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Supervision is a facilitative relationship between the supervisor who oversees the activities of the supervisee with the ultimate goal to promote the knowledge skills and behaviors of the supervisee in that profession.
The success of supervision is greatly based on the informed consent of the supervisee regarding the realities of supervision.
Supervision takes various approaches which include non directive supervision, collaborative supervision, direct informational supervision as well as directive control supervision.
Non directive supervision assumes that the supervisee knows the exact instructions and has the capability to think for themselves and act accordingly as expected. The supervisor assumes that the supervisor knows what is best for him/her and only provides guidance for the supervisee to make their own decision. The supervisor does not introduce new ideas to the supervisor and only provides feedback according to the supervisee's own thinking. The supervisee is fully in control and comes up with his/her own decisions.
Collaborative supervision employs the efforts of both the supervisor and supervisee in problem solving through negotiations and incorporation of ideas. Negotiations help to identify problems that warrant attention of the supervisor and the supervisee and culminate in more viable options. In problem solving, the supervisor takes has upper hand in deciding the best option for the supervisor. The supervisor may also direct the supervisee by presenting the available options for the supervisee's opinions before finally settling onto one of the options. Collaborative approaches of negotiating, problem solving and directing are more effective in dealing with both individuals and groups of supervisees. Collaborative decisions are widely accepted because of the consultation and involvement of both parties in the decision making process.
In Direct informational supervision there are clearly defined options from which the supervisee is expected to choose from. The supervisor allows many alternative courses of actions for the supervisee to choose the best possible. The options are defined by both the supervisor and the supervisee through interaction and feedback. The supervisor acts with expertise in that field to help the supervisee who it is assumed has lesser understanding of the issue and thus reasonably takes instructions and acts upon them.
Directive control supervision involves the transmission of the supervisor's expectations to the supervisee. The supervisor is the prime decision maker and imposes it to the supervisee who goes ahead to meet the set standards. This commonly occurs in situations where the supervisor has the feeling that he/ she has more expertise knowledge and experience than the other party. This is authoritative and the supervisor provides the solutions to all the problems. The responsibility is then passed down to the supervisee to meet the set standards. This kind of supervision should be carefully used only in limited situations because it can create an adversarial relationship between the supervisor and the supervisee.
Effective and efficient supervision stems from the balance that exists between knowledge and experience of the supervisor in the relevant field. In addition, all supervisees have the potential to attain set objectives if given an enabling environment to do so. As thus, supervision should be very facilitative to give the supervisee an opportunity to explore and utilize their potential in the given field. The process of supervision should be centered on the supervisee since this promotes accountability and the supervisee takes more responsibility of his/ her actions and decisions.
Each supervisee is unique in their own making and they always provide something new for the supervisor to learn hence the supervisor should strive to provide a safe and enabling environment in which the supervisee feels valued.
Supervisors need a great deal of confidence on top of the knowledge and skills that they possess since this assures the supervisee and enhances a good outcome of the supervisory relationship. Both the supervisor and the supervisee have a role to play in ensuring the success of this relationship and hence the need to clearly define the expectations together before continuing with the process.
Supervision should be facilitative and thus the supervisee has to be allowed some degree of autonomy and initiative however there's need for well defined limits to guide the actions and decisions of the supervisee.
Successful supervision stems from prior explanation of the realities about supervision by the supervisor to the supervisee who should be helped to freely consent to the wide expectations of the process.
In collaboration with the supervisees, the supervisor should strive to lay down clear objectives within the realms of reality to reduce anxiety and to promote the efficient attainment of the objectives by the supervisee. In addition, supervision involves a relationship between the two parties and hence there's need for trust, positivity and respect between the supervisor and the supervisee.
Supervisors should create an environment for positive interaction during which they share realistic information to increase awareness and informed decisions by the supervisees. When working with a supervisee for the first time, the supervisor should together with the former come together and set realistic objectives clearly understood by each one of them to guide the supervisory relationship. During the supervision process, supervisees come across various challenges and thus the supervisor should focus on the individual strengths and abilities of the supervisee in exploring the best way out of the situation.
Throughout the supervision process, the supervisor should constantly consult with the supervisee since this increases acceptance of decisions made and the supervisee feels valued hence promoting a positive outcome of the process.
Involves active contribution by both the supervisor in defining, exploring, developing alternatives and generating solutions for any presenting problem. It employs negotiations, directing and problem solving techniques to attain its objectives. From the outlook, this seems a very reasonable, effective and efficient approach that can be carefully and easily employed. Collaborative decisions are widely accepted and their efficacy is worth noting.
Supervision of a successful school
Successful school provides an enabling environment that ensures education for all students as well as the development of the staff. The available infrastructures and systems favor the process of imparting knowledge and life skills to the students to equip them to face the challenges that life presents. Supervision of such a school will depend on the school community, its background and the experiences as well as the needs and the existing legislations. In consultation with the teachers, the students and the parents, the supervisors should foster facilitative student centered learning approach that will promote the acceptability and adoptability of decisions made regarding the running of the school. Such is only attainable if all the concerned parties work together for a common purpose. The supervisor should create a facilitative forum for the parents and the students to create and maintain an atmosphere conducive for the learning process. The supervisor in close consultation with all the parties set the systems on which the enabling environment is created. This includes the rules, the physical infrastructure as well as the human resource needs of the school. A successful school also looks at the professional of the staff within the school.
The school should have a positive climate and its appearance should be attractive and appealing to the students. The supervisor should continue the traditions of excellence such as celebration of success and awarding highly achieving students and staff with an exemplary performance. The supervisor should promote a sense of ownership where each individual within the school community wishes to always be identified with the institution. This promotes implementation of decisions that are meant to improve the school.
The principal should have wide understanding of the school set up, the student's diversities as well as the needs of the teachers and the supportive staff. In addition, the principal should understand the power differential between them and those that they supervise and should use that basis to ensure that the schools mission is attained. A part from that, the principal should ensure that the set objectives lack ambiguity as this conveys different meanings to different people hence attainment of the same is almost impossible.
School principals can employ reflection in their practice to help them in their work. This assists them to realize their shortcomings and come with reasonable ways in which they can deal with them to improve the standards of their school.
The principal should value teamwork as the supervision of the school involves the bringing together of different parties for some common purpose.
Necessary Skills of the principal of a successful school
Interactive skills: the principal interacts with teachers, students, parents and other supportive staff to ensure the realization of the school's mission hence he/she should be eloquent, clear possess excellent communication skills. He/she should be appreciative for what his subjects are able to accomplish.
Evaluative skills: the principal should be able to evaluate the status of the school in terms of the academic performance, infrastructure development and staff development in line with the school's set goals and objectives.
Managerial skills: principals for successful schools employ a great deal of managerial skills in planning, organizing, staffing, directing and budgeting the school's resources to meet the set objectives.
Motivational skills: successful principals know how well to motivate their staff and increase their drive to work towards the attainment of the school's objectives. With low motivation, teachers will not effectively impart knowledge to the students, students will not corporate with the teachers in class and observance of the schools regulations and parents will hardly rise to the occasion to support the school's policies.
Analytical skills: principal should be able to look at situations in an abstract manner and understand the details thereby putting him/her in a better position to come up with the best option. He/she should be able to look at a situation in all dimensions and be able to define it.
Diagnostic skills: successful principals are able to establish the existence of a problem and identify any potential future problems. This may include analysis of prevailing conditions to project a likely problem and anticipate handling it when it arises.
Pedagogical skills: the principal must have mastery of what his job employs; the methods in which he can achieve the objectives of his/her job effectively and efficiently. They should be knowledgeable about various administrative issues.