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C&S563--#6. Models of Staff Development and Differentiated Supervision: A Vehicle to Promote Teacher Growth. Dennis Sparks and Susan Loucks-Horsley NSDC, 1990. Five Models of Staff Development. #1: Individually Guided Staff Development. Assumptions:

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c s563 6


Models of Staff Development


Differentiated Supervision: A

Vehicle to Promote Teacher Growth

dennis sparks and susan loucks horsley nsdc 1990
Dennis Sparks and Susan Loucks-HorsleyNSDC, 1990

Five Models of

Staff Development

1 individually guided staff development
#1: Individually Guided Staff Development


Individuals can best judge their own learning needs and are capable of self-direction and self-initiated learning.

Adults learn most efficiently when they initiate and plan their learning activities.

Individuals will be most motivated when they select their own learning goals based on their personal assessment of their needs.

Phases of Activity:
  • Identification of a need or interest
  • Development of a plan to meet the need or interest
  • Learning activities
        • Assessment of whether the learning meets the identified need or interest.


  • May be reinventing the wheel.
2 observation and assessment
#2: Observation and Assessment


Reflection and analysis are central means of professional development.

Another observer can enrich reflection on one’s practice.

Both observer and observee can benefit by the process.

Phases of Activity:

Pre-conference, observation, data analysis, post-conference, assessment of process.


Many teachers see it as a form of evaluation

3 involvement in a developmental improvement process
#3: Involvement in a Developmental/Improvement Process


  • Adults learn most effectively when they have a need to know or a problem to solve.
  • People working closest to the job best understand what is required to improve their performance.
  • Teachers acquire certain knowledge and skills through their involvement in school improvement or curriculum development processes.
        • Identification of a problem or need by an individual or group of teachers.
        • After a need has been identified, a response is formulated.
        • Plan is implemented or the product developed.


  • Available time for groups to meet.
4 training
#4: Training
  • Assumptions:
      • Behaviors and techniques exist that are worthy of replication by teachers in their classrooms.
      • Teachers can change their behaviors and learn to replicate behaviors in their classroom that were not previously in their practice.
  • Activities:
      • Participants serve on planning teams that assess needs, explore various research-based approaches, select content, determine goals and objectives, schedule training sessions, and monitor implementation of the program.
  • Drawbacks:
      • Impact depends upon the objectives and the quality of the training program.
5 inquiry
#5: Inquiry


  • Teachers can formulate valid questions about their own practice and pursue objective answers to those questions.
  • Teachers are intelligent, inquiring individuals with legitimate expertise and important experience.
  • Teachers are inclined to search for data to answer pressing questions and to reflect on the data to formulate solutions.
  • Teachers will develop new understandings as they formulate their own questions and collect their own data to answer them.

Identify a problem

Explore ways to collect data that may range from examining existing theoretical and research literature to gathering original classroom or school data.

Analyze and interpret data.

Make changes and gather and analyze new data.


Organizational support and/or technical assistance may be required throughout the phases of an inquiry activity.

* utilizes a single paradigm

* lacks collegiality

* lacks self-reflection

* does not direct professional growth

Green & Snyder (1996)

What is Wrong with Current Practice in Supervision

What Happens in a Traditional Supervisory Structure

* Teachers sometimes:

put on a “show”

dust off a “tried and true” lesson

weave teaching to demonstrate a current district initiative

* Supervisory consultations are often disconnected from real teaching

* teachers in some way are broken and need fixed

* because of some incompetent teachers, the system of remediation is applied to all

* ranking of teachers somehow relates to improved instruction

Rooney (1999)

* without being watched, teachers will stop trying to improve

* teachers who are watched will provide better student learning than unwatched teachers

Starratt (1993)

Assumptions of a Traditional Teacher Supervision Model

* 1 classroom visit per year is adequate

* certain instructional behaviors are always a sign of superior teaching

* certain instructional behaviors always result in learning for all students

* administrators know more or at least as much as teachers


Directed Supervision

Focused Assistance

Intensive Assistance

Clinical Supervision

Systematic Classroom Observation

Instructional Leadership Roles

Trainer of Trainers

Administrative Monitoring


Drop In Visits


Reflective Journals


Peer Coaching

Colleague Consultation

Professional Colloquium

Book Talks

Study Groups


Individual Contracts

Action Research

focused assistance
Focused Assistance
  • Includes 4-6 formal observations per year
  • Administrators (more than one) focus intensive efforts on those who need their attention and help
  • Eliminates ritualistic observation
action research
Action Research
  • Data are quantitatively collected.
  • Many times questions start with a feeling or tension.
  • Questions must be posed in a way that can be answered by description and observation.
Questions should be narrow and specific
    • Too big:
      • What works well in writing workshop?
    • Specific:
      • How are Joan’s perceptions of her role in writing response groups changing over time?
To begin, ask self, “Is there anything I wonder about in the classroom?”
  • If I had an extra set of eyes...
literature study
Literature Study
  • Conceptualize your question and research in a larger framework by looking at the existing literature.
data collection
Data Collection
  • Anecdotal records
  • Journal
  • Surveys
  • Artifacts
  • Interviews
data analysis
Data Analysis
  • “Cook” the data
  • Triangulate
instructional leadership roles
Instructional Leadership Roles
  • Teacher assumes particular position of instructional leadership for the year.
  • Possible positions include trainer of trainers and chair of a district-wide committee.
  • Qualifications: time commitment required, necessity to utilize leadership skills
  • Opportunities to grow professionally and potential to improve the quality of education in the school district.
guiding questions continued
Guiding Questions Continued
  • What steps are necessary to overcome these obstacles and meet our goals?
  • Who needs to be involved to ensure success in completing our vision?
  • What resources are available to us?
  • How does our S& E process affect student learning?
  • How will we know when and how well we’ve accomplished our goals?

(Adapted from Pajak)