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Supporting and Supervising Teachers Working with Adults Learning English

Provides an overview of the literature on teacher supervision (general adult and ESL education), suggestions for recruiting, hiring, and interviewing teachers, and information regarding supporting, supervising, and offering professional development for teachers.
Author(s): 
S. Young
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
Published: 
2009
Resource Type: 
Product
Number of Pages: 
6
Required Training: 

None but further in depth study would enhance the use of this resource.

Abstract: 

This brief is directed at administrators of adult English as a second language (ESL) programs and their role as teacher supervisors and evaluators. It provides an overview of the literature on teacher supervision (general adult and ESL education), suggestions for recruiting, hiring, and interviewing teachers, and information regarding supporting, supervising, and offering professional development for teachers. The main portion of the brief focuses on a collaborative model of supervision that highlights the development of teaching skills and effectiveness (as opposed to an evaluative model) through reflection, mutual goal setting, and informed practice. The brief addresses both experienced ESL administrators and those that do not have a background in ESL. It provides practical examples for implementing all aspects of the supervisory tasks as well as a bibliography to amplify what is presented in this short resource.

Note: This brief is a companion brief to Observing and Providing Feedback to Teachers of Adults Learning English and Managing Programs for Adults Learning English.

What the Experts Say: 

This is an invaluable resource especially for a new or less experienced administrator. It maps out the range of responsibilities of a program manager, particularly in the area of supervising teachers.  It is useful in that it recognizes some of the very critical issues in the field of adult ESL teaching. This article notes that there is a lack of research in adult ESL teacher supervision and staff development.  The authors have to rely on K-12 language teaching and literature from the ESL field that deals with a much higher level of learners (e.g., entering university courses).  The writers also recognize the difficulties in staffing programs and make a case for why teachers should be hired full time.  They cite the figure that 49% of teachers in the field are part time and 35% volunteers.  This presents real problems for the support and supervision of teachers. It is only recently that teachers have been paid for staff development in larger programs.  Some part-timers are paid by classroom teaching hours only. 

Features:

  • Suggestions for building administrator competency skills are described in a way that even an inexperienced administrator can engage with teachers on staff right from the start.
  • The resource hones in on the realities for a manager who is less familiar with ESL and/ or is supervising teachers more experienced than they are.
  • Ideas galore are listed in the text to offer strategies for immediate use. There is a long list of resources at the end and immediate solutions in the different sections.
  • Suggested interview questions, however there are only three and readers will want to develop additional questions.
  • A brief but useful section on how data might inform professional development plans.
  • Good suggestions (and reasoning) for developing professional learning communities.
  • A substantial list of resources on teacher supervision and observation is included.
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