Bolin & Panaritis Notes History of Supervision

Bolin, F. S., & Panaritis, P. (1992). Searching for a common purpose: A perspective on the history of supervision. In C. Glickman (Ed.), Supervision in transition: 1992 yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (pp. 30-43). ASCD.

·      "Conflicting conceptions of the supervisor's role are closely related to differences of opinion about the purposes of school in a democratic society and how to achieve these purposes (p. 30)."

·      Those in the field of supervision can agree on the following:

o   "The function of supervision is an important one whether it is carried out by a superintendent (as in the early history of the filed), a supervisor, curriculum worker, or peer.

o   Supervision is primarily concerned with the improvement of classroom practice for the benefit of students, regardless of what else may be entailed (e.g., curriculum development or staff development) (p. 31)."


Supervision as Inspection

·      Civil War to late 1800s

·      "Education seemed the obvious answer to the needs of an industrial and increasingly multicultural society, and the public began to favor secondary education for all (pp. 32-33)."

·      "Teachers (mostly female and disenfranchised) were seen as a bedraggled troop - incompetent and backward in outlook (p. 33)."

·      Supervisors inspected school culture, student behavior, instruction, and the school facilities.


Supervision as Social Efficiency

·      1900s

·      Supervisor typically = superintendent

·      "The role of the supervisor expanded to include that of on-the-job teacher training (p. 33)."

·      The supervisor was lead teacher in a sense in that his responsibility was to be a teacher of the other teachers. He was also supposed to be critical.

·      Supervisor also = curriculum specialist both in design and training teachers for implementation

·      Rating scales were used to measure effectiveness; scientific management movement, which was related to the industrialized nature of society at this time.

·      "In some instances, teacher freedom and involvement in curriculum making was seen as a crucial part of teachers' supervision (p. 35)."

·      "'Supervision has for its object the development of a group of professional workers who attack their problems scientifically, free from the control of tradition and actuated in the spirit of inquiry' (Commission on Supervision 1930, p. 4) (p. 35)."

·      Conflicting visions of supervision: "Some educators envisioned the creative work of supervision as involving the teacher in the intellectual work of curriculum development. In contrast, others saw creativity in curriculum development as the supervisor's province and creativity in teaching as creative implementation of instructional strategies (p. 36)."

·      1920s: "Some administrators and supervisors were becoming more interested in curriculum development and what was referred to as 'installation,' whereas others were interested in support and improvement of the teacher (p. 36)."


Supervision as Democratic Leadership

·      1926 text The Supervision of Instruction by A.S. Barr & William H. Burton defined supervision as "the improvement of classroom practice" (as quoted on p. 37 by Bolin & Panaritis).

·      Catalysts for this era were the Great Depression and World War II

·      1940s hints of using teachers to engage in curriculum writing

·      1950s: Teacher involvement in curriculum development


The Illusion of Consensus

·      "Schools in our society were created in response to changing social conditions and have always been expected to respond (p. 41)."

·      "As social forces have compelled schools to take on more and more of the work of family and community in educating children, the public has demanded that schools be more and more accountable for outcomes (p. 41)."