Garman Clinical Approach to Supervision Notes

Garman, N. B. (1982). The clinical approach to supervision. In T. Sergiovanni (Ed.), Supervision of teaching: 1982 yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (pp. 35-52). Virginia: ASCD.

·      Clinical supervision is service oriented.

·      "The supervisor is competent, compassionate, professional; however, it should be emphasized that supervision represents a good deal of effective tinkering. Supervisors are itinerant, working in one place and then another, seeing no beginning no middle, no end. They must be knowledgeable and skillful enough to have 'the courage not to know' and yet function confidently. This is the clinical supervisor's legacy (p. 35)."

·      "The concepts, colleagiality, collaboration, skilled service, and ethical conduct, have become the imperatives that, when explicated, stake out the domain of the clinical approach to supervision (p. 35)."


A Knowledge Base

·      "Itinerants are generally competent leaders who find the clarity of the method refreshing and are guided by the texts (p. 36)."

·      "The clinical disposition, by contrast, imagines that the 'real world' is the clinic (wherever that may be). It is a time and place where special involvements will eventually be meaningful (p. 37)."

·      "The processes implicit in the cycle of supervision can become inquiry methodology for one to generate theory (p. 37)."


Constructs and Concepts in Supervision


The Clinical Approach: Twenty Years Later

·      "Colleagiality refers to the posture of the persons who become involved in supervision; that is, their state of being, their prevailing tendencies - more direct, the 'mental baggage' they bring with them as they work together (p. 38)."

·      "Collaboration addresses the nature of the involvement of the persons during the supervisory alliance (p. 38)."

·      "Skilled service suggests that the supervisor is able to offer competent accommodation and activities required by the supervisee as a result of prolonged and specialized intellectual training and practice (p. 38)."

·      "Ethical conduct refers to constant discretion and judgment in one's actions through standards of behavior so that those involved can be confident that this professional attitude will provide trust and protection (p. 38)."


Colleagiality: A Frame of Mind

·      Alienated Critic

o   Distanced, critique of past, suggestions for future, frustrated by present

o   "I have no disposition toward colleagiality until I can understand the source of my attitudes (p. 39)."

·      Neutral Observer

o   Detached, dispassionate, neutral, objective

o   "Many supervisors get stuck somewhere between alienated critic and neutral observer. They have developed the facile skills and language associated with scientific-like techniques and can assume a neutral, descriptive position for a period of time only to return, even more articulate, to the comforts of the alienated critic, not wanting the responsibility for action and accountability (p. 41)."

o   "Lack of compassion for those with whom we differ locks the mind and spirit (p. 41)."

o   "It is the combined flaws of ignorance and lack of compassion that prevent us from making meaningful connections with those whom we find disagreeable (p. 41)."

·      Connected Participant

o   First step in genuine colleagiality, connection to another, respect, affection, may disagree but they aren't enemies, shared responsibility, faith in the success of the partnership, "We", understand other's perspective, Identify with them

o   "To reject our heritage is to sever our connections to the past, a form of collective denial that can only lead to professional alienation (p. 42)."

·      Organic Member

o   Unable to distinguish between teacher and supervisor, seamless flow, consider abstract notions of others' actions and contributions

o   "While in the frame of mind of the connected participant I remain conscious of my unique self in relation to another; the emphasis is often on the quality of the relationship and the nature of the interaction (p. 42)."

o   "I'm able to see that much of the activity and results of the involvement will unfold in a manner that will lead to new and unpredictable states. I can be energized by seeing others and myself make important contributions, discovering potential we never imagined in ourselves (p. 42)."

·      Colleagiality as a Face-to-Face Encounter


Collaboration: Toward Educational Alliances

·      Non-working Involvement

o   Resistance, possible hostility

o   "Defensive behaviors are more subtle, less abrasive, and take a bit longer to discharge; albeit, most supervisors are well versed in the wide range of defenses, from negativism, silence, oververbalization, self-deprecation ('I'll tell you my faults before you do') to unmitigated charm and ebullience (including flattery for the supervisor's cleverness) (p. 43)."

·      Working-Acceptance Involvement

o   "In my opinion, ritualistic activity may be viewed as marginal aspects of educational alliances (p. 44)."

o   The "Religious Confessional" process of the typical post conference:

§  "Supervisor officiates

§  Teacher confesses his/her transgressions

§  Supervisor suggests ways to repent

§  Teacher agrees to recant

§  Supervisor assists in penance

§  Teacher makes Act of Contrition

§  Supervisor gives absolution

§  Both go away feeling better (p. 45)."

o   The Religious Confessional has implications for teacher's and supervisor's roles.

o   "The clinical supervisor recognizes the powerful undercurrent of ritualistic conferences and can change the ceremonial aspects into educational alliances  - those encounters during which participants learn something about their professional actions (p. 45)."

·      Involvements with Genuine Participation

o   "When people deal with one another honestly, transcending the ritualistic tendencies to 'maintain face' or give 'temporary lip service,' educational alliances can be established (p. 45)."

o   "The emphasis here is agreement, the act of making explicit statements about the shared events so that the participants have a common language and accept each others' perception of the events from a similar frame of reference (p. 45)."

o   Supervisor knowledge, skills, dispositions, and hints of supervisor development: "Early in the clinical practice, the supervisor develops a keen ear for precise vocabulary and, in a sense, becomes bilingual. He/she acquires one language which speaks about the inner world of personal feelings and attitudes and another for describing, interpreting, and judging the outer world of professional acts and consequences. Concept formation, mentioned earlier, is a primary skill, since intelligent communication is the basis on which our profession rests. Initial responsibility for collaboration is placed on the supervisor who is expected to have the appropriate language to make explicit what the nature of educational agreements means to the participants (pp. 45-56)."

o   "The skilled supervisor is also able to recognize the mode (or modes) of reality within which other participants are acting and, if need be, to resolve serious discrepancies if collaboration is in jeopardy (p. 46)."

o   "Educational alliances, then, are educational involvements based on working agreements during which the participants understand the conditions of the agreement and willingly work within them (p. 46)."

o   Weekly check-in for supervisors?

·      Involvements with Organic Reciprocity


Skilled Service

·      "The clinical supervisor is able to claim that he/she can offer a service to teachers in the educational community as a result of prolonged and specialized intellectual training and practice. The nature of the service is made explicit to the teacher who becomes client-colleague during the supervisory alliance (p. 49)."

·      Modes of inquiry for supervisory practice: discovery, verification, explanation, interpretation, evaluation from the study - Noreen B. Garman, "The Mousetrap Study: A Three Paradigm Research Effort on Practice in Clinical Supervision." Summary published in the 1980/81 Proceedings of the Council of Professors of Instructional Supervision Annual Conference by the University of Georgia.


Ethical Conduct

·      "Ethical conduct generally implies that we subscribe to a belief in the constant exercise of discretion and judgment is supervisory action through standards of behavior so that those involved can be confident in knowing that a professional attitude will maintain trust and protection (p. 52)."


When Are We Really Clinical Supervisors?

·      " A person becomes a clinical supervisor when he/she begins to think and act as if the 'cycle of supervision' were a metaphor as well as a method; when observation and analysis are not only procedural phases for actions in classrooms, but also represent the empirical approach inherent in a skilled service; when the notion of conference not only means two people meeting before and after classroom visits, but also suggests dynamic forms of collaboration in educational alliances; when the image of 'cycle' not only guarantees repeated performance, but also refers to high levels of involvement and commitment that press participants toward the 'conectedness' of colleagiality; when the teacher-supervisor relationship stands for ethical conduct as it is lived out in important choices. The specificity of the method can inform us about the unbounding qualities of the metaphor (p. 52)."

·      "Ultimately a person becomes a clinical supervisor when eh/she can use the method, act through the metaphor, and thereby sort out the nontrivial from the trivial in order to bring meaning to educational endeavors (p. 52)."


Notes from Previous Reading During Supervision (EDLDR 562) course:

•    The practice of supervision should not solely be defined by the cyclical model of clinical supervision.

A Knowledge Base:
•    Itinerant supervisors cling to the cyclical method and find it serves as a relief to assist them in their jobs.
•    Clinical supervisors find their practice embedded in their work. They engage in long relationships with the context and participants and seek to be learner as well.

Constructs and Concepts in Supervision
•    Concepts should be measured by their reliability and their usability.
•    "If educational practice has integrity, the practitioner recognizes that concept formation is necessary for renewing the life of the practice, and searches for unifying principles which connect the past to the present (p. 38)."

The Clinical Approach: Twenty Years Later
•    Collegiality: A Frame of Mind (4 Levels)
    o    Collegiality is a frame a mind - a cognitive state about the environment in which one works and how one functions within that environment.
    o    (It's a hierarchy...(see below) (how am I supposed to relate to you...look at the adjectives below...)
    o    Alienated Critic
        •    Emotional investment allows one to become an alienated critic. Prior experience with the situation gives the authority to critique.
    o    Neutral Observer
        •    The neutral observer maintains a detached disposition.
        •    "It is the combined flaws of ignorance and lack of compassion that prevent us from making meaningful connections with those whom we find disagreeable (p. 41)."
        •    Jim's interpretation - It's just the facts. It's your responsibility.
    o    Connected Participant
        •    Aligning philosophies enable one to connect with others and act as a connected participant.
        •    Connections create genuine collegiality.
        •    "...the appreciation of the rich culture of teaching will inevitably become a force in mutual colleagiality (sic) (p. 42)."
        •    Jim's interpretation - We're supposed to work together. I have my role and you have your role. No one ever steps out of their roles.
    o    Organic Member
        •    Jim's interpretation - the roles get interchanged. (This is the distinction between connected and organic.) You can't distinguish between who is the supervisor or who is the teacher. They are interchanged.
    o    Collegiality as a Face-to-Face Encounter
        •    Quality of interaction time is more important than quantity.
Collaboration - When there's a power differential organizationally, the supervisor's frame of mind determines the level of the relationship. It can limit the collaborative relationship. Because the supervisor, to some extent, has power, the teacher's frame of mind is not as important. The teacher's power lies in access. S/he determines how far the supervisor is let in...The teacher is the gatekeeper. Both partner's frame of mind (collegial stance) influence the relationship.
    o    Non-working Involvement
    o    Working - Acceptance Involvement:
        •    Politeness
        •    Does not always feel genuine
    o    Involvements with Genuine Participation
        •    Honesty and trustworthiness does not necessarily guarantee genuine participation.
        •    Closed agreements are restrictive; open are not.
        •    Closed agreements are very structured; open are free to evolve.
    o    Involvements with Organic Reciprocity
        •    Organic reciprocity occurs when mutual respect, genuine affection, and dynamic tension occurs.
        •    Dynamic tension allows the individuals to challenge and stimulate each other's thinking while still maintaining a mutual respect for one another. Each continues to learn from the other.
    o    Skilled Service
        •    Educational Encounters
        •    Inquiry Skills
            •    Supervisors resort to checklists since they are easier to execute rather than data gathering and observational mechanisms.
            •    Discovery
            •    Verification
            •    Explanation
            •    Interpretation
            •    Evaluation
•    Ethical Conduct
    o    "In clinical supervision, one doesn't have ethics, one does ethics (p. 52)."
•    When Are We Really Clinical Supervisors?
    o    "Ultimately a person becomes a clinical supervisor when he/she can use the method, act through the metaphor, and thereby sort out the nontrivial from the trivial in order to bring meaning to educational endeavors (p. 52)."

See additional notes in Word document.