare them for student teaching. The goal is to provide practical application of classroom theory early in the TCs' academic career by giving them opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world educational setting. To maximize the quality of the teaching experience, these early field experiences should be supervised by university and school personnel (O'Sullivan & Tsangaridou, 1992).

Randall (1992) asserted that, while supervision is important, students and their supervisors have a poor understanding of the supervision process. Most of the research has focused on supervising student teachers enrolled in their final practical experience (Cartaut & Bertone, 2009; Crasborn, Hennissen, Brouwer, Korthagen, & Bergen, 2008; Harari, 1993; Hennissen, Crasborn, Brouwer, Korthagen, & Bergen, 2010; Schilling, 1998; Schmitz, 2002; Siedentop, 1981; Smith, 1993; Smith, 1992) and has not offered information about how to train mentor teachers to supervise TCs in early field experiences. The purpose of this article is to present a model of supervision that can be used in all practical experiences associated with physical education teacher preparation programs.

Situational Supervision Model

Situational supervision (Levy, 2004; Levy et al., 2009) is based on the situational leadership model created by Blanchard, Zigarmi, and Zigarmi (1985). The situational supervision model (SSM) promotes a supervision style that can be tailored to meet each TC's needs. This can help TCs to gain a better understanding of practical-experience expectations, resulting in greater satisfaction for both the mentor teacher and the TC (Levy, 2004; Levy et al., 2009). When using this model, the supervisor varies the supervision style according to the TC's level of teaching and motivation to succeed. Each TC's ability to progress through the model depends on the amount of direction and motivation needed by the TC and provided by the mentor teacher. Ideally, a TC in his or her first field experience will most likely possess less teaching expertise, and therefore should be supervised differently, than a TC in his or her final student-teaching experience. Ultimately, however, the individual TC's developmental level determines the supervision style.

The SSM is divided into four developmental quadrants through which TCs travel, typically beginning in the lower right quadrant, progressing counterclockwise to complete the journey in the lower left quadrant (figure 1). As a TC learns new teaching skills, he or she is encouraged to practice those skills. When asked to use a skill in a practical setting, the Eager Novice TC is excited and anxious to show what he or she knows. This stage is represented by the first developmental quadrant, or Dl. Realizing that more practice is needed to refine teaching skills may cause this TC to experience feelings of low self-confidence, which moves the TC to a D2 developmental stage, or Early Competence. As the TC becomes more experienced and more knowledgeable in teaching specific skills, he or she moves into the Situationally Proficient stage, or D3 quadrant. Finally, as the TC becomes more comfortable and proficient in the role of teacher, he or she moves into the Autonomous Learner stage, or D4 quadrant.


Situational supervision calls for mentors to match their supervision style to each of the TC's developmental levels. A TC who is in the Eager Novice (D1) level should be supervised by a mentor using a Directing (S1) supervision style. This style requires the mentor to provide clear, precise explanations and feedback. A TC who is in the Early Competence (D2) stage should be supervised by a mentor using a Coaching (S2) supervision style. Here, the supervisor guides the student through difficult or challenging tasks. …