Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Catholic elementary school principals' beliefs regarding new supervision
by Forker, Joanne M., Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2014, 246; 3666796
Abstract (Summary)

This exploratory descriptive study examines the beliefs of 15 Catholic elementary school principals regarding the tenet's of Gordon's (1992) New Supervision paradigm as an alternate way of thinking about instructional supervisory practice. He delineates six discrete aspects in characterizing the shift from Traditional (Old) to New Supervision. The most important aspect and the one that characterizes the paradigm's philosophical stance is the belief that supervision is not a means of controlling teachers' behaviors but rather a vehicle for teacher empowerment and decision-making. A secondary aim of the study explores the notion that the unique dimension of faith community makes the Catholic school a natural context for New Supervision.

Fifteen principals from two New York Catholic dioceses participated in the study. The method of inquiry was a semi-structured interview protocol that included a card sort task. Participants' explanations of how they currently practice instructional supervision, the results of the card sort task, and their appraisals of Gordon's paradigm of New Supervision provided the basis for categorizing them as Directive, Shared, or Collaborative supervisors.

The eight participants categorized as Directive supervisors tended to espouse practices more reflective of Traditional supervision and viewed Gordon's paradigm as potentially problematic. The five principals designated as Shared supervisors espoused practices that reflected a combination of both Traditional and New Supervision and gave limited support to Gordon's paradigm. The two principals designated as Collaborative supervisors espoused practices more in keeping with New Supervision and supported the paradigm both in theory and practice. Regardless of their views about New Supervision, nearly all participants through their individual practice closely resembled New Supervision.

The participants described the faith community aspect of their schools through the descriptors of beliefs, relationships, and behaviors. There was general agreement that the faith community aspect made the Catholic school a natural context for the practice of New Supervision.

The participants' notion that teachers resist the concept of teacher empowerment implies the need to expand the conversation about the benefits and drawbacks of instructional supervision in general and New Supervision in particular to include teachers' views in order to achieve a more balanced perspective.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zumwalt, Karen K.
Commitee: Corno, Lyn, Dougherty, Kevin, Hatch, Thomas
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
Department: Curriculum and Teaching
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Religious education
Keywords: Faith based schools, New supervision, Supervision, Teacher empowerment, Traditional supervision
Publication Number: 3666796
ISBN: 978-1-321-40056-4
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