Best Practices of Effective Student-Teacher Supervision Based on NASPE Standards: The NASPE Standards for Beginning Teachers Can Help Mentor Teachers and College Supervisors Instill Good Practices in Preservice Teachers

Article excerpt

Physical education teacher education (PETE) programs across the nation wish to comply with the 10 beginning teacher standards established by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE, 2003). To help further this compliance, this article will give examples of best practices for supervising student teachers using the standards as an outline.

The NASPE standards for beginning physical education teachers are clear and succinct (table 1). Using them as a focus for evaluation in supervision of student teachers directs the student teachers, mentors (in the schools), and supervisors (from the college) to the same framework. It is the supervisor's responsibility to produce the final evaluation that will follow the student into her or his first professional assignment. Therefore, it must be accurate and well documented. To maintain validity, PETE professors must take the time to evaluate (and re-evaluate) their documentation as their program changes and grows. Is the assessment based on current program philosophies? Is it inclusive and relevant to the student population? Does it address all the areas in the NASPE standards? The following suggestions for best practices of supervision are based on previously published literature and the author's experiences.

As Coleman (2001) found, the supervision is more meaningful if the student-teachering experience is linked to the program's philosophies. If a program's philosophy is holistic in nature, then students should be evaluated in holistic terms. Coleman also stressed the need for a shared language to assess the student teacher. Students should become familiar with the assessment instrument during methods classes so that there are no surprises during student teaching. Mentors should be encouraged to use the same instrument. Supervisors and mentors can also collaborate on a common lesson plan. In 1988, Cohn and Gellman suggested that the faculty members who taught methods courses should also do the field supervision. In 2002, Power and Perry were still advocating this as the best practice. This procedure in itself helps relieve some of the fear of the unknown for the student teacher. We expect student teachers to begin with a few simple tasks and to progress in complexity to full teaching responsibilities. Likewise, the focus of observations should start with the first areas of a well-executed presentation (of the mentor's lesson) and appropriate time management. The observational instrument should reflect this focus (Metzler, 1990). Supervisors can start with a check-list that includes the areas of clear presentation, demonstration, and feedback. Later, the feedback, for instance, can be converted to a percentage of positive to negative and specific to general. Another method would be to use a comprehensive instrument like the "Student-Teaching Observation Form" (figure 1), choosing a few key areas to observe during the first few weeks, and expanding to the full instrument as the students write their own lesson plans and take over the management of their classes. Whatever observational instruments are used, supervisors should make sure all the NASPE standards are included.

Standards One and Two

The first standard that NASPE addresses is content knowledge. In many states, this is generally assessed in the national Praxis II exam or a state exam. However, the value and extent of students' content knowledge is discovered when they begin to teach whatever the mentor teacher asks them to teach. If they are asked to teach an activity not covered in a college course, the supervisor should help them find resources: books, videos, or web sites. As Schilling (1998) suggests, supervisors should maintain a lending library that might include activity books as well as sample lesson plans. The assessment of this area during formal observation should be done during the task presentation as well as when appropriate feedback is expected to be given. …