Supervision and evaluation are considerable vehicles to enhancing the performance of teachers and teacher assistants. An assistant teacher works under the supervision of a teacher. This stipulates that an assistant teacher helps the teachers in their responsibility. As outlined in the Special Education Policy and the School Act, it is the responsibility of the teacher to design the education program, implement it, and then conduct an evaluation (Bouchamma, 2005). Today, the major concern is the professional development of teachers to ensure that there is improved learning through supervision. However, for a change to occur, the teachers must believe in the change and the change process. In addition, self-evaluation of the implemented education programs can be biased especially when the results are the measure of success. Evaluation is more study based signifying that bias in the evaluation results to unethical behavior. Evaluation requires a non-interested party for it to be credible and accurate.
The teachers have specific roles that cannot be delegated to the assistant teachers. The assistant teachers, on the other hand, have their specific responsibilities under the supervision of the teachers. For maximum performance, there are those tasks that both the teachers and the assistants share. However, the designing of the education programs lies solely on the teachers. The assistant teachers only come in the implementation phase to offer suggestions on ways of improving or areas of focus. In addition, the assistant teachers also share information about the behavior of students in an aim to support the program goals and program design. When it comes to activities, both parties plan together, and the plans are regularly reviewed. This ensures that the learning program goals are achieved. Under the supervision of teachers, the assistant teachers assist not only the teachers but also the students by identifying the focus areas of the education programs. This goes a long way in improving learning and the professional development of teachers (Stoltenberg, 2008).
As a teacher, there is the responsibility of evaluating and assessing the education program. This involves determining the milestones reached and making necessary changes. The assistant teachers help in this phase by engaging in some activities such as observing students strengths and assisting in the data collection for assessment of students. This is done under the supervision of the teachers. However, in that, the teachers develop and implement the education program; other stakeholders should come in to evaluate the program (Stoltenberg, 2008). Given that the stakeholders may require the evaluation reports, the teacher may be biased in the evaluations to rank higher. Though unethical and immoral, it is possible for a teacher to be biased in the evaluation of a program created by the same teacher.
The assistant teachers are also involved in the evaluation phase. However, their activities are closely supervised by the teachers, which would make it hard for them to make any independent decisions. The supervision and evaluation model of teachers had the aim of promoting teachers empowerment and professional development at its inception. The mechanism developed a process where teachers can determine their goal and then through a supervisory relationship work towards accomplishing these goals. Such a model was adopted by the Medicine Hat school District in the year 1985. Based on the current policies on education, the assistant teachers help the teachers in managing their responsibilities (Thomas & Hirschkorn, 2015). Once the teachers develop the education program, the assistant teachers come in to help in the implementation. It is questionable whether this model of supervision leads to the professional development of the assistant teachers. Several models reflect the developmental perspective of supervision.
The developmental approach to supervision is very dominant in this century. This approach is based on the assumptions that in the process of development, the supervisee has to undergo several stages, which are different from one another qualitatively. In addition, every stage will require a different environment of supervision for maximum development to occur (Stoltenberg, 2008). There are several important models reflecting the developmental perspective. One of the models is the Lee-Borden and Lorenz model, which attempts to match the needs of the supervisee with the behavior of the supervisor. It is characterized by building a relationship, setting a goal, and contracting. The model advocates for the supervisee to take responsibility for own development at some point.
The assistant teachers are hired after which the teachers design programs with specific goals. Regarding assistant teacher’s development, the current model is questionably effective. From experience as a supervisor, the achievement of the specific program goals comes first. The teacher will supervise the assistant teacher to make sure that the goals are met disregarding the development of the assistant teacher. To some extent, this improves learning when the goals are met, but if the supervision enables the assistant teacher to develop, learning will improve even better. The assistant teacher should be allowed to set specific learning goal without supervision (Oliva & Pawlas, 2004). The aim of contracting the assistant teachers is to improve the learning experience, but if not allowed to develop and be independent decision makers, it would be hard to improve learning. Ethically, it is not right for the assistant teachers to continue working without any professional development as an advantage to them. Experiences are significant in the development of careers, and the assistant teachers need the experience in different areas to develop and grow.
All over the world, the aim of any changes in education is to get better outcomes for the students mostly those who lag behind. However, most of the efforts being spearheaded have failed to pay attention to effecting large-scale changes. Self-evaluation, for example, can be very biased. When a teacher designs and implements a program, it is not ethical for the same teacher to conduct an evaluation of the same program. Self-evaluation on the job is often biased. A study conducted at the large urban centers in Canada revealed that teachers often favor assessment by school council, school supervisors, principles, students, other teachers, no evaluation, or self-evaluation (Bouchamma, 2005). This signifies there are other options to evaluation. In addition, most of the teachers preferred supervision by the school supervisors.
All the stakeholders in schools should be involved in the supervision and evaluation of educational programs. Supervision of Assistant teachers should improve development, learning in schools, and bring about large-scale changes in the education sector. Though significant, assistant teachers’ supervision should not be strict, rather they should be allowed to set their goals and work to achieving them. When the assistant teacher develops professionally, they can deliver their services better thus improving not only the learning outcomes but also the learning process.
Bouchamma, Y. (2005). Evaluating teaching personnel. Which model of supervision do Canadian teachers prefer?. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 18(4), 289-308.
Oliva, P. F., & Pawlas, G. E. (2004). Supervision for today’s schools. Jossey-Bass, An Imprint of Wiley. 10475 Crosspoint Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46256.
Stoltenberg, C. D. (2008). Developmental approaches to supervision.
Thomas, L., & Hirschkorn, M. (2015). Change and progress in Canadian teacher education: Research on recent innovations in teacher preparation in Canada.
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