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Supervision and Learning Styles. Outline of morning session: Cover the process of supervision in relation to learning styles Supervision scenarios Feedback and discussion on issues brought up during afternoon. Supervision and Learning Styles.

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supervision and learning styles
Supervision and Learning Styles
  • Outline of morning session:
    • Cover the process of supervision in relation to learning styles
    • Supervision scenarios
    • Feedback and discussion on issues brought up during afternoon
supervision and learning styles2
Supervision and Learning Styles
  • Have an awareness of the process of supervision in relation to your learning style
  • Experienced supervision scenarios
  • Received feedback and discussed issues brought up during the morning
  • Any other issues that arise for you can be discussed at the end of the day
definition of supervision
Definition of Supervision

Supervision is a communication process between supervisor and student. The process enables the student to explore and increase knowledge and understanding of professional practice and to develop and apply Occupational Therapy skills and knowledge.

(COT 1993)

exercise what does supervision represent to you
ExerciseWhat does supervision represent to you?

Consider in terms of the following

  • What it provides/offers
  • What is needed for its success
models of supervision
Models of Supervision
  • Apprenticeship Models
  • Growth Models
  • Educational Models

(Alsop & Ryan 1996)

styles of supervision
Styles of Supervision
  • Practice Educators are likely to adopt a style of supervision which reflects their own learning style and/or the learning style promoted within the work place.
  • Student expectations of supervision can be influenced by their own style of learning and by previous work places/previous learning environments.
learning styles
Learning Styles
  • How we differ in our tendencies or preferences and approaches to learning and development, thought to be due to a mix of our personality and cognitive processes (or how we have learnt to learn).

(Fry et al 1999)

learning styles which are you
Learning Styles- Which are you?
  • Activist
  • Pragmatist
  • Reflector
  • Theorist

Challenges, new experiences and problems, excitement and freedom.

  • As an Educator in supervision we may naturally talk a great deal, come up with solutions for the student, expect them to learn just by ‘diving in and having a go’, be frustrated they seem to be at a slow pace.
  • As a student may want to ‘run before they can walk’, throw caution to the wind, talk a lot in supervision focusing on the short term superficial, rather than depth.

Practical activities of immediate relevance, practical solutions, getting on with things.

  • As an Educator in supervision may want a shorter time limit and be task focused rather than discussion focused.
  • As a student may focus on wanting to be shown/told what to do and allowed to get on with it, possibly with only superficial questioning/applying existing knowledge.

Structure, opportunity to observe, with time to reflect and think in a detailed manner.

  • As an Educator in supervision may ask lots of exploratory questions, want the student to think through thoughts and feelings, want to look at issues in detail.
  • As a student want to be allowed lots of thinking time, want to explore lots of options so can appear unfocused, ‘off at a tangent’, or don’t get round to ‘doing’.

Logical, rational structure, clear aims, questioning on a theoretical level.

  • As an Educator in supervision may want a logical structured approach, ask lots of in-depth theoretical questions, expect explicit links to theory.
  • As a student may ask lots of questions, find thinking creatively a challenge, may over actively pursue concrete or ‘black and white’ answers, want to increase their theoretical knowledge.
  • Go to the area of the room which represents your highest scoring learning style
  • Choose a partner from another area of the room
  • Consider the positives and challenges of working together
  • Consider possible strategies to enhance the student learning process
supervision learning styles
Supervision/Learning Styles
  • If the educator's and student's learning styles are similar, all may go very well, but you may consider stretching the student and/or yourself by focusing on an aspect neither of you would naturally learn through.
  • If the educator's and student's learning styles are very different, but not acknowledged issues may arise.
supervision learning styles19
Supervision/Learning Styles

To some degree students need to be able to learn in all the different styles to be effective.

kolb s learning cycle
Kolb's learning cycle

Concrete Evidence

Reflective Observations

Application of Ideas

Abstract Concepts and Generalisations

kolb s learning cycle21
Kolb's learning cycle

Concrete Evidence



Reflective Observations

Application of Ideas



Abstract Concepts and Generalisations


Sometimes it can be useful to consider the challenges that students present in terms of their learning style being strong and weak in different areas. This can seem less of an attack on ‘personality’ and can promote a more constructive discussion.


Supervisors are usually expected to nurture personal and professional development and then judge the attainment of minimal standards and beyond.

(Illot and Murphy 1999)

formal supervision at pre arranged times in quiet environment
Formal Supervision - at pre-arranged times in quiet environment

4 main purposes:

  • Reflection, feedback, dialogue
  • Review of achievements
  • Revision of learning contract
  • Exploration of practice issues at deeper level
informal supervision
Informal Supervision
  • Takes place at any time
  • Before, during, after intervention
  • User input maybe appropriate
  • Allows for reflections immediately after the event
key elements of supervision
Key Elements of Supervision
  • Supportive, developmental, non-judgemental
  • Led by supervisee where possible
  • Opportunity for supervisee to reflect and evaluate and share experiences
  • Continuing process
  • Supervisor to offer balance of support and challenge
supervision scenarios
Supervision scenarios

Supervision Scenarios

rules and ground rules
Rules and ground rules
  • Practical rules (no interruptions)
  • Issues addressed
  • How and when will work be reviewed and evaluated
contracting and organising supervision sessions
Contracting and organising supervision sessions
  • Frequency
  • Length of time
  • Venue
  • Style
  • Format
  • Clear
  • Owned
  • Regular
  • Balanced
  • Specific
  • Objective

Alsop, A. Ryan, S. (1996) Making the most of

Fieldwork Education British Journal of Occupational Therapy 58 (337-40)

Fisher, A Savin- Baden, m. (2002) Modernising Fieldwork Part 1: realising the Potential British Journal of Occupational Therapy 65 (5)229-236.

Higgs, J. Tichen, A. (2001) Rethinking the Practice-Knowledge Interface in an uncertain World: A Model for Practice Development. British Journal of Occupational 59(11)526-533

Hobson, S. et al (2001) Fieldwork Education Occupational Therapy News April (17)


Sweeney, G. Webley, P and Treacher, A (2001) Supervision in Occupational Therapy, Part 2; The supervisee’s dilemma British Journal of Occupational Therapy 564 (11) (526-533)

Sweeney, G. Webley, P and Treacher, A (2001) Supervision in Occupational Therapy, Part 3: Accommodating the Supervisor and the

Supervisee British Journal of Occupational Therapy 564 (11) 526-533

Whitcombe, S. (2001) Using Learning contracts in fieldwork education, the views of O.T. Students and those responsible for their supervision. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 64 (11) 552-557.