Instructional supervision, clinical supervision, or any other form of support that aims to foster the professional growth of teachers cannot be reduced to a lockstep, linear process with a fixed beginning or end. The processes involved in supervision, professional development, teacher evaluation, and the like must be cyclical and ongoing. The clinical supervision model
was originally designed to continue in cycles. Each cycle included a pre-observation conference, an extended classroom observation, and a post-observation conference. Each cycle served to inform future cycles and
to identify the professional development needed to help teachers meet their learning goals. The intents
of supervision (that is, its underlying purposes) are discussed in Chapter 2
, and the processes of the clinical supervisory model are explored in Chapters 9
Professional development (Chapter 4
) and teacher evaluation (Chapter 3
) must be linked to instructional supervision, embedded within and throughout the workday for teachers. What is needed is a model that connects the various forms of assistance available to teachers. However, no one model can ever be expected to fit the needs of every teacher and the contexts in which they work. There are ways to bridge supervision, professional development, evaluation, and other activities, such as peer coaching and mentoring. The real charge for prospective and practicing supervisors is to unify these efforts. One way to start is to scan a particular school building or organization. In addition to clinical supervision, what support systems are in place for teachers?
Identify the professional development and supervisory opportunities available to personnel in a school building. In the first column, list these opportunities. In the second column, describe how they are linked. See the following table as an example:
| Professional Development and Supervisory Opportunities || How These Opportunities Are Linked |
|Peer coaching ||Numerous peer coaches serve as mentors, coaching teachers through direct classroom observation that includes both pre- and post-observation conferences. |
|Induction ||The induction program includes mentoring, peer coaching, and study groups. |
|Study groups ||Teachers form study groups and examine instructional issues; groups may read common materials; some teachers are involved in peer coaching; some teachers extend study group activities with teacher-directed action research. |
|Portfolio development ||Action research teams are developing portfolios to track changes in practice. |
Teachers are the central actors in the learning process. In the final analysis, they are the ones who internally control what is (or is not) learned through school-wide efforts, such as peer coaching.
Prospective supervisors should seek a wide range of methods to extend the original model of clinical supervision. Examples include portfolio development, action research,
peer coaching, and other original site-specific activities. All approaches need to be embedded in practice and linked as a unifying whole. A part of this unifying whole is professional development and the learning opportunities afforded to teachers. Because the original intents of the clinical supervision model included multiple cycles of conferencing and classroom observations, providing much information, namely data from the classroom observations and the insights gained by the teacher during extended discussions in pre- and post-observation conferences, it is logical to link ongoing professional development learning opportunities to supervisory efforts. Chapter 4
has a more purposeful discussion of job-embedded professional development and the linkages with instructional supervision and teacher evaluation.