Gordon Reinvigorating the Field of Instructional Supervision

Gordon, S. P. (2012, October). Ten ways to reinvigorate the field of instructional supervision. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Council of Professors of Instructional Supervision.

Summary: In this paper, Gordon argues that the field of supervision is in trouble. Without change, it may dwindle to irrelevancy. He offers suggestions for re-invigorating the field.


“Despite the fact that instructional supervision continues to be carried out in thousands of districts and schools across the nation, instructional supervision as a field of study does not appear to be having a major influence in scholarly or practitioner circles (p.2).”


“Teacher evaluation, with its dismal history, has pulled the term instructional supervision down to its level (p. 3).”


While individuals may wish to specialize in different aspects of supervision (what term does Diane use for the different kinds she identified?), supervision and instructional leadership is and should be much broader. These specializations are components of the larger field.


Gordon argues for a “coherent supervision system (p. 5)” (MY MODEL WOULD ANSWER THIS CALL AND UNITE THE FIELD). In fact, Gordon states in this paper that PDSs would be an intersection point for supervision and teacher education and the field much address this area as well where it has historically focused more on supervision in schools. He argues that the field needs to “build bridges (p. 6).”


Gordon also states that the field needs to address teacher leaders as individuals who perform the function of supervision and not just administrators. (AGAIN – HERE IS WHERE I NEED TO MAKE A CONNECTION BECAUSE THE HYBRID ROLE AND SPECIFICALLY THE REASSIGNED TEACHER AS HYBRID EDUCATOR GETS AT THIS IDEA. MY RESEARCH ADDRESSES THIS.)


“Teacher leadership is really the only way that an ongoing, school-wide supervision system can exist in our schools, and the field of supervision should not only endorse but also take the lead in preparing teacher leaders as well as supporting and studying teacher leadership (p. 7).”


Suggestions include :

  1. Changing the name of the field – suggests Supervision and Instructional Leadership to match the AERA SIG among other suggestions
  2. Assuming a broader view of the field (THIS IS A RATIONALE FOR MY WORK – THAT’S WHAT I HAVE DONE)
  3. Making connections to current trends and hot topics

    1. Hot topics include but are not limited to teacher induction, mentoring, professional learning communities, adult development, adult learning, teaching as a career
  4. Re-create a journal for supervision and partner with a major publisher
  5. Publish COPIS position papers
  6. Engage in collaborative and thematic research
  7. Enhance the online presence
  8. Establish relationships with other scholarly groups
  9. Expand the COPIS conference to include a focus on practice and a focus on theory