Learning-focused Supervision: Developing Professional Expertise in Standards-Driven Systems

The focus of the supervisory process is shifting: from fulfilling contractual obligations to promoting opportunities for growth. A fundamental premise undergirds this approach: Teacher effectiveness links directly to student learning and skillful supervision links directly to teacher effectiveness. Thus, for supervisors to structure and facilitate powerful learning-focused conversations lies at the heart of both one-to-one and collective work with teachers. Teaching and learning standards provide the what to talk about; learning-focused supervision offers the how.

Based on our book, Learning-focused Supervision: Developing Professional Expertise in Standards-Driven Systems, this seminar provides the skills and knowledge for supervisors to structure and facilitate powerful conversations that promote growth for teachers across a wide range of experience and all levels of performance. These sessions offer practical tools, technical tips, and standards-driven protocols for promoting professional excellence. Learn how to develop the skills and confidence for engaging in nondirective and directive conversations in which learning and teaching standards are the focal points for improving instructional effectiveness.  Develop approaches for addressing student performance issues and ensuring high achievement for all learners.

Topics Include:

Clarifying the supervisor’s role

Consider new definitions of supervision and new identities for supervisors as growth agents by exploring the transition from teaching-focused to learning-focused supervisory practices. Learn ways to examine present instructional practices based on clear and agreed upon student performance standards while building teachers’ capacities for self-monitoring and self-modification.

Navigating the Continuum of Learning-Focused Interaction

Engage with practical strategies for navigating across four stances of learning-focused interaction: calibrating to frame expectations, clarify standards and articulate success criteria; consulting to offer expertise and provide technical resources; collaborating for shared planning and problem-solving; and coaching, a nonjudgmental interaction that develops decision-making skills and supports reflection. Learn to flex between these four stances in learning-focused conversations that maintain productive collegial relationships using data to clarify expectations and examine gaps and gains in both student and  teacher performance.

Refining the supervisor’s toolkit

Develop verbal and non-verbal skills that increase teachers’ willingness to think and talk about professional practice. Learn to apply patterns of pausing, paraphrasing, and inquiring to establish goals, appraise present performance levels and reflect on learning and teaching practices.

Structuring conversations

Apply templates for planning, problem solving, and reflecting in both one-to-one and small group interactions. Learn ways to maintain momentum and extend thinking by guiding conversations that increase teachers’ readiness and abilities to think deeply about the choices they are making and their students’ learning.

Providing learning-focused feedback

Connect student-learning standards and agreed upon teaching standards to the feedback you offer teachers as you jointly examine student and classroom performance and outcomes. Learn to apply structures and tools for framing productive conversations that use data to analyze professional practice and determine areas and directions for growth.