Cogan Rationale for Clinical Supervision
Cogan, M. (1973). Clinical supervision. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Chapter 2: Rationale for Clinical Supervision
The Condition of Supervision
- As teachers progress in their careers, their incompetency increases because they lack the support to grow professionally. Clinical supervision is a response to both teacher candidate preparation and teacher development.
- "They (teacher candidates) must first unlearn the deeply etched patterns of teaching they arrive with, then select for their own use appropriate elements of the culturally 'given' styles of teaching they will consolidate into the new and more effective modes of teaching emerging today (p. 15)."
- "The rationale also dictates that clinical supervision is much better not done at all than done with inadequate support or with less-than-expert supervisors. Teachers are better left alone than simply tampered with (p. 15)." MY QUESTION: How, then, should supervisor be trained and prepared? (Sounds like a sub-question for my dissertation.)
- Cogan cautions us to make sure that fidelity is preserved.
The Relationships of Teachers to Supervision
- Teachers embrace clinical supervision in theory but not reality because the supervisor is often seen as the evaluator whose role is to change the teacher's practice rather than as a facilitator whose role is to promote individual growth.
Theory or Rationale for Clinical Supervision?
- No theory for clinical supervision exists.
- "The rationale for clinical supervision, therefore, casts the supervisor in the role envisaged by James: an intermediate, inventive, trained professional committed to working with the teacher to help him make his own original application of the science available to him, in his own style (p. 18)."
- "Supervision is not a science, but it is in part committed to science (p. 18)."
- "...art is so susceptible to abuse when it becomes cult; experience, when it becomes a claim to universality; and intuition when it becomes superstition (p. 18)."
- Clinical supervision is bastardized when rigor is absent or disregarded.
- "In brief, clinical supervision is treated here as an applied, practical, professional operation (p. 20)."
Supervision as Continuing Education
- "It means that he is continuously engaged in improving his practice, as is required of all professionals. In this sense the teacher involved in clinical supervision must be perceived as a practitioner fulfilling one of the first requirements of a professional - maintaining and developing his competence (p. 21)."
- Professionals constantly refine their practice. Clinical supervision should be viewed as a mechanism for professional growth.
Interdependence of the Phases of Supervision
- "In spite of these profound linear constraints on printed communication, one might best describe the essential nature of clinical supervision by saying that its effectiveness depends on the interconnections and the interdependence of all its parts (p. 21)."
- The phases of clinical supervision are not linear; they are multidimensional. Each can influence the others.
Supervision as Professional Company for the Teacher
- "Educators have generally failed to establish firm professional expectations among teachers that other educators will regularly and rightfully be present in classrooms, performing a variety of educational functions. As a result, the entrance of adults into a classroom too often provokes a teacher's anxiety and resistance (p. 23)."
- Clinical supervision can eliminate isolation and the feeling of loneliness. It also can promote collegiality. (MY QUESTION: DOES THAT HAPPEN WITH SUPERVISORS IN THE PDS?)
Ethics in the Rationale of Clinical Supervision
- "Thus any attempt to develop clinical supervision as a profession must begin with an ethical commitment that binds the supervisor to the teachers he serves, this commitment being part of his professional self-discipline (p. 24)."
- Clinical supervisors have ethical obligations to the teachers they are supervising and the students that the teacher teaches. Clinical supervisors should not provide counsel outside their areas of expertise. (MY THOUGHTS: I WOULD ARGUE THAT THEIR ROLE IS NOT AS A COUNSELOR OR ADVISOR BUT RATHER FACILITATOR, DEVOID OF ADVISEMENT.)
- "This discussion of the problem of conflicting, competing, and incompatible objectives is not intended to provide a set of answers. It is, however, designed to make clear the supervisor's need to (1) recognize the possibilities of conflict, (2) avoid conceiving these differences as mutually exclusive or irreconcilable, and (3) develop within himself the professional resources needed to deal with these problems (p. 27)."
"The clinical supervisor must also -
- 1. recognize that diverse sets of values impinge upon decisions about what objectives to choose in working with a teacher;
- 2. examine and develop his own values about goal-setting in clinical supervision;
- 3. develop within himself the resources of varied and flexible strategies for dealing with these problems;
- 4. take into account the fact that situational factors may influence the priorities and values affecting decisions about the objectives of clinical supervision (p. 27)."
The Uses of Shared Decision-Making
- For clinical supervision to be effective, it must involve shared decision-making. Otherwise, the noninvestment of one of the parties will render the process superficial and ineffective.
- "The ultimate effectiveness of shared decision-making depends not only upon the form of the process but also upon its ultimate success (p. 28)."
- Shared decision-making is not devoid of conflict and does not necessarily indicate harmonious agreement all the time.
The Importance of the Cycle in the Rationale
- "If clinical supervision is a way of helping teachers to improve their teaching, then the cycle of clinical supervision is designed to make that help operative (p. 29)."
- The pace of clinical supervision is dependent upon the pace of the teacher.
Learning "Why" in Clinical Supervision
- "Most of the learnings that form the objectives of clinical supervision, however, are learnings characterized by insight and understanding. That is, the teacher should, whenever possible and feasible, not only learn new behavior, but he should understand why he does what he does and why it is better or worse than other things he might do (p. 30)."
The Staff Concept in Supervision
- "Nevertheless, one might venture to say that in order to supply student teachers in universities with formative rather than merely symbolic supervision, enough supervisors would be needed to provide an average of perhaps five hours a week for each student (p. 31)."
- (MY QUESTION: WOULD OTHER PDAS SERVE AS COLLATERAL PERSONNEL?)
- Collateral personnel are others who possess expertise that the supervisor does not. Their knowledge complements that of the supervisor's. Examples can include subject matter specials, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.
- "On the contrary, teachers learn to view supervision as the operation of a set of varied resources supportive of their teaching, brought to bear not according to some random schedule but according to the nature and the occasion of their need for help (p. 33)."