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Clinical Supervision vs Peer Coaching

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The numerous styles of leadership have varying differences but also bring with them complementary strengths. Leaders that envision success delineate a perspective of contemplating the future. Leadership is defined through so many different dimensions and there are multiple ways to develop a relationship a good, effective relationship with those who are being led. This essay will look at the sources of direct instruction and compare and contrast the models of clinical supervision and peer coaching. Assessing and Planning Within Peer Coaching and Clinical Supervision As with any endeavor there must first be a level of planning to determine where to go and the route to take to get there. Even before the planning session there must be a session to determine a starting point. Think of the direct assistance and supervision of educators as a skill development journey such as that of reading a road map, budgeting for the cost and creating a contingency plan. Now imagine planning this trip with a well-seasoned traveler or with someone who has never been outside of their own hometown. It may seem like the first impression is that one would obviously need more assistance in making this trip planner as good and as effective as possible on the other hand, it will be important to evaluate the skills already in place because the initial intuition may not be as accurate as thought.

Depending on the intention of each planner and each traveler the vision of that journey’s success may vary greatly or just ever so slightly. Now speaking from personal experience, it has been two very different experiences in planning a trip with a parent and showing a middle school son the basics of planning a trip nevertheless, each one had strengths to work with in varying shades of the spectrum. When assessing and planning with teachers as the learning supervisor engaged in either clinical supervision or peer coaching the objectives must be made clear and then the appropriate strategy will become evident. The Clinical Supervision Cycle, such as that of Danielson (2008), has four stages. Since this model is a cycle, the third and fourth stages funnel back in to the first two to begin another cycle. Clinical supervision is typically done with a supervisor although the version will be determined based upon the supervisor’s assessment of the teacher’s levels of need and self- sufficiency (Elliott, Isaacs, & Chugani, 2010).

The supervisor’s technical skills will become an ever so necessary part of the assistance plan in either model in order to foster the enhancement of each teacher’s learning objectives. Peer coaching as described by Jewett & MacPhee (2012) describes a phenomenal experience where teachers were faced with finding their own coaching partner. The center of the experience was intended to serve a collaborative sharing of knowledge and the assessment and planning pieces were led by sharing “experiences, stories, tools, and methods and through these kinds of interactions they learn how to do their work better” (Jewett & MacPhee, 2012, p. 106). Strengths and Weaknesses of Peer Coaching

Looking at peer coaching brings to mind the essentials of developing a collaborative framework for effective teaching practices. Working with a partner teacher allows for a sort of relationship where each can pay close attention to each other’s personal interests and needs. Finding common ground can be mutually engaging and can provide for authentic learning situations as both partners are learning from each other. The destination of learning from each other can be a challenging place to arrive at when most teachers are familiar with the typical interaction between themselves and a supervisor. The situation may seem to be a replication of one of the partners taking on the role of expert which could potentially leave the partners standing in uncomfortable positions and this poses a challenging barrier to route a path around.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Clinical Supervision
Clinical supervision also has both tricky and less complex aspects. The formal process between supervisor and supervisee is a lengthy process to reach just one outcome or goal and is regulated by the state (at least it is here in PA). This model of supervision is widely accepted as a useful framework for watching what is going on during the teaching and for providing fruitful feedback. When principals engage in clinical supervision it allows for a carefully planned snapshot of the teaching going on in the classroom. With careful discussion, this model can also provide a detailed insight into the learning that is going on in the classroom too. When utilized insightfully, the process of clinical supervision is a credulous way for the principal to develop a route to trusting and transparent relationships with teachers. The roles in each version of assistance differ and so do their contributions to the supervisory processes. Supervision Through the Lens of Peer Coaching

Peer coaching allows for colleagues to learn the value of quality feedback and to practice the skills of watching and listening. This non-traditional version of professional development allows educators to go a little deeper than just brushing the surface of a minimum number of goals. Supervision becomes less informal and more of a learning partnership since the role of supervisor is somewhat shared at different various times throughout the processes. Peer coaching provides more than just a snapshot of each teacher’s skills but allows for examination of a wide variety of skills, this method also contributes to the enhancement of self-reflection and self-evaluation. This version of instructional leadership is not the universally accepted, typical convention and so it provides a very different definition if educational leadership. Supervision Through the Lens of Clinical Supervision

For some the expression of educational leadership comes in the form of devotion to the process of clinical supervision. It may include sharing frequent pertinent articles, or being punctual at every step of the way through the clinical supervision cycle. It may include the role of initiating, facilitating and supporting the process of enhancing teacher effectiveness. Engaging in clinical supervision allows for supervisors to clearly gauge the levels of needs of individual teachers and be able to respond to the teachers’ needs appropriately (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2012). Clinical supervision allows principals to focus on teaching and learning in appropriate proportions to concentrate efforts on professional development that will enhance the instructional program and ultimately the learning of each student. In closing, in can be said that supervision is vital to the personal and professional development of educators and keen leaders will recognize that each style of supervision will be determined by each individual teacher’s display of needs. Furthermore, every team member knows the significance of success and how it is achieved.

Every definition of success will differ but will need to be adapted to meet the needs of your school. Both models provide valuable concepts for developing and retaining highly qualified teachers and each presents its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of each person’s idea of success the strategy should articulate a compelling vision and link clear standards and a plan of action to accomplish the vision. The supervisory function of assuring that high quality learning is happening can be accomplished in several ways and no matter which way educators are nurtured the outcomes should always be focused on effective learning so that not only are teachers invested in the learning but ultimately so are the students. Whether your journey covers a neighborhood or a country the experiences on the way are just as pertinent to success as reaching the end.

Bambrick-Santoyo, P. (2012). Beyond the scoreboard. Educational Leadership, 70(3), 26-30.

Danielson, C. (2008). The handbook for enhancing professional practice: Using the framework for teaching in your school. Alexandria, VA, ASDC. Elliott, E. M., Isaacs, M. L., & Chugani, C. D. (2010). Promoting self-efficacy in early career teachers: A principal’s guide for differentiated mentoring and supervision. Florida Journal Of Educational Administration & Policy, 4(1), 131-146. Jewett, P., & MacPhee, D. (2012). Adding collaborative peer coaching to our teaching identities. Reading Teacher, 66(2), 105-110. doi:10.1002/TRTR.01089

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