Rethinking Instructional Supervision: Notes on Its Language and Culture

Rethinking Instructional Supervision: Notes on Its Language and Culture

Rethinking Instructional Supervision: Notes on Its Language and Culture

Rethinking Instructional Supervision: Notes on Its Language and Culture

Excerpt

The field of supervision in education has a long history in the United States dating back more than one hundred years. Early attempts to closely monitor curriculum and instruction, even though geographic distances in rural areas made close control virtually impossible, and the influence of Frederick Taylor's industrial logic on educational administration during the early twentieth century, are often cited as evidence that supervision in education is inherently hierarchical and opposed to egalitarian values.

For some reason, the strong and clearly voiced dedication to principles of democracy, decentralization, and cooperative problem solving among pioneering supervision authors, such as Edward C. Elliott and James Fleming Hosic among others, is rarely acknowledged today. Also overlooked are publications of the National Education Association's Department of Supervisors and Directors of Instruction during the 1930s, which drew heavily on John Dewey's thinking. These works led to the view of supervision as a collaborative, problem-focused, democratic process, an idea popularized in a textbook by A.S. Barr, William H. Burton, and Leo J. Brueckner, which dominated educational supervision in the United States until the emergence of clinical supervision in the 1960s.

Clinical supervision represented a departure from the problem-focused, group strategies that had until then defined supervisory practice and theory. While retaining a focus on reflective thinking and problem solving, clinical supervision focused the supervisor's attention and efforts directly on individual classrooms as the targets and teachers as the agents of change.

Clinical supervision was invented and nurtured at Harvard University in the 1950s and 1960s by Morris Cogan, who considered it a way to develop professionally responsible teachers who were capable of analyzing their own performance, who were open to change and assistance from others, and who were, above all, self-directing. Many other authors, including Robert Goldhammer, Keith Acheson and Meredith Gall, Madeline Hunter, Carl Glickman, Noreen Garman, Kenneth Zeichner and Daniel Liston, and John Smyth, to name just a few, have since contributed their own interpretations to the concept and practice of clinical supervision.

This new book by Duncan Waite clearly falls within both the democratic and the clinical traditions in the literature of educational supervision. However, it departs significantly from most existing interpretations of those traditions by

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