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Supervision for Instructional Improvement (DOC)


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                   Supervision for Instructional Improvement

                               Scott C. Hellman

                           Grand Canyon University

                                  EDA 550

                              December 16, 2009
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                            Supervision for Instructional Improvement


        This paper will analyze tasks of supervision though the following four elements: direct

assistance, group development, professional development and curriculum development. The

paper will also explain why it is necessary for instructional improvement, how it can be done

effectively, and what issues may arise with each task. “For those educators whose role

responsibilities include teacher supervision, there is a need to understand this person-oriented

process in a setting emphasizing empowerment, needs satisfaction and role effectiveness”

(Treslan, 2008, p.1)

                                        Direct Assistance

       “Direct assistance is the provision of personal, ongoing contact with the individual

teacher to observe and assist in classroom instruction” (Glickman, 2010, p.10). Administrators

can make directive assistance effective by providing a clear focus (vision) on what the directions

of the school are and have school-wide goals established. These goals can be met by providing

professional development that would meet the needs of the school and the teachers. The IOP

Institute of Physics (2009) describes as the following:

       Continuous Professional Development in the systematic maintenance, improvement and

       boarding of knowledge and skill, and the development of personal qualities necessary for

       the execution of professional and technical duties throughout your working life. Put more

       simply, it is a life-long learning approach to planning, managing and benefiting from your

       own development (p.1).

Administrators can also provide assistance by communicating effectively through classroom

observations and providing feedback that would assist the teachers in enhancing student learning.
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An administrator could provide new teachers with a mentor to help them get oriented into their

classrooms, the school wide goals, and the vision of the school. The administrator could then

provide feedback to assist the new teacher. Feedback from the mentor teacher is also another way

to assist the new teacher.

                                       Group Development

         “Group development is the gathering together of teachers to make decisions on mutual

instructional concerns” (Glickman, 2010, p. 11). It is a skillful leader that can help a group run

efficiently, and effectively. A leader also needs to beware of what makes a successful group; they

need to have a clear view of the elements that help with its success. They must have procedures

in place for group decision-making, and be able to deal with any problems that my arrive.

“Unfortunately, since being part of a group is such an everyday occurrence in professional,

personal, and social life, we seldom stop to think about what makes some groups work well and

others fail. It is unrealistic for the leader of a new group to expect the group to proceed naturally

in a professional manner.” (Glickman, 2010, p. 308) Personalities of teachers can be different in

a group as well as their methods of teaching in the classroom. When a number of teachers are

grouped together, it is very unlikely that everyone within the group will work well with each


                                    Professional Development

         “Professional development includes the learning opportunities for faculty provided or

supported by the school and school system” (Glickman, 2010, p. 11). A supervisor can

effectively help teachers grow by giving those teacher tools through Professional Development

Plans (PDP) to help teach more effectively and efficiently for the benefit of student advancement.

PDP’s can be constructed to work for individuals or groups of people depending on the need of
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the situation. It is imperative that PDPs should be directly related to the vision of the school and

they should be purposeful in nature. Glickman, Gordon, and Ross-Gordon (2010) continue by

stating “ virtually any experience that elaborates a teacher’s knowledge, appreciation, skill, and

understandings of his or her own work falls under the domain of professional development” (pg.

335). However there are many challenges in supervision that administrators face with

professional development. Treslan (2008) explains: “The supervisory challenge lies in adopting

an appropriate supervisory approach that can be embraced by teachers, viewed as collaborative,

and considered to contribute to professional development” (p. 2). Teachers need to part of the

professional development choices that are decided for a school district. By having ownership of

the choices of professional development, the teachers are receiving the necessary tools that are

needed in the classroom instead of professional development that teachers do not need. If schools

provide training that teachers do not need or does not see the point, or does not fit into the

teaching style of the teacher, the teacher will not use the training in the classroom.

                                    Curriculum Development

       “Curriculum development is the revision and modification of the content, plans, and

materials of classroom instruction” (Glickman, 2010, p.11). It is really important that teachers

participate in the development of the school’s curriculum. First of all, when all the teachers in a

particular department work together on a curriculum, then everyone involved with it has

ownership of how and what is taught in each classroom. By having this, all classes that are the

same but taught by different teachers will be teaching the same information, same performance

assessments and exams. This will make each classroom valid. Second, everyone in a department

will have the understanding of why certain concepts are taught in particular classes and at certain
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levels. For example, lower level science classes have to have certain content before going to

higher-level classes. The Canadian encyclopedia (2009) quotes,

       The primary focus of a curriculum is on what is on what is to be taught and when, leaving

       to the teaching profession decisions as to how this should be done. In practice, however,

       there is no clear distinction between curriculum content and methodology – how a topic is

       taught often determines what is being taught (p.1).

       Administrators can effectively implement Curriculum Development by getting all

teachers in each department involved in the development or the revising of a given curriculum.

All teachers from all grades needs to be involved in the development of alike curriculum, as well

as teachers that would teach similar concepts. The Canadian encyclopedia (2009) states,

       Many attempts to change education be revising the authorized curriculum have not been

       successful – mandated innovations are not always implemented extensively or effectively

       in classrooms. In fact, because of widespread reliance on textbooks as a basic teaching

       resource, textbooks often constitute the de facto content of the curriculum, thus giving

       publishers a powerful role in curriculum development (p.1)


       In conclusion, the tasks of instructional improvement definitely plays role to implement

improvement in the classroom. All four tasks are completely different entities, but are all needed

to provide instructional improvement in any given school district. Administrators needs to

understand the needs of the school and teachers to provide the necessary tools to be able support

the vision of the school and the needs of the teachers to enhance student learning.
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Glickman, C. D., Gordon, S. P., & Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2010). Supervision and Instructional

       Leadership: A Developmental Approach, 8th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon

IOP Institute of Physics. (2009). Professional Development. Retrieved Nov. 25, 2009 from

The Canadian Encyclopedia. (2009). Curriculum Development. Retrieved December 16, 2009


Treslan, D.L. (2008). Educational Supervision in a “Transformed” School Organization”

       Retrieved December 16, 2009, from

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