Clinical Supervision: A Formative Process

-Sample Observation Report

Clinical Supervision is a five-step process designed to improve teaching performance. The desired primary purpose of this approach is to develop skilled teachers who are committed to continuous improvement, collaboration, and professional growth.

Effective clinical supervision should provide an opportunity for teachers to:

  • examine, share, and express their educational philosophies;
  • receive objective comments, advice, and guidance on their teaching;
  • explore the relationship between their predicted and actual performance during the instructional process;
  • consider the connections of their understandings and practices with theories and evidence-based practices;
  • target areas for improvement, monitor progress, and examine changes in their beliefs and practices.

Robert Goldhammer’s model for clinical supervision includes five stages:

  1. pre-observation conference
  2. observation
  3. data analysis
  4. post-observation conference (supervisory conference)
  5. post-conference analysis

The teacher and supervisor work together during stages one, two, and four.  The supervisor compiles and analyzes data during stages three and five.

Pre-observation Conference
The purpose of this conference is to gather information related to the teacher’s lesson plan, procedures, and assessments and to develop an agreement or contract between the supervisor and teacher for expediting the plan.

Pre-observation questions/guidelines:

  1. In what areas do you need help?
  2. Are there areas that you want me to observe?
  3. Specifically, what would you like to share?
  4. Is there a particular student(s) you want me to observe?
  5. What are your goals and outcomes for the lesson?
  6. What evidence-based strategies are you implementing? Why?
  7. The length of time for the observation will be _______?
  8. The post-observation conference will be on _________?

The Observation
The purpose of the observation is to observe the lesson outlined in the pre-observation conference and to gather data and information that may be used to advance knowledge, skills, and dispositions of the teacher.
Data Analysis
During this stage the supervisor complies, sorts, and organizes the data collected into a usable format. Data from the observation provide a framework and content for the post-observation conference.

The Post-observation Conference (Supervisory Conference)
The post-observation conference is for the purpose of examining what occurred during the lesson, targeting areas for improvement or enrichment, and developing an action plan for continuous improvement performance.  Typically, this conference should be conducted at least a day or more, but not more than a week, after the observation.  This conference should be videotaped.

Post-observation questions:

  1. Identify ways in which you think the lesson was successful and unsuccessful.
  2. What role did the students play in making you think the lesson was effective or ineffective?
  3. Highlight the evidence-based strategies you used.
  4. Compare what happened with what you anticipated would happen?
  5. Why do you think the lesson outcomes occurred?   

Post-conference Analysis
This stage gives the supervisor time to assess aspects of the clinical supervision process.  The supervisor determines whether or not the teacher understands and agrees with the follow-up and improvement targets.  The observer can also evaluate his/her own performance during the clinical conference process.