Clinical Supervision to Improve Teacher Quality

Apr 27, 2017 3:50:22 PM Valin Jordan Education Trends

The most influential determinant to student success is an effective teacher. Effective teachers are constantly engaged in understanding and deepening their pedagogical knowledge and practice with the intended goal of raising student achievement. Teaching is a complex profession that requires continuous support and ongoing deep analysis in order to see substantial change in a student’s learning. Given this complexity, teachers cannot be expected to do this alone. Crane (2002) posits that an individualized approach to teacher development creates a transformative process that provides teachers an opportunity to see their practice and their students achievement shifting. In order for true transformation to exist the relationship between a teacher and their instructional supporters must be collaborative and reflective (Feger, Woleck, & Hickman, 2004).

Through a model of clinical supervision many teachers have experienced the greatest shift in their practice and have seen the greatest gains in their students work. Clinical supervision is a process by which a teacher receives individualized support to enhance their instruction in order to improve education for all students. During the 1960s Morris Cogen and colleagues at Harvard University’s MAT program were interested in supporting pre-service teachers through a practice used in the medical field known as clinical supervision. The idea of clinical supervision in education during the 1960s was to create a relationship between a supervisor and teacher that was one-directional. Between the 1960s and early 1990s varying models of clinical supervision were developed and with each iteration, teachers became more and more important to the process.

The Education Partners has been influenced by the research and history of clinical supervision and enters the space with a new model. The Education Partners model for clinical supervision includes a bidirectional process between the teacher and their instructional supporter. Such a model provides the teacher with empowerment and agency to participate in the transformation of their practice. The model consists of three phases typically utilized in a clinical supervision cycle - pre-observation, observation, and post-observation. At each of these phases, The Education Partners believes that the teacher should be centered to lead the conversations and have a more informed hand in navigating the instruction and data conversation with their instructional supporter. TEP’s model for clinical supervision stands apart from other models because of a unique fourth phase - data analyzation - this process allows the teacher to focus on the data they have collected during a lesson. During the data analyzation process, the teacher dives into a deep analysis of the data collected in their classrooms as well as a process of reflection in which they take a critical lens to improving their practice.