CHAPTER 3: DISCOURSE ON THE GRADE R PROGRAMME AND THE SUPERVISION OF PRACTITIONERS
Chapter 2 presented the review of literature related to the study. It included among others discussion on Grade R Curriculum and examples of teacher supervision and support in other countries as a way of putting supervision and support in context. This chapter also focuses on discourse on the Grade R programme, and the supervision and support for Grade R practitioners. The discussion includes teacher supervision and its benefits, functions, framework, phases as well as the models of supervision.
THE SUPERVISON FRAMEWORK
Before exploring the models of supervision, it should be noted that there are frameworks that guide how supervision models are constructed. The Little Oxford Dictionary (2004:184) explains the framework as a structure supporting something or a basic plan or system. Sergiovanni and Starratt (2007:3) state that a framework for supervision is responsive to the present policy context of school renewal that requires the integration of bureaucratic aspects of supervision and human resource aspects that seek to invest in teacher learning and their capacity-building strategies. Sullivan and Glanz (2013:23) see bureaucratic supervision as associated with accountability and judgement about teacher’s efficiency.
Ingram (2013:8), on bureaucratic organisational structure, claims that the culture of the company focusing on standards and rules is encouraged by information flowing from top-down, where operational processes are rigidly controlled with best- methodologies, close supervision and practices. Sergiovanni and Starratt (2007:3) and Sullivan and Glanz (2013:23) propose the following as the three pathways that constitute the framework for school supervision:
Instructional capacity: this refers to features of schools’ organisational characteristics that support teaching and learning. Instructional capacity, according to Jaquith (2012:2), is the “collection of teaching resources needed to deliver high quality training to groups of pupils or scholars in a specific context”. It is my opinion that schools, as learning organisations, ought to therefore put in place structures or features to support teaching and learning. Supportive structures and provision of relevant resources will thus have a positive effect on the academic life of the school. In the context of this study, role-players providing supervision and support should be in a position to provide effective supervision and required resources for school-based Grade R classes to improve the quality of teaching.
Instructional quality: this refers to the curriculum content grounded in the academic and professional disciplines, demanding in-depth understanding of basic information and skills and complex thinking. Role-players, particularly the SMT, therefore need to have in-depth understanding of the practices they are supervising and supporting. In addition, they must have in-depth understanding of the curriculum content in Grade R classes so that they are effectively equipped to support the practitioners in the implementation.
Student engagement: This refers to the students’ commitment and participation in learning. In this context, practitioners are referred to as students. At the same, time they must show commitment in the work they do and must always be prepared to learn new things and take feedback given by supervisors positively.
Frameworks in supervision are very important as they provide the basis for the supervision and support models within an institution. In order to assist the schools in becoming successful; the supervisors need to establish a framework under which their supervisory task is carried out.
Role-players need to therefore travel through the three pathways mentioned in paragraph 3.2, namely instructional capacity, instructional quality, and student engagement. I consequently perceive good supervision and support as providing resources, interacting with subordinates, listening to their pleas and acting appropriately, giving feedback and conducting workshops and having basic understanding of curriculum and practices in one’s department. I agree with the frameworks stated, the rationale being that involvement of supervisors in the three pathways will enable them to carry out the supervisory functions expected of them. It will help them to understand their basic function that will make them successful in their supervisory and role.
I therefore consider these aspects as being good support because the practitioners will open up to their supervisor and through the establishment of mutual relationships, the relationship of trust will be created. Practitioners will be in a position to approach their supervisee with any challenge they are confronted with. Given the problems that I became aware of, the framework of supervision may be of use in solving the problem of supervision and support at school-based Grade R classes.
FUNCTIONS OF SUPERVISION
According to Sergiovanni and Starratt (2007:5), supervision is best understood in terms of its roles and functions. Principals, Senior Education Specialist (SES), Heads of Department (HoDs) and other formally designated officials, play a supervisory role when conducting classroom visits to monitor and support practitioners in their practices. The task carried out by being in functions such as observing teaching and providing comments, assisting teachers to reflect on their practice, and doing demonstration lessons. Sergiovanni and Starratt (2007:5) further indicate that supervisory functions help schools contribute effectively to authentic and rigorous learning.
Garmston, Lipton and Kaiser (1998) cited in Minnear-Peplinski (2009:26) name the following three different functions of supervision: to improve instruction, develop educators’ potential for growth and improve organisations’ ability to renew and grow itself. According to Zepeda (2012:3), teachers want leaders who are persistent about their leadership, who lead with a vision, focused on learning and development. They want supervisors who are supportive of the work they do and tackle the challenges they face. The Grade R supervisors are therefore required to create conducive teaching conditions; provide effective supervision and support teachers’ need; and engage in the supervisory functions as part of their daily routine.
In view of this, the current supervisory situation in school requires answers to the following questions:
will supervision and support provided in school-based Grade R classes improve teaching?
how is supervision and support being provided by the SMT to the Grade R practitioners to improve the quality of teaching and learning?
is there friction and confusion between practitioners and HoDs on what is to happen in Grade R, as practices in Grade R classes are different from those in Grade 1 to 3 classes?
do role-players involved with Grade R understand the pedagogical differences that exist between Grade R classes and other Grades?
In my opinion, providing effective supervision and support to school-based Grade R practitioners involves a cyclical process that needs to be carried out by the supervisory team for these classes. The following section explores the supervision cycle in more detail.
THE SUPERVISION CYCLE
I would define the supervision cycle as the process that the supervisors are following to give direction to subordinates on the work they do for better and improved production within an organisation. School-based Grade R supervisors should therefore follow a cyclical process in providing supervision in their learning organisations. Zepeda (2007) cited in Minnear-Peplinski (2009:7) advocates for a combination of three aspects of supervision to best achieve the goal of improving teaching, namely: instructional supervision, professional development, and evaluation.
According to Sergiovanni and Starratt (2002:6) instructional supervision is an opportunity provided for teachers to develop their capacities towards contributing to student’s academic success, while Charles, Kimutai, and Zachariah (2012:301) regard instructional supervision as aiding head teachers to improve, coordinate and maintain high standards of teaching and learning. People who take on the responsibility of supervision are, in most cases, part of the SMT within the organisation, which is tasked with the responsibility of leading and supervising subordinates in order to achieve organisational goals. Reflection in instructional supervision is vital. It involves a corresponding experience, whereby heads of schools and their teachers acknowledge and use their collective expertise to carry out self-appraisal, finding gaps in teacher competencies, knowledge and skills.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.1 INTRODUCTION .
1.2 RATIONALE OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
1.4 PROBLEM REVIEW
1.7 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY
1.8 MAIN RESEARCH QUESTION
1.9 AIMS OF THE STUDY
1.10 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1.12 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
1.13 EXPLANATION OF TERMS
1.14 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY .
1.15 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.16 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.17 OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 PROVISION OF ECD IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.3 ECD POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.4 GRADE R POLICY IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.5 CHILDREN AND MILLENNIUM GOALS
2.6 BENEFITS OF THE GRADE R PROGRAMME
2.7 GRADE R CURRICULUM
2.8 WAYS OF LEARNING IN GRADE R
2.9 THE TEACHING AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN GRADE R
2.12 THE CONCEPT OF QUALITY TEACHING IN EDUCATION
2.13 PREPARATION OF PRACTITIONERS FOR QUALITY TEACHING THROUGH TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT Countries.14 THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATION
2.15 INDICATORS TO MEASURE QUALITY STANDARDS AND MAKE LEARNING BENEFICIAL IN GRADE R CLASSES
2.16 TEACHER SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT IN FIRST WORLD COUNTRIES .
2.17 SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT IN THE AFRICAN CONTINENT .18 CHAPTER CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3: DISCOURSE ON THE GRADE R PROGRAMME AND THE SUPERVISION OF PRACTITIONERS
3.2 THE SUPERVISON FRAMEWORK
3.3 FUNCTIONS OF SUPERVISION
3.4 THE SUPERVISION CYCLE
3.5 MODELS OF SUPERVISION IN EDUCATION
3.6 THE QUALITY OF PRACTITIONERS IN TEACHING GRADE R SUBJECTS
3.8 TEACHER SUPERVISION AND ITS BENEFITS
3.9 CHAPTER CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES OF DATA COLLECTION
4.2 THE RESEARCH DESIGN
4.3 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
4.4 THE RESEARCH SITES
4.5 POPULATION AND SAMPLING
4.6 DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENTS
4.7 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.8 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
CHAPTER 5: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
5.2 BACKGROUND TO RESEARCH SCHOOLS
5.3 RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.4 CHAPTER CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6: LIMITATIONS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.2 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
6.5 THE RECOMMENDED FUNCTIONAL MODEL OF SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT
6.6 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
6.7 CONCLUSION OF THE STUDY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT AT SCHOOL-BASED GRADE R CLASSES OF THE GAUTENG NORTH DISTRICT