Yusko Supervisory practices that build relationships and communities

Yusko, B. P. (2004). Caring communities as tools for learner-centered supervision. Teacher Education Quarterly, 31(3), 53-72.


Summary: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine a supervisor’s practices for building relationships and creating community among her preservice teachers and between herself and her preservice teachers. The author deems her practice as learner-centered supervision. Two overarching practices were modeling caring and fidelity and structuring the seminar to promote a caring community. Within each of these areas, he outlined specific activities. For modeling caring and fidelity, the supervisor attended to her preservice teachers’ thinking, tracked changes in their thinking over time, talked openly about her interpretations of her preservice teachers comments and concerns, demonstrated thoughtfulness, and called attention to individual thinking. With regard to the seminar, the supervisor monitored the community development, used her interpretations of their concerns as impetuses for seminar topics, evoked mental images, made thinking public, modeled dialogue, and offered opportunities for her preservice teachers to practice these skills.

Research Question: None identified, “The remainder of this paper uses the principles of learner-centered supervision and community of caring to analyze the features of Rose’s practice” (p. 58).


Methodology: Case study


Methods: field notes, transcripts from observations, transcripts from interviews, stimulated recall


Participants: 1 supervisor


Key Quotes/Findings:

  • Successful strategies included:

    • Modeling of habits, skills, and dispositions was an effective strategy for building community.
    • Being attentive to students’ ideas, questions, and concerns
    • Designed learning activities to foster agency and demonstrate shared responsibility
    • Valuing conversations about teaching
    • Following up on previous activities that caused dissonance in the community
    • Creating mental images to recreate emotions
    • Demonstrating evidence that her seminar activities were planned in accordance with the PSTs’ needs
    • Transparency in goals
    • Transparency of connections to standards and big ideas
    • Making the seminar topics relevance and meaningful
    • Positioning her voice after PSTs but not in a value that overrides them
    • Demonstrating that she valued their voice and contributions
  • “By being attentive to individuals, she established her care for their individual thinking and ‘confirmation’ of the interns as contributors to a dialogue about teaching” (p. 61).
  • The seminar became a context for creating community and building relationships between the supervisor and her PSTs and among the PSTs.