In Loco Paedagogus: The pedagogy of A Novice University Supervisor

Apr. 30, 2010

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 6, No. 1, April 2010, p. 29–43.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The peripherality of the university supervisor during the student teaching experience has often been considered extraneous to the work of preparing preservice teachers. Despite the supervisor’s potential to support learning, the low status of supervision in the preparation of prospective teachers has led to a lack of commitment in preparing, advising, and assisting novice supervisors entering the field.

This study examines how the author’s experience as a classroom teacher shaped the pedagogical decisions which the author made during his first semester as a university supervisor. Furthermore, this self-study provides an insider’s account of the author’s practice as a novice university supervisor.

Data Collection

The author observed his cohort of eight student teachers four times over one semester (15 weeks).

The author used three data sources.
The first source was the author’s field notes of his pre- and post-observations conferences. These field notes included descriptive material tied directly to the author’s observations (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992).
A second source was the author’s post-observation reports.
The third source of data was the author’s written observations, in which the author tried to make notes of the experience during the experience.


The findings suggest that the author constructed a pedagogy of field-based teacher education. This pedagogy was guided by a rationale which the author terms in loco paedagogus, whereby the author instructs students based on how the author would react in a similar situation.


Given the pressures facing teacher education to produce highly qualified teachers, a university supervisor can play a powerful role in assisting the development of new teachers. However, the author highlights the need to recognize how beginning university supervisors learn to teach teachers.

The author suggests that one possible approach to helping novice university supervisors develop a pedagogy of teacher education could be to encourage the formation of learning communities in which the complexities of preparing teachers can be considered and the knowledge of teacher education can be constructed collectively. Such learning communities can also provide an opportunity for novice university supervisors to analyze their own assumptions about teaching and to make their tacit knowledge of teaching evident to themselves.

Furthermore, as the field of teacher education continues to explore teacher development and learning, it is important to consider the experiences and development of teacher educators themselves. With the path to becoming a university supervisor typically starting in the classroom, teacher preparation programs must make a more concerted effort to address the complexities and challenges former teachers face in preparing prospective educators.

Glesne, C., & Peshkin, A. (1992). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Updated: Jun. 20, 2010