The Principal As Supervisor In The Curriculum
To do well in supervision, the principal must develop good rapport with classroom teachers. Hostility and mistrust have no role to play when developing a quality curriculum. Negative attitudes toward others hinders interactions among the principal and teachers. A feeling of acceptance needs to be in the offing. The school climate needs to emphasize politeness, feelings of belonging, and honest praise for quality work performed. The latter helps individuals to meet esteem needs. Too often, teachers and principals come to school each day of the calendar year with little or no attention being given to that which is done well by any one individual. The routiness of these situations must be broken to bring in a school climate which encourages and welcomes faculty members as well as support personnel (Ediger, 2007).
This sets the stage then for principals and teachers working together to develop the best curriculum possible for students. The stated objectives for pupils to achieve must be attainable. If the mandated objectives are too rigid and complex, the principal may assist teachers to develop enabling objectives which help pupils to achieve the desired end. These enabling objectives assist pupils to sequentially realize the original complex goal. Another approach for assisting teachers in teaching is for the principal to stress the concept of scaffolding. Thus, for example, the objective is too difficult for pupils to attain. However with scaffolding, pupils are aided with a series of sequentially arranged learning activities to realize the complex objective or goal. Thus, there are definite strategies for aiding pupils to achieve difficult learnings, either through enabling objectives or through scaffolding. The principal needs to guide teachers to study these two concepts in depth. Then too, the principal may use demonstration teaching to show how to put these two and other strategies into operation. When classroom teachers use either or both procedures, they need to report back to school professionals what they did to implement and how they felt the new procedures affected pupil achievement (Ediger, 2007).
Teachers may need assistance in stressing knowledge (knowing about enabling objectives and scaffolding), as well as skills objectives (strategies to use in implementing the acquired knowledge in teaching and learning situations). Attitudes as objectives result from learning experiences involving knowledge and skills ends. If the following occur during teaching and learning situations, the chances are negative attitudes have been developed:
* excess drill which takes the joy out of the ongoing experiences
* pressure to achieve beyond what the learner can possibly attain
* a lack of challenge
* dull learning activities
* inadequate explanations given within the learning activity (Ediger, 2008).
Alignment of Learning Activities
School principals must guide teachers to align learning experiences with the stated objectives. Learning activities need to be aligned with the chosen objectives to optimize pupil achievement. The objectives provide direction for changes to be made within the learner. The learning activities assist in bringing about the necessary modifications. Too frequently, the objectives have been stated too broadly and thus provide little help in knowing what the objective means. The other extreme is to write objectives which are too specific, resulting in facts, only, being taught. Thus, a happy medium must be sought whereby objectives are specific enough to agree upon what will be taught and, at the same time, possess adequate leeway to provide for higher cognitive levels of subject matter being taught such as critical and creative thinking as well as problem solving (See Guilfoyle, 2006).
School principals need to help teachers choose learning activities which are varied to develop and maintain learner interests. Reading experiences, audio visual aids, discussions, small and large group work, as well as the integration of technology need to be incorporated into the curriculum. Individual differences must be provided for including interest differences, diverse learning styles, and multiple intelligences.
Teachers must assist pupils to develop:
* quality self concepts whereby there is confidence for achieving
* feelings of curiosity in knowledge and skills being taught
* habits of being responsible for objectives to be attained
* traits of friendliness in learning to accept each pupil in the classroom and school
* polite behavior avoiding rudeness, and negative judgmental statements made about others (Ediger, 2008).
A school climate needs to emerge which encourages optimal student learning. This implies, too, that the environment for learning encourages quality teaching. Learners need to feel respected in a relaxed environment for learning. Pupils must be actively engaged in learning. Interest needs to be a major factor in teaching pupils in securing their attention. Any learning experience may be made interesting with appropriate selections made. Methods used along with the learning experience must be varied such as using inductive, deductive, problem solving, textbook, multi-media, and project method approaches. Principals should assist teachers to guide pupils to perceive purpose for learning. Thus, learners are assisted to perceive reasons for achieving objectives of instruction. Facts, concepts, and generalizations taught and achieved need to be meaningful. They must be understood by pupils since each becomes a building block for ensuing activities. Quality sequence stresses that pupils are able to relate previous with subsequent subject matter. A good school climate then emphasizes providing for individual differences in an environment conducive to learning (See Tighe and O'Conner, 2005).
Grouping Pupils for Instruction
Each principal needs to have good understanding ways of grouping learners for instructional purposes. Placing pupils into groups is not done for the sake of grouping, but rather to assist learners to achieve well. There are a plethora of means of placing pupils into groups to advance achievement for each. If, for example, individualized reading is being stressed, then no groups need be formed. In a nutshell, Each pupil selects a library book to read of his/her choosing and then have a conference with the teacher to appraise achievement after its reading. Also, a one on one conference may be conducted with the teacher and an involved pupil to discuss a learning strategy. Or, the short discussion may help the pupil in a follow-up writing activity. The conference may be held at the pupil's own desk. Motivating pupils in achieving is always important (See Maslow, 1954).
A small group may be formed when three or four pupils have read the same paperback and discuss it contents in a peer committee setting. Standards need to be followed by peer members so that each might do well in the classroom setting. There are times, too, when peer teaching may be stressed. A peer may do well in assisting learners in word attack skills. There is a purpose, here, in using peer teaching and that being a peer's proficiency in helping others in instructional situations (See Cai, 2008). Small groups may be formed by the teacher to teach an advanced set of achievers. These learners are progressing satisfactorily at a more rapid rate than others in the classroom. What has been diagnosed as being a common problem to a given set of learners might well also provide for small group instruction.
The problem may pertain to:
* use of context clues in reading
* reading critically, creatively, and/or to solve problems
* the pupil monitoring his/her own reading achievement
* reflecting over what has been read
* specific difficulties in using phonics (See Bloodgood and Pacific, 2004).
Small groups may also be used in clarifying what was presented in large group instruction. When large groups are used to initiate a lesson or unit plan of teaching, then questions will arise which can be handled in smaller group settings. The grouping plan used must meet the needs of involved learners. The plan implemented is to assist pupils to achieve more optimally. There is a purpose inherent in developing each grouping plan. Adequate supervision must be used in each plan. The school principal needs to assist teachers to think through as to which plan of grouping will help learners to achieve more optimally under the circumstances in the school and classroom settings.
What role does the principal play in inservice teacher education? There is a vital purpose in having inservice education. Teachers need to upgrade knowledge and skills in teaching. New developments, philosophies, theories, and research result in reassessing what is presently being emphasized in the curriculum. Thus, a need for inservice education is necessary. A survey may be conducted to notice teacher needs in improving the curriculum. This might result in adopting a completely new program in teaching whereby inservice is needed to become thoroughly familiar with adopting its methodology en toto, including objectives, learning opportunities, and evaluation procedures. A series of meetings are then conducted to implement the new curriculum. Otherwise, there may be specifics which teachers might like to experience within inservice education.
These might well include the following:
* using scripted procedures of teaching, such as Open Courts reading series
* using work book activities to supplement the basal in guiding student progress
* using creative dramatics to breath life into content read
* building background knowledge within pupils for the ensuing reading experience
* assisting students to predict what will transpire in a subsequent reading selection
* helping students to reflect upon what has been read
* engaging in inferential reading
* engaging students in using internet sources (See Van Horn, 2007).
The principal needs to inform teachers to feel a need for inservice education programs. Important concepts and generalizations acquired in a workshop need to be tried out in the classroom to notice its affects upon students. These affects need to be reported back to participants in the workshop. Ideas from the workshop need to circulate among participants in a question and answer session. Openess to new ideas in teaching must be encouraged? The total workshop must be evaluated in terms of recommended criteria and should pinpoint items such as relevance to improving instruction, importance in meeting pupil needs in the classroom, and stressing salient principles of psychology in teaching and learning.
Marlow Ediger "The principal in the teaching and learning process". Education. FindArticles.com. 27 Mar, 2010.
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