Clinical supervision is a formative evaluation tool providing informational feedback aimed at helping a teacher to improve their instruction performance and classroom management skills (Glickman, Gordon, & Ross-Gordon, 2014). Clinical supervision as stated by Glickman (2014, p 247) is organized into 5 steps: 1. Pre-conference with the teacher to provide the criteria the supervisor will be looking for in the observation. 2. Observation of the classroom and instruction to document descriptions seen during the observation. 3. Analyzing observation data and planning for post-conference. After the observation the supervisor needs to evaluate the information collected during the observation, analyze the data, and plan the post-conference meeting and the approach the supervisor will use.
4. Post-conference with teacher to provide the teacher with the observation data and analysis and produce a plan for instructional improvements. 5. Critique of previous four steps happens at the end of the post-conference to determine if the process from pre-conference through post-conference was effect and if revisions might need to be made. The process is well outlined and has been used effectively used in schools for several decades. The well-defined steps allows a supervisor to us the clinical supervisory model easily and effectively with her staff. The outcomes for the teacher are to help them develop effective teaching skills and knowledge in the areas of pedagogy, context, students, and content reas (Kelting, Jenkins, & Gaudreault, 2014).
A weakness of the clinical supervision model is the amount of time it takes for a supervisor to perform all the steps with a large staff. It can be very time consuming. It is also sometimes used for a summative evaluation which is not the purpose of the observation. The summative evaluation can take place within the structure of the clinical supervision observation to gather data about teachers meeting their performance goals (Glickman, et al. 2014). Peer Coaching
Peer coaching is a clinical supervision technique used by teachers to help teachers. Teachers naturally turn to each other for help with lessons, classroom management, and other concerns (Glickman, et al. 2014). By using peer coaching as a formative evaluation tool the supervisor has freed up her own time to take care of other responsibilities and teachers are given the opportunity to expand and share their knowledge and skill base.
Teachers need to be well trained and proficient in the clinical supervision format before they can take on the role of peer coaching. The guidelines of the peer coaching program must be well outlined and defined by the staff so everyone is aware of its purpose in their evaluations. Teachers will need to be trained in the clinical supervision model. There also needs to be staff buy-in for the peer coaching program to be an effective observation tool within the school culture. A strength of the peer coaching model is it may reduce stress on the teacher being observed by a fellow teacher versus an administrator. A weakness in the peer coaching model would be a school that has a young and inexperienced staff. A school will need teachers of all experience levels for an effective peer coaching program.
Assessing and Planning
Conducting observations using the clinical supervision format and the peer coaching model requires a fair amount of planning on everyones part. An administrator planning a pre-conference appointment, an observation, and a post conference appointment with a teacher can be tricky at times, especially with a large staff. Using a calendar and communicating with the teachers is critical for an administrator to be able to accomplish these appointments and observations. The peer coaching model scheduling is even more challenging. An administrator can often meet with a teacher during their prep time for their pre and post conferences appointments, but for teachers to meet with teachers is a more difficult during the day as they do not always share prep hours or even lunch hours. A process will have to be established for meeting times and the observations times. Substitutes will need to be put brought in to cover the classes of the peer coaching team while they are doing observations (Munson, 1998).
A supervisor needs to provide opportunities for development of the instructional staff. This is achieved through many different assessments, one being observations for the purpose of improving instructional methods. The clinical supervision method conducted by the supervisor helps to improve the instructional skills of the staff and helps the supervisor to see what professional development opportunities the staff might need. Incorporating the peer coaching model allows for collaboration within the staff to determine the professional development needed. Peer coaching elevates time constraints and pressures on a supervisor with a large staff that all need to schedule observations and conferences. Supervisors need to still monitor the peer coaching model so they might help with troubleshooting, review team progress forms, provide feedback, even substitute a class for a peer coaching team member.
Both of these methods are effective tools to provide direct assistance to the teaching staff to improve classroom instruction. They allow the supervisor the opportunity to work with the teacher to improve their skills which will improve the academics of the school and in turn the success of the students.
Glickman, C. D., Gordon, S. P., & Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2014). Supervision and Instructional Leadership: A Developmental Approach (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.. Kelting, T., Jenkins, J. M., & Gaudreault, K. L. (2014, October). I could really focus on the students. The
Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 85(8), 32-36. Munson, B. (1998). Peers observing peers: The better way to observe teachers. Contemporary Education, 69(2), 108.