‘You’ve Either Got [It] Or You Haven’t’ – Conflicted Supervision of Preservice Teachers

May. 01, 2011

Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 39, No. 2, May 2011, 139–149.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article presents a case study from a larger research study which examined teachers’ experiences as supervisors of preservice teachers.

This article addresses to the following research question:
‘What is the impact on teachers’ identities of supervision that might help explain how interpersonal conflict can occur?’

Method and Participants
The larger scale study investigated the supervisory practices of 23 supervising teachers and their preservice teachers in 10 school sites.

This case study focuses on the experiences of two female supervisors, Kathy and Sally.
Theses supervisors were to supervise two female preservice teachers who were mature aged, each in their final practicum of their fourth year of teacher education.

Both Kathy and Sally taught the same year level in the school.
Sally was in her early 30s and had 12 years of experience across four schools.
Kathy was in her late 20s and had nine years of experience, all gained in this one school.
Each teacher was assigned a preservice teacher (Chris and Jill, pseudonyms).

The author used a narrative inquiry approach, and conducted two audio-taped interviews with each supervisor.


The findings reveal that three contextual factors are significant to the supervisors' stories:
the mature age of the preservice teachers; the preferred collegial practice of the supervising teachers; and the professional recognition they had been afforded by the school.

The author found that the participants tell of the mutually beneficial aspects of their professional activities, such as their students’ learning activities, the relationships established with colleagues in the school and the stimulating nature of their daily work.
The effectiveness of their practice as a teaching team as well as their professional recognition by peers is threatened by the changed circumstances that supervision has brought. Since, as experienced teachers, supervisors confront and adapt to their preservice teachers and to the particular university’s expectations.
Furthermore, the stories of Kathy and Sally tell of changes in personal and social interactions, across the past and present and into the future.


The author concludes that university teacher educators should support of supervisors through on-site visits specifically to discuss their practice in these changed conditions.

Updated: Nov. 27, 2012