Educational Administration Supervision Essay

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Educational Administration Supervision

Educational supervision represents a vitally important component of education management today. Identifying the educational views that delineate a supervisory platform represents an important enterprise because the study of educational ideas can facilitate an understanding concerning how the present educational system has developed and this level of understanding can then be used as a legitimate basis for further progress or change. To this end, this essay delineates the author's personal supervisory platform, including the overarching educational super-philosophy. A summary of the research and important findings are presented in the conclusion.

Educational supervision has become an important part of education management with respect to a wide range of activities, including the provision of applicant feedback, the provision of resources to educational facilities and the recognition of the processes and goals that are required for personal career development and transformation (Sahin, Cek & Zeytin, 2011). Educational supervisors must draw on a wide range of different knowledge and skills to assist their staff members in improving their performance through the following:

1. Weekly supervision meetings;

2. Intervention strategies that affect the way that people interact in conferences;

3. Application of insights about the group process to the problems and concerns of staff;

4. Maintenance of records on staff progress;

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5. Scheduling of individual and group meetings which help staff reflect upon their behavior and goals;

6. Planning for the allocation of materials and equipment; and,

7. Communications with community agencies that helps them understand and support the school's policies and programs (Garubo & Rothstein, 1998, p. 145)

Essay on Educational Administration Supervision Assignment

The educational application of experimentalism by educational supervisors to achieve these and other goals has been described in detail by educators such as Dewey. From this perspective, "Teachers (as students) need to learn what are the truths of their time, but they should not rest content with that parcel of knowledge. Supervisors view schools as laboratories for working with teachers to test old hypotheses and to try new ones" (Glickman, Gordon & Ross-Gordon, 2010, p. 97). The defining characteristics of experimentalism are as follows:

8. View of reality: Reality is what works; it is tentative, and constantly changing;

9. How to learn about reality: Interact with environment; experiment; and,

10. Application to supervision: Supervisors work democratically with teachers in order to test old hypotheses and to try new ones (Glickman et al., 2010, p. 100).

The inextricable interrelationship between working democratically with teachers and experimentalism is an important point because it establishes the framework in which experimentalism operates. In this regard, in his seminal work, Modern Philosophies of Education, Brubacher (1936) advises that, "Democracy, as a way of life, is more than a mode of associated living; it is, also, a method of thought. It stands for voluntary choice" (p. 158). The schoolhouse may not be a democratic institution for students, but the pragmatic dependence on what works in reality and using new ideas to improve these processes means that experimentalism is and must be a democratic process for educators. For instance, Brubacher adds that, "Because variety of opinion is directly encouraged and freely exchanged in a democratic group, there must be some effective logic for selecting the particular varieties of opinion which promise most in achieving the group's purposes. Both democracy and experimentalism lay great store by the individual" (p. 158). Here, educational supervisors play a critical role in leading their groups to a desired goal through the free exchange of opinions in a democratic setting. As Ediger (1995) points out, properly implemented and administered, experimentalism is capable of generating optimal solutions to complex problems. In this regard, Ediger (1995) emphasizes that, "Problem solving is highly useful to individuals in all situations in life. New solutions are needed to solve identified problems" (p. 372).

This is not to say, of course, that every supervisory problem is capable of being solved in an experimentalist fashion. Because resources are by definition scarce, there will be times when alternative supervisory approaches are needed to achieve the desired academic or human resource goals. For example, Zuelke and Willerman (1999) report that, "The solution can be quite prescriptive or less specific as the problem situation requires. A principal may need to tell a teacher that she must use a particular textbook or provide clinical supervision where the principal and teach mutually agree on what classroom behavior will be observed, when and how" (p. 605).

As an overarching super-philosophy, though, experimentalism has much to offer educational supervisors. In ideal settings, educational supervisors who subscribe to experimentalist philosophies will tend to supervise with "a cooperative, 'fellow-experimenter' [approach]. Suggestions will be offered, counsel given, criticisms made, not as a chief might speak to a subordinate but, rather as a research director might speak to a fellow scientist" (Morris, 1991, p. 452). In these settings, Morris suggests that the terminology used to describe the experimentalist approach in schools may be misleading. According to Morris, "Supervision is perhaps not precisely the best word, but it has come to be used in this connection as denoting the relationship between a 'line' or 'staff' officer in the school and the teacher in the classroom" (1991, p. 452).

Today, experimentalist traditions are not always aligned with the theoretical foundation developed by Dewey on the three fundamental factors (the learner, the society, and the subject matter), and there may be the need to conform to controlling legislation that precludes the application of the experimentalist approach (Glanz & Behar-Horenstein, 2000). Indeed, some critics of experimentalism argue that "Experimentalist research traditions, are at first handicapped, confused, and even bewildered with the notion of engaging in participatory research of any kind. They expect to do research 'on the science teacher' or 'on science students,' not collaborate with teachers and students to improve instruction" (Malone & Atweh, 1998, p. 197).

Despite these constraints, the experimentalist focus on identifying what works best and doing more of that makes good sense, but this school of thought also emphasizes that the reality of what works best today may not work as well -- or at all -- in the future because the human condition is a dynamic affair and new theories frequently replace older ones based on new information and knowledge. In this regard, Glickman et al. (2010) report that, "Reality was what worked. If a person could form a hypothesis, test it, and find it to work, then it was regarded as tentatively true. On repeated experimentation with the same results, it became real" (p. 97). This reality, though, is only transient in nature, and will eventually change in some way in response to changes in the operating environment and experimentalists hold that there is always a better way to do things, even if an apparently optimal solution has been identified. For instance, Glickman et al. (2010) add that, "Experimentalists would never claim an absolute truth. The human environment was believed to be constantly changing, so that what one can do and prove today may not be probable tomorrow. A new situation and a different approach may alter yesterday's reality" (p. 97).

There is also a moral component to experimentalism that drives the ongoing search for optimal solutions. In this regard, Glickman and his associates (2010) note that, "Morality is also viewed in relation to what works for humanity and human society. Morality is that behavior that promotes one's working with the group to achieve greater ends" (p. 98). In education, it is axiomatic that in order to improve something, it must first be measured, and the moral component of experimentalism is quantifiable for this purpose. According to Glickman et al., "To be wise is to understand how the environment (of things and people) affects oneself and how one might affect it. Whether action is moral or not is determined by the degree of progress that has been achieved by the group" (2010,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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