Lee Self-study of cross-cultural supervision of teacher candidates for social justice

Lee, Y. A. (2011). Self-study of cross-cultural supervision of teacher candidates for social justice. Studying Teacher Education, 7(1), 3-18.


Summary: The purpose of the qualitative, self-study was for a Korean supervisor to better understand her practice as a supervisor of white, American early childhood teacher candidates in their field experience to help them grow and develop as teachers of social justice. She reflected heavily on her relationships and relationship construction over the course of the academic year. Her relationships with each candidate were diverse and complex, and they evolved over time.


Strategies she used:

  • Creation of a focus group dialogue
  • Engaged them in activities to learn about themselves
  • Engaged them in activities to learn about them
  • Encouraged building relationships among others

    • Invited the cooperating teachers to be part of the conversations
    • Asked cooperating teachers to read teacher candidate journals and engage in triadic conversations
    • Asked principals and other school administrators to observe teacher candidates and provide feedback
    • Required teacher candidates to observe each other
    • Continued and ongoing attention to discussing the benefits of collaboration during conversations
  • Recognized and discussed differences among them
  • Collaborative problem solving over a common problem

Key Quotes and Points:

  • “The difference could be found in our supervisory relationships. Most of my participants seemed to assume that there should be a clear role for a teacher candidate and a supervisor, and if each one did her own job well, there would be no problem. That is, they expected me to observe their teaching and provide corrective feedback and to leave the changing to them. In contrast, I assumed that our roles should be continuously reshaped through reciprocal interactions and dialogues” (p. 8).
  • She recognized that language was a tool for building relationships. In the beginning, she made it a point to be very attentive to standard and accepted ways of speaking.
  • Building relationships begins with knowing oneself and getting to know the other individual(s).
  • Culture and ideologies contribute to relationships construction.
  • “I quickly learned that in the US I had to be careful about what and how I asked about other peoples’ personal lives” (p. 9).
  • “When I asked about their perceptions of the relationship between teacher candidates and supervisors, I was disappointed to discover that most of them did not consider a close relationship necessary for supervision” (p. 9).
  • Key ingredients to building successful relationships are time and communication.
  • Relationships can be built/strengthened when individuals are working towards a common problem to solve.
  • Building relationships helped her to feel more comfortable with her own cultural identity.
  • Power plays a role in relationships. It is omnipresent and constantly shifting, being negotiated and renegotiated. “I became more sensitive to our different power positions and the ways they were socially, culturally, historically, and politically constructed” (p. 16).