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My Philosophy of Supervision

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Supervision

John Dewey (1933) believed that human development should be the aim of education and supervisors have the capacity to play a significant role this process of development. According to Glickman and Bey (1990) supervision is a vital component to school success and yet supervision is many things to many people.  In my research thus far and through my own personal experiences as a supervisor I have begun to develop my own belief system as to things I believe are important to being a good supervisor.  I believe that my role as a supervisor is to be an adovacate and mentor for my teachers. Cogan and Goldhammer have taught us that in order to be successful in this role, supervisors must establish a, "helping/trusting" relationship with those with whom they work.  This relationship of trust facilitates my ability as a supervisor to guide my teachers to not only develop the strategies and techniques to be successful in the classroom, but also encourages them to develop the important character traits that enable them to be leaders with their own students (ie: courageous, honest, trustworthy...).  Part of promoting growth with new and developing teachers requires attention to both their assimilation and accommodation processing abilities, otherwise referred to as Piaget's (1958) concept of  equilibration.  Vygotsky's (1973) Zone of Proximal Development is also a wonderful theory for better understanding the developmental process of new teachers; knowing where to support and where to encourage. As the supervisor, it's important that I know those with whom I work and as I learn more about them I am better prepared to adjust and support them where they need it the most. Another important task for supervisors is the process of modeling.  According to Reiman and Theis-Sprinthall (1998), "All of us must be willing to model best practices for our colleagues and associates.  This is particularly true in the field of developmental instructional supervision."  And I believe an important part of this process is showing effective ways to combine theory and practice.   I believe that the successful supervisors were once successful teachers.  As a supervisor I believe another part of my job is to encourage new teachers to experiment with their teaching style, to incorporate current research practices into their classroom instruction and assessment, as well as to develop their ability to articulate why they chose to use specific techniques and strategies. Research by Cognetta and Sprinthall (1978) has shown that careful reflection is crucial in the growth process of new teachers.  Therefore, another important contribution that I believe supervisors make to the field of teaching is supporting novice teachers in the this self-reflection process. Pajak (2002) has said that successful teachers develop a level of, "personal commitment and involvement that transcends the categories of content knowledge and pedagogical skill," and I believe that supervisors play a role in helping new teachers develop such abilities.

In the 1996 report, What Matters Most:  Teaching for America's Future it says, "Those who succeed and those who fail are increasingly divided by their opportunities to learn...In this knowledge-based society, the United States urgently needs to reaffirm a consensus about the role and purpose of public education in a democracy-and the prime importance of learning in meeting those purposes.  The challenge extends far beyond preparing students for the world of work.  It includes building an American future that is just and humane as well as productive, that is as socially vibrant and civil in its pluralism as it is competitive...The central concepts that define America, ideas about justice, tolerance, and opportunity are being battered.  We must reclaim the soul of America. (p. 11) While hundreds of years seperate them, Aristotle echoed a similar sentiment when he said, "All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth."  I believe that supervisors play an integral role in this preparation process not only for teacher development but for the development of the future democratic leaders of our society.

 

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