A Critical Review of EFL Teacher Supervision Models

A Critical Review of EFL Teacher Supervision Models

Ismael Louber (University of Exeter, Exeter, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/IJTEPD.2019010101
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Teacher supervision plays a significant role in teacher education in general and in professional development in particular. Whilst supervision occurs at several levels and in different contexts, it plays a particularly important role in pre-service teacher training. Nonetheless, it still retains an important place in in-service teacher education. This article critically reviews the main supervisory models and approaches with particular respect to language teacher education. For many English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers, the notion of supervision can be a source of concern; therefore, this paper attempts to shed light on the various approaches and theories that have shaped the field of teacher supervision in general education and in EFL in particular. Finally, the article offers additional insights to practitioners into a different perspective on supervision from a post-method outlook with the idea of epistemology of practice as a central notion.
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Prior to engaging with the discussion, it is worth noting that far less literature has been dedicated to the topic of supervision in specific contexts such as foreign language teaching than in general education. The notion of supervision has been consistently addressed in the literature in general education contexts and most discussions in relation to foreign language teaching have been inspired from general education. Nonetheless, before attempting to suggest a definition of the term supervision, it is crucial to bear in mind two key issues. First, as teachers, we all have our own conception of the nature of supervision, or what it ought to be, since we have all been supervised at some stage within our career. Secondly, the conflicting views and conceptions regarding this notion are reflected in the variety of its possible definitions. Furthermore, the term supervision has been traditionally discussed in fields not related to teaching or education. For instance, references to supervision can be found in relation to the industry, social work, psychology or the business sector (Kaneko-Marques, 2015; Bailey, 2006). As a result, the term has been defined in many different ways depending on the context where it occurs. For instance, in industrial contexts, supervisors are commonly referred to as first line managers above subordinate workers. In such contexts, the supervisor’s task is to ensure workers achieve certain goals in terms of production or productivity according to a plan set by the company (Hay, 2007). Interestingly, the managerial aspect of this definition can still be found today in certain conceptions of supervision in education settings.

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