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Views on educational supervision.

leadersLike everything else in the area of education,supervision is undergoing many changes.I still remember many stories of teachers trembling of fear for days and maybe weeks upon knowing that the ‘inspector’ is visiting them.I have seen cases of teachers who have never prepared a lesson plan,fortunately not a lot, and they ask other colleagues to lend them their lesson plan on the day of the ‘inspector”s visit.This reminds me of old women borrowing their friends’  dress for a wedding party! I still remember  story,I was told, of a teacher leaving the inspector in the classroom because he did not prepare his lesson.

This might show a lot about the image which teachers held or still hold about what was once called the inspector ,in fact the same title is still used officially today,though the role is no longer  the same.

It used to be the case that the inspector had the role of going into classrooms and inspecting teachers,maybe trying to pinpoint their mistakes,and sometimes even forcing mistakes out even though none was there.I still doubt if those inspectors came into the teacher with a constructive intention!I am not going to generalize;yet,we all heard of stories where inspectors thought that their mission was to ask a series of ‘where is…?’ questions,hoping that they would fall on something the teacher missed preparing or bringing to class.Such inspectors didn’t know that their main job is to help teachers improve their teaching practices for the sake of better improving the quality of students’ achievement.

I have seen that the profession both of teaching and supervision is undergoing many changes,I hope that the impact that will affect the destination (learners) will be positive.Today,the title ‘inspector’ should be revisited for the sake of appropriately describing what the function of this person really is.Many people have already started using the term ‘supervisor’.I think this term carries less of the ‘go for the hunt’ connotations that are associated with the term ‘inspector’.I am now aware that today’s new generation of supervisors are themselves unwilling to use the term ‘inspector’ anymore.

Today’s supervisors should be equiped with the skills and willingness to defend the students’ interests and to do that they should be no more than supportive to teachers,in every aspects of the teaching profession.Spervisors should have enough knowledge and skills to deal with the new methodological situations.These situations,today,shouldn’t be only related to the teaching of the basic language skills such as reading and writing;yet,they are more of a new nature because our students are dealing with the new technologies,webtools,gadgets and applications.Supervisors should train themselves,now that official training in that area is lacking or inefficient,on how to help teachers,hence students,on how to exploit these new learning tools for the sake of communicating better with the world.That’s one mission,which is stated but not well-targeted in our educational documents and policies.

Today,supervisors should help teachers to rely more on themselves for their professional development.This can happen by creating learning communities (virtual or real).The supervisor’s mission ,then,is to create the conditions  in which teachers gather,exchange ideas and grow together.We all know of cases where some of our best teachers have very innovative and effecient practices and they keep them for themselves,not because they are unwilling to share them;yet,the  necessary conditions for sharing are not provided.

Today,I suppose that any ‘where is …(this or that)?’ question from a supervisor should be justified with pedagogic reasons.Teachers should see the relevance and importance of any document or suggestion ….only then can they be ready to change their views and habits.It’s obviously useless and also painful to ask someone to prepare something without telling them the reason why and sometimes even how.It would ,of course, seem as a sort of punishment to tell a teacher that he/she should adopt a certain method or technique without being able to see the rationale and the effect that is going to have on students.That’s what’s happening to our students today,abd that’s why their achievement is far below the expectations.Our students are not told about the meaning and relevance of what they are doing at school,and so it’s somehow justified if they see ‘meaninglesness’ in everything around them.So,for the process to have a positive impact on learning,teachers should see the ‘meaning’ of what they are doing or told to do,and they have in turn to share that ‘meaningfulness’ with their learners.

I hope this blog is not too long for you to read.Please feel free to put forward your ideas and comments.

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