Cogan Self-Knowledge of the Supervisor

Cogan, M. (1973). Clinical supervision. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Chapter 3: Self-Knowledge: "Set" and Inference

  • Perception and Judgment

    • Supervisors must self regulate. Self-regulation is a combination of self-awareness of patterns and action regarding the self awareness -how well s/he controls his/her professional behavior. The phases of clinical supervision are interrelated and therefore have cause/effect relationships. Actions in one phase can and do affect actions in another phase.
    • Self-regulation requires effort and dedication.
  • Inferential Sets as Sources of Error

    • Inferential sets, schemata, or perceptual screens are the lens through which the supervisor sees. Such schemata occur unconsciously and are often evaluative. They are learned behaviors and can be modified.
    • Supervisors rely on the memory of what they witnessed coupled with the data when making sense of the data. Both are incomplete and together do not form an accurate picture. (MY THOUGHTS: Would Studiocode combat that?)
    • (MY THOUGHTS: To illustrate the lens through which a supervisor sees a classroom, Cogan uses an example that would insinuate that the supervisor's role is to find evidence about whether students have met the teacher's objectives. I wonder if such an example accurately describes the supervisor's role. I see the supervisor's role as facilitator, helping the teacher to make such determinations through the data the supervisor gathered.)
    • "In brief, what the supervisor 'sees' has been influenced by his objectives and his schemata. He sees and interprets selectively, in his own way (p. 36)."
    • (MY THOUGHTS: Schemata affect the results in our supervision study.)
    • "The effects of distorting schemata are sometimes so painful that people tend to overlook the fact that benign schemata may help an individual to see reality clearly and to relate more effectively and satisfyingly with others (p. 37)."
  • The Educated Judgment

    • The speed of judgment, race, ethnic, and religious bias, fears and anxieties, and interpretation are all factors that affect a supervisor's judgment.
    • The Discipline of Seeing and Judging

      • Extremists (in viewpoints) and those who are judgmental tend to latch on to their schemata and have a difficulty with change.
      • Focusing on the supervisor's processes or decision-making is a safe place to start exploring schemata.
      • Exploring schemata occurs when supervisors experience cognitive dissonance - a discrepancy between their beliefs and actions.
  • Testing Inferences

    • "But the supervisor finds these difficult tasks more manageable when he has the company of peers who are going through the same processes and when he works with experienced supervisors who support the effort and join in seeking understanding (p. 47)." (MY THOUGHTS: Couldn't the same be said for teachers? What about teacher candidates?)
    • (MY THOUGHTS: It sounds like asking supervisors to explore their own schemata is similar to what we are doing with teachers. Teachers are to their supervisors as students are to their teachers. Thus, shouldn't we as supervisors reflect on our own practice and schemata like we ask of the teachers or teacher candidates?)
    • Cogan argues that supervisor preparation requires collegial support. (MY THOUGHTS: Wouldn't the same requirements/characteristics of professional development for teachers be just as appropriate for professional development for supervisors? In essence we are talking about professional growth/learning just using different individuals as subjects.)