Supervisors who utilize opportunities to guide teachers’ decision-making through reflection are engaged in a form of on-the-job mentoring which is an ideal scenario for promoting teacher growth as well as successful program outcomes. This apprenticeship approach is known as reflective supervision. In this discussion, we will apply ideas about ethical leadership, mentoring, and reflective supervision to common early childhood settings in a practical context. Begin by watching the following two-minute video on using reflective supervision as program benefit: Lessons in Leadership: Reflective Supervision (Links to an external site.). After watching this short video and reading Chapter 7, consider a time when you, or someone you know well, took on the duties of managing or leading in an educational or related organization.
In your initial post,
- Identify two key skills or competencies (see Table 7.1) that a manager or leaders needs to exhibit in an effective early childhood program and describe why these skills are needed.
- Discuss a strength that you have observed in a leader who is/was able to help teachers identify and discuss the vision and direction in which an early childhood program should go.
- Describe two factors that contribute to the success of a person serving as a manager or leader in a school that would also contribute to their ability to serve as a successful mentor to teachers.
- Answer the following question: What concerns do you have about your ability to fulfill the various roles and responsibilities as a manager who is also a mentor?
Administration for Children and Families [usgovACF]. (2015, August 17). Lessons in leadership: Reflective supervision (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJdR1ttnU3I&spfreload=10
- This video provides information on the topics of reflective supervision from the early childhood perspective and is required for the first discussion this week.
The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.
— Steven Spielberg
Supervisors who take the responsibility to guide teachers’ decision-making through reflection are engaged in a form of apprenticeship or on-the-job mentoring known as reflective supervision (Scott Heller & Gilkerson, 2009). This week we will explore the purpose and process of reflective supervision. Additionally, we will identify skills used in supervisory roles that may transfer to the roles of mentoring and coaching. (Please refer to chapter one for characteristics of mentoring and supervising and the importance of clarification of roles.)
As supervisors, we have the opportunity to offer a mentor/coaching relationship to those we supervise. When, as leaders, if we are playing both the supervisor AND mentor role some important guidelines to remember are:
- Be clear about your role as well comfortable with the question, “What hat are you wearing now, supervisor or mentor?”
- Be able to promote reflection and professional growth in a teacher, without judgment or criticism.
- Have the ability to demonstrate competencies in “. . . wondering, responding with empathy yet sharing knowledge if a crisis arises, inviting contemplation rather than imposing solutions, recognizing parallel process, supporting curiosity, remaining open, and recognizing the power of relationship as it affects health and growth” (Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, 2004 as cited in Weatherston, Weigand, & Weigand, 2010, p. 25).
- Be sure the teacher is open to having the supervisor or leader in the role of helping them reflect on immediate daily experiences. The teachers need to feel comfortable in sharing their thoughts, feelings, and responses to what they are observing and doing with children and families will be helpful to promoting both the children’s and their own growth and development.
- Make sure a teacher understands when you making suggestions as a mentor or requirements as a supervisor.
- Do not have any “secret agendas.” The main role of coaching needs to be on the individual development of the teacher, without influence of other people’s goals or affairs.
Supervision can be a place where a living profession breathes and learns.
-Hawkins and Shohet
‘Supervision in the Helping professions’