Improving Student Teacher Classroom Performance Through Clinical Supervision: Myth or Fact

Dr. Burman M. Sithole


Teaching practice is a powerful intervention in a teacher’s professional preparation as it involves an attempt by the student to apply in school settings some of the ideas taught in teacher education courses (Shaw, 1995). By corollary the supervision of the student teacher is one of the most powerful processes in such intervention. Over the years, supervision has evolved from a function emphasising inspection, monitoring and enforcement to one emphasising dialogue, self-reflection and interchange between supervisors and supervisees (Harry and Turney, 1985; Smyth, 1991).
This paper reports the findings of an interpretive field study on the use of the clinical/collaborative/reflective approach to student teacher supervision in the practicum as opposed to the traditional/prescriptive/inspectorial approach. Using methods of purposeful sampling, a student was identified and supervised using the clinical/collaborative approach. The findings reveal that potential benefits from collaborative supervision are immense despite there being some limitations that have to do with financial and human resource constraints. The paper concludes by discussing issues and implications for teacher preparation related to reflective practice.



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