A case study of the implementation of peer clinical supervision in an urban elementary school



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Purpose. The objectives of the study were three-fold: 1) to describe and document the variations in how teachers implemented peer clinical supervision in one elementary school setting, 2) to discover and examine important contextual factors for their congruence or incongruence with the peer clinical supervision model, and 3) to analyze critically the potential of clinical supervision as a feasible model for elementary teachers1 use. Procedures. Twelve volunteer elementary teachers and one counselor from an urban school enrolled in a one semester graduate course entitled, "Clinical Supervision." The course was designed to explore the conceptual understandings of clinical supervision and to train teachers in clinical supervision techniques. Each participant completed four documented cycles of peer clinical supervision. Three primary types of data collection were used: documentation of the cycles (including pre-observation agreement forms, instruments used for data collection, and tape recordings of post-observation conferences), ethnographic fieldnotes, and teacher self-report data. Cycles were analyzed to describe how teachers implemented peer clinical supervision, fieldnotes were analyzed for themes related to the degree of congruence between model and setting, and self-report data were analyzed for teacher reactions to the project. The three strands of data were each examined separately and then were overlaid to discover points of intersection, commonalities and disparities. Findings. Discussion of the results centers on 1) the degree of congruence of the model and the setting, and 2) teachers' stances toward analytical behaviors. The assumptions and procedures of clinical supervision were found to be incompatible with this urban school setting. Factors identified as isolation and fragmentation, stratification, standardization, and reactionism mitigated against integration of the model into the setting. Time constraints as well as the principal's behavior also limited the potential of the model. Teachers, in general, eschewed a strong analytical posture in their implementation of the model. They evidenced a "life and let live" ethos and usually offered simple, single solutions to issues dealt with in conferences. Whether they were unable or unwilling to engage in probing analysis was unclear. It is postulated that clinical supervision is undergoing a mutation and a description of that mutation and reasons for its occurrence are offered.



School supervision, Teaching