ERIC Identifier: ED344873
Publication Date: 1992-05-00
Author: Kauffman, Dagmar
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education Washington DC.
Supervision of Student Teachers. ERIC Digest.
The student teaching field experience is an essential component of learning to teach and supervision plays an important role (Zahorik, 1988). During this time, the student teacher is assigned to a school-based cooperating teacher and a university supervisor, all of whom form a supervisory triad. Educators consider student teaching to be an important, highly valued experience. It is "critical to the development of preservice teachers' pedagogical skills" (Richardson-Koehler, 1988, p. 22). Seventy-seven percent of the university supervisors and 70% of the cooperating teachers support the notion that student teaching prepares students more than adequately for their first full-time teaching job (AACTE, 1991).
While university supervisors and cooperating teachers share the goal of preparing students to be effective teachers, they differ in their perspectives on the learning processes that take place. Emphasizing seminar work, 69% of university supervisors feel that students are adequately prepared for student teaching, compared to only 49% of cooperating teachers, who stress practical experience as an important factor in a student teacher's preparedness (AACTE, 1991).
The discrepancy between university supervisors' and teachers' perspectives, between theory and practice, has led some critics to doubt that the current practice of student teaching is effective (Evertson, Howley, & Zlotnik, 1984). They are concerned that student teachers simply model the behavior of their cooperating teachers and may not learn as much of the theoretical and general principles that would allow them to teach in a variety of classroom situations (Richardson-Koehler, 1988). Dewey (1904 in Zahorik, 1988) already cautioned that student teachers' close contact with the cooperating teacher may prevent them from developing reflective inquiry skills. While student teachers need exemplary models, they must also learn to become independent thinkers, grasping principles and developing new techniques.
Cleary (1988) suggests that this could be resolved by providing better supervision of student teachers; however, it is a complex process. This ERIC Digest considers the barriers to improved student teacher supervision, identifies approaches to overcoming such barriers, and describes collaborative efforts in which public school and university personnel are equal partners.
BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE SUPERVISION
INCONGRUENT ROLE EXPECTATIONS
* behavior prescriptor--emphasizes students' acquisition of basic instructional skills and classroom management techniques;
* idea interpreter--presents beliefs about what classrooms and schools ought to be like and suggests ways to bring about change; and
* person supporter--promotes students' own decision-making and encourages them to think for themselves.
Despite these apparently well-defined roles, the cooperating teacher seems to be most influential because of his/her close interaction with the student (Richardson-Koehler, 1986; American Association, 1991). Some have suggested eliminating the role of the university supervisor, who exerts less immediate influence on the student teacher (Bowman, 1979 cited in Wood, 1989; Zahorik, 1988). Marrou (1989) and Wood (1989), however, stress the significance of the university supervisor's role as critical, but not as one that duplicates the observing and evaluating role of the cooperating teacher. Scholars have suggested the university supervisor's role as someone who acts as personal confident to the cooperating teacher and student teacher (Zimpher, deVoss, & Nott, 1980) or who manages the administrative, managerial, and technical aspects of supervision rather than the instructional or personal (Wood, 1989).
LACK OF COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION
OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS
* training for university supervisors to reconceptualize their roles (Boydell, 1986);
* training for cooperating teachers to analyze their own teaching and supervisory techniques (Richardson-Koehler, 1988); and
* selecting and matching the triad members in a systematic way (Wood, 1989).
In 1989 Ohio State University, the local public schools, and the state education association initiated a program where fully released public school teachers share the supervision of student teachers with university supervisors. The university supervisor and teacher meet weekly to discuss student teachers' progress, communicating on a continuous basis and working as a team, linking theory and practice for the preservice teachers (see Zimpher, 1988; Kirchhoff, 1989).
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). (1991). RATE IV: Teaching teachers: Facts & figures. Washington, DC: Author.
Applegate, J. H., & Lasley, T. J. (1986). Early field experience: A synthesis of role-perspective studies. Washington, DC: ERIC Document Reproduction Service. ED 310 065
Bhagat, D., Clark, C., & Coombs, G. (1989, March). A study of shared self-interests in a university-school partnership. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco. ED 307 668
Boydell, D. (1986). Issues in teaching practice supervision research: A review of the literature. Teaching and Teacher Education, 2(2), 115-25. EJ 344 609
Cleary, M. J. (1988). Thinking styles of supervisors and implications for student teaching. Teacher Educator, 24(1), 16-23. EJ 387 998
Evertson, C., Hawley, W., & Zlotnik, M. (1984). The characteristics of effective teacher education preparation programs: A review of the research. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, Peabody College. See ED 250 314
Grimmett, P. P., & Ratzlaff, H. C. (1986). Expectations for the cooperating teacher role. Journal of Teacher Education, 37(6), 41-50. EJ 350 075
Hoover, N. L., O'Shea, L. J., & Carroll, R. G. (1988). The supervisor-intern relationship and effective communication skills. Journal of Teacher Education, 39(2), 22-27. EJ 376 997
Kirchhoff, S. (1989, November). Collaborative university/school district approaches for student teaching supervision. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Council of States on Inservice Education, San Antonio, TX. ED 314 389
Marrou, J. R. (1989). The university supervisor: A new role in a changing workplace. Teacher Educator, 24(3), 13-19. EJ 391 471
Moon, R. A., Niemeyer, R. C., & Simmons, J. M. (1988, April). Three perspectives on the language of supervision: How well do the university supervisor, cooperating teacher, and student teacher understand each other? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. ED 293 806
Oja, S. N. (1988). Some promising endeavors in school-university collaboration: Collaborative research and collaborative supervision in the University of New Hampshire five-year program. Paper presented at the Holmes Group Second Annual Conference, Washington, DC. ED 294 835
Richardson-Koehler, V. (1988). Barriers to the effective supervision of student teaching: A field study. Journal of Teacher Education, 39(2), 28-34. EJ 376 998
Wood, L. H. (1989, August). Maximizing the development of student teachers during student teaching. Paper presented at the summer workshop of the Association of Teacher Educators, Tacoma, WA. ED 312 237
Zahorik, J. A. (1988). The observing-conferencing role of university supervisors. Journal of Teacher Education, 39(2), 9-16. EJ 376 995
Zimpher, N. L. (1988). A design for the professional development of teacher leaders. Journal of Teacher Education, 39(1), 53-60. EJ 374 367
Zimpher, N. L., deVoss, G., & Nott, D. (1980). A closer look at university student teacher supervision. Journal of Teacher Education, 31(4), 11-15. EJ 235 491