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Review of Related Literature

Importance of Instructional Supervision

Supervision is a fundamental part of the total service provided by school

systems. It must have an identity within the organizational hierarchy and it must

be administratively supported if its purposes are to be achieved. Supervisors as

well as other educational leaders have the responsibility for facilitating

professional development, building teams of teachers or cohorts and

empowering teachers to make decisions regarding their instructional


Supervision is an important element of directing function of management.

Administrators at all levels perform the supervisory function. At each level,

supervision is required to translate plans and programs into action.

Instructional supervision is the work of ensuring the implementation of the

educational mission of a school by overseeing, equipping and empowering

teachers to provide meaningful learning experiences for students. This important

work requires facilitating collaborative strategic planning that involves all

stakeholders including parents, board members, teachers, administrative staff

and support staff.

Highlighted in the book of Holland and Adams (2002) that the right

educational supervision supports teaching and professional development,

enhances personal and collaborative inquiry, promotes critique and contributes to

an evolving pedagogy. Further, Acheson and Gail (2003) pointed that

educational supervision is not autocratic but collaborative and interactive. It is

also more on teacher-centered rather that being an authoritative supervisor-

centered activity.

In order to develop a strong process for supervision, the underlying reason

should be considered. This underlying reason is built on teacher quality

effectiveness. Through our understanding of an effective teacher, the

information which should be the primary focus of supervision is identified.

Effective teachers as Stronge (2002) stated, are dedicated to students and to the

job of teaching while working collaboratively with the other staff members.

Also cited in the School of Education (2010) mentioned that supervision is

an intervention that is provided by a senior member of a profession to a junior or

members of that same profession. This relationship is evaluative, extends over

time, and has the simultaneous purpose of enhancing the professional

functioning of the junior members, monitoring the quality of professional services

offered to the clients he or she sees and serving as a gatekeeper of those who

are to enter the particular profession.

Thus, educational supervision is the cooperation between the school staff

in developing teachers’ learning and teaching which would result in the effective

educational progression of the students. Instructional supervision not only

supports professional learning and development, but also relates to gate

keeping, monitoring, maintaining standards and improving performance.

Instructional supervision is a type of school-based (in-school) supervision

carried out by the school staff (principals, department heads, senior teachers,
and assigned supervisors) aimed at providing guidance, support, and continuous

assessment to teachers for their professional development and improvement in

the teaching-learning process, whereas inspection is a top-down approach which

is aimed at controlling and evaluating the improvement of schools based on

stated standards set by external agents outside the school system (Arong &

Ogbadu, 2010; Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). Instructional supervision is mainly

concerned with improving schools by helping teachers to reflect their practices, to

learn more about what they do and why, and to develop professionally

(Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2007).

The overall purpose of instructional supervision is to help teachers

improve, and this improvement could be on what teachers know, the

improvement of teaching skills, as well as teacher’s ability to make more

informed professional decisions (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2007). Instructional

supervision is an important tool in building effective teachers’ professional

development. Instructional supervision is “an organizational function concerned

with teacher growth, leading to improvement in teaching performance and

greater student learning” (Nolan & Hoover, 2008).

Instructional supervision is a type of school-based supervision carried out

by a combination of permanently assigned subject area supervisors, school

principals, department heads and senior teachers aimed at helping teachers to

enhance their instruction and professional growth.

Role of Instructional Supervisors

A variety of persons may be involved in improving classroom and school

instruction and they are often referred to as supervisors. They are in a unique

position to nurture, develop, and articulate the community’s vision of what a

learning environment can and should be. Among those exercising supervisory

responsibilities are school principals, school heads, assistant principals,

instructional specialists, mentor teachers, instructional lead teachers, teacher

study groups, counselors, and clinical teachers.

Supervisory leadership is called to establish this environment in school.

The heart of supervisory leadership is designing opportunities for teachers to

continuously expand their capacity to learn, to care, to help each other, and to

teach more effectively.

There is a general acceptance of the idea that in organizations, including

educational institutions, growth in knowledge and operational expertise depends

greatly upon interaction with other workers in a common search for improvement.

Further, Sergiovanni and Starratt (2002) viewed schools as learning communities

where students, teachers, and supervisors alike are learners and teachers

depending on circumstances. Supervisory leadership is called to establish this

environment in school.

Moreover, Sergiovanni (2000) stated that if teacher development is to

move to center stage in the school improvement process, then schools need to

create the kinds of supervisory systems and growth strategies that encourage

reflection, acknowledge teacher individuality, and emphasize collaborative

relationships. Interaction between the supervisors and teachers is an asset for

effective and collaborative professional development.

Further, Beach and Reinhartz (2000) emphasized that our view of

supervision should not be “one in which teachers are ‘lacking’ or deficient, and

supervisors have what it takes to ‘fix’ the deficiency”. On the contrary, as a

catalyst, a guide, a supporter, or an encourager, the supervisor together with

teachers moves along an infinite growth continuum. The primary goal of the

contemporary supervisor is not just to solve the problems, but to encourage

teachers to jointly study all teaching related activities.

The National Policy on Education (2004) states that, to ensure quality

control in the school, it is necessary to have good teachers and supervisors. The

primary responsibility of the supervisors’ is to see that high standards are

maintained and the schools are run in accordance with the land down regulation.

The role of the instructional supervisors is to serve as facilitator rather than to act

as the expert of instruction (Roberts & Pruitt, 2003). A supervisor should serve

as a guide, facilitator or collaborator who supports professional learning and

teacher development.

The principal or leader of the school should serve as instructional leader

and supervisor. It is important to have an instructional supervisor because we

need to invest in education. Teachers benefit from an outside perspective on

their practice and glean ideas for better instruction feedback of an instructional

supervisors. In the end, instructional supervision is about student growth.

Teachers and students need an instructional supervisor who can dig deeply into
data about students results and help teachers translate that data into strengths

and weaknesses for ongoing improvement of instruction that positively impacts

all students.

Crucial for a successful teacher-supervisor relationship is the

establishment of trust and collaboration (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). A significant

role of supervisors is to provide teachers an opportunity to make professional

decisions regarding their own development and trust them with its outcome.

The school heads play a major role in determining how effective schools

respond to the challenges. Although school heads are important, their mere

presence does not automatically result in the required leadership being provided.

Often some circumstances prevent school heads from becoming the leaders they

want to be and one of this is the perception of leadership by the teaching staff.

It is the administrators who should devote himself to supervise the

teaching learning process in school. The administrators as the supervisor is the

one who oversees the activities’ of teachers’ and other workers’ in the school

system to ensure that they improve to the general accepted administrators’ and

practice of education. The school heads or school administrators provide

“supervision” to the school in terms of perceiving deniable objectives, maintaining

a balance in the curriculum and rendering help to teachers regarding teaching

methods are other instructional problems that the encounter.

Teachers Supervision and Evaluation

As principals engage in formative supervision, they collect data on teacher

performance with the purpose of expanding teachers’ skill sets (Hinchey, 2010:

Matthews & Crow, 2010), and this supervision should be a systematic sequence

of frequent observations, both formal and informal. Informal observations occur

when teachers do not have prior knowledge they will be observed, while formal

observations occur when teachers have prior knowledge they will be observed

and typically follow the clinical supervision model (Hill & Grossman, 2013).

Clinical supervision includes a pre-observation conference between principals

and teachers in which both discuss the upcoming lesson, an extended

observation in which principals observe teachers instructing, and a post-

observation conference in which principals and teachers discuss the observation,

plan for future observations, and differentiate support to target instructional

improvement based on professional needs (Range, Scherz, Holt, & Young,


Within the clinical supervision model, the pre-observation conference

ensures both principals and teachers have a common understanding of what will

occur during the extended observation, either teacher or principal directed. It is

important for principals to attempt to develop trust between teachers during the

pre-observation as principals are charged with providing non-evaluative feedback

at the conclusion of the lesson, usually within the post- observation conference.

Teachers are more apt to take principals’ feedback seriously if they trust

principals’ skills in assessing strengths and weaknesses (Jacob & Lefgren,

2006). Although not inclusive, school heads and teachers might discuss during

the pre-observation conference include student assessment, student

engagement, classroom management, and classroom climate issues (Range,

Young, & Hvidston, 2013). Conversely, the purpose of the post-observation

conference is to review and reflect upon data collected during the extended

observation and plan future professional development opportunities (Zepeda,

2012). Because providing feedback to teachers about their classroom

performance is a primary purpose of the post-observation conference feedback

dispensed by school heads should focus on qualitative and quantitative data

collected during the scripted observation.

According to Zepeda (2012) the purpose of carefully planning feedback

provided to teachers is that, as reflective practitioners, teachers should feel open

to discuss their own strengths and weaknesses. Finally, a purpose of the post-

observation conference, which sets the course for future teacher growth, is

identifying possible professional development opportunities including both short

and long term goals, as well as setting the instructional focus of the next

extended observation.

Instructional supervision become effective when supervisors (principals,

vice principals, department heads, senior teachers, assigned supervisors) focus

their attention on building the capacity of supervisee, then giving them the

autonomy they need to practice effectively, and finally, enabling them responsible

for helping students be effective learners (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2007). Further,

better teaching means improved student learning. When students are not
learning well, and when teachers are not teaching well, one important problem

may be the amount (frequency) and quality of instructional supervision the school

provides. Supporting this, research findings indicated that “teachers who

experienced collaborative instructional supervision reported a slightly but

significantly higher level of satisfaction than teachers who did not experience

collaborative supervision” (Thobega & Miller, 2003).

The attitude and satisfaction of teachers toward instructional supervision

depends largely on several factors such as smooth teacher-supervisor

relationship, availability of supervisory choices based on teachers’ needs, as well

as mutual trust, respect and collaboration among supervisees and supervisors

(Kutsyuruba, 2003; Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2007; Zepeda, 2007). In this regard,

a research conducted by Kutsyuruba (2003) on beginning teachers’ perception of

instructional supervision revealed that “beginning teachers desire more frequent

use of instructional supervision that meets their professional needs, that

promotes trust and collaboration, and that provides them with support, advice

and help”. In addition, recent studies show that beginning teachers’ perception

of inadequacies of the amount and quality of instructional supervision develop in

to the sense of disappointment and forming negative attitudes toward supervision

process (Choy, Chong, Wong & Wong, 2011).

In evaluating teacher’s instructional competencies, the use of student

achievement as the basis to assess or evaluate teachers is one of the many

approaches of teacher evaluation. Other approaches in evaluating teacher’s

instructional competencies include classroom observation, student ratings, peer

ratings, principal/HOD/administrator ratings, self-rating, teacher interview, parent

rating, competency tests, and other indirect measures (Joshua et al., 2006).

The school administrators’ evaluation has also been used to evaluate

teachers’ effectiveness. The accuracy of school administrators’ evaluation of

teachers’ effectiveness has also been studied. Jacob and Lefgren (2006) found

a positive correlation between a principal’s assessment of how effective a

teacher is at raising students’ achievement and that teacher’s success in doing

so as measured by the value- added approach. The above study suggests that

administrator’s rating may also be one of a comprehensive evaluation system to

measure teachers’ effectiveness in secondary schools.

Teacher’s level of development must also be considered in order to

provide appropriate approaches. Individual professional needs of the teachers

should guide the choice of supervisory practices. Beginning and experienced

teachers should be treated with the proper approaches. It is supervisor’s

responsibility to facilitate the professional growth by analyzing needs of each

individual through cooperative communication with them. Supervisors and

teachers need to work as a team of professionals being conscious of the goal of

supervision, which is the improvement of learning and classroom instruction.

Please add these in your References

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Education in Nigeria Administrative Perspective: A Case Study of Dekina
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Beach, D. M., & Reinhartz J. (2000). Supervisory Leadership: Focus on

Instruction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Choy, D., Chong, S., Wong, A. F. L., & Wong, I. Y. F. (2011). Beginning teachers’
perceptions of their level of pedagogical knowledge and skills: did they
change since their graduation from initial teacher preparation? Asian
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Ebmeier, H. (2003). How supervision influences teacher efficacy and

commitment: An investigation of a path model. Journal of Curriculum and
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Hill, H. C., & Grossman, P. (2013). Learning from Teacher Observations:

Challenges and opportunities posed by new teacher evaluation systems.
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Kutsyuruba, B. (2003). Instructional Supervision: Perceptions of Canadian and

Ukrainian Beginning High-School Teachers (Master’s thesis) . Saskatoon:
University of Saskatchewan. Retrieved on November 21, 2010, from:

National Policy on Education (2004)

Nolan, J. F., & Hoover, L. A. (2008). Teacher Supervision and Evaluation: Theory
in to practice (2 nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Range, B. G., Young, S., & Hvidston, D. (2013). Teacher Perceptions about
Observation Conferences: What do teachers' think about their formative
supervision in one US school district? School Leadership and
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Sergiovanni, T. J., & Starratt, R. J. (2007). Supervision: A redefinition . New York,

NY: McGraw-Hill.
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Agriculture Teachers’ Job Satisfaction and their intention to remain in the
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Tucker, P. D. (2003). The Principalship: Renewed call for Instructional

Leadership. In D. L. Duke, M. Grogan, P. D. Tucker, & W. F. Heinecke
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Zepeda, S. J. (2007). Instructional supervision: Applying tools and concepts .

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