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South African Journal of Education

versión On-line ISSN 2076-3433
versión impresa ISSN 0256-0100

S. Afr. j. educ. vol.40 no.3 Pretoria ago. 2020 



School-based supervision enhances the professional development of teachers



Victor C Ngwenya

College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa and Zimbabwe Open University, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.




The issue addressed in the study reported on here was the establishment of a clinical school-based model of supervision which was pragmatic and developmental-oriented for the professional development of teachers, a concept currently advocated by the supervisory corps. Since a mixed methods approach was used in the study, a closed-ended 3-point Likert-type questionnaire (1 to 31) was used to collect quantitative data with one question (32), gathering qualitative from 102 respondents who were purposively and systematically selected. The developmental aspect embedded in the school-based supervisory model demands that the process is constant and continuous, ruling out traditional supervisory models which demanded more control, compliance, predictability and accountability. Consequently, this would render the traditional inspectorate teams redundant. Supervisors armed with various models of supervision would be compelled to adopt an eclectic approach to supervision contingent to the situation.

Keywords: appraisal; autocratic; clinical; evaluation; models; professional development; supervisee; supervisor




Recently, the Zimbabwean educational arena has been professionalised through various human capital development programmes pursued by teachers. In that light, the current professional teaching corps yearn for professional superordinates that are growth-oriented as school-based supervision models are adopted for the ultimate purpose of facilitating effective and efficient teaching and learning. Gone are the days when teachers were viewed as little packages of talents and skills to be manipulated or exploited by management as they desired (Sergiovanni, Starratt & Cho, 2014). The various democratic revolutionary dispensations ushered in by the Zimbabwean education system, as advocated by the constitution, labour laws, civil society and human right statutes, demand that teachers, as legitimate employees in their areas of operation, be treated humanely and viewed as assets to the organisation they belong to, not as tools of manipulation. They are neither spectators nor passengers to the organisation they belong to, but major stakeholders with legitimate rights and responsibilities and goals to achieve. The focus of this study was to establish the education manager's preferred model(s) of supervision after they have undergone some training in Educational Management at local universities in their attempt to adopt professional and developmental-oriented school-based supervisory practices within the hyperinflationary environment and a scarcity of resources in which Zimbabwean schools find themselves.

Background to the Study

The old adage that old habits do not die easily sets the stage for the supervision debate as supported by Faulkner (1979, in Madziyire, 2013) when he asserts that the past is never dead neither is it the past at all. Despite the fact that universities have delivered thousands of education managers who have done Educational Management and are professionally sound in areas of supervision for utilisation in schools, it seems as though old practices still prevail. Perhaps the rebellion, defection or inertia that institutions are faced with is due to a lack of trained, in-class support mechanisms (Sergiovanni et al., 2014). For school-based supervisory practices in schools to be dominated by externally appointed supervisors, downplays the principles on which the degree programme was founded. External supervision should back up the internal processes for the professional growth of teachers, not controlling them. Reflective supervisory practices oriented towards staff development should be the responsibility of school-based supervisors as they are closer to the point of delivery (Musundire, 2015). Traditional supervisory practices, which centred on inspections conducted by inspectors, are no longer sustainable within the existing human, material and financial constraints in Zimbabwe.

The education domain requires proactive supervisors who will adopt professional staff supervision models of quality and quantity if the potential which lies in the teachers is to be harnessed (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009).

Literature Review

Models of staff supervision

The roots of traditional supervision models, with their prescriptive, evaluative and hierarchical connotations borrowed from the industrial era, are still present in the current supervisory practices in Zimbabwean schools (Pajak, 2003). Naturalistic models which were developed in the later years seem to depart from that norm as they adopt a professional developmental thrust focused on classroom practice. Both schools of thought may be employed by school-based supervisors contingent to their orientation acquired through training or staff development programmes. However, the users of these people-centred models need to be aware that, supervision has emerged slowly as a distinct practice, always in relation to the institutional, academic, cultural, and professional dynamics that have historically generated the complex agenda of schooling (Sergiovanni et al., 2014). No one-size fits all model exists, hence the need for knowledgeable education managers in the supervision domain if the learnt models are to be utilised effectively and efficiently for the professional development of teachers in schools.

Scientific supervision model (SSM)

Taylor is dubbed the father of the SSM philosophy and his associates, Grantt, Gilbreths, Fayol and Weber, have heavily contributed to the model (Stoner, Freeman & Gilbert, 2007). Influenced by Taylor's "principles of scientific management," supervision employed scientific measurements and work was divided between supervisors and supervisees according to areas of specialisation (Van der Westhuizen, 2002). Aspiring teachers were carefully chosen, scientifically and systematically trained in the methods of teaching and thereafter expected to perform according to prescribed standards. In turn, learners demonstrated mastery of subject matter by mere regurgitation of facts (Sergiovanni et al., 2014). In Taylor's view, the execution of the job according to predetermined procedures and the predictability of the outcome is what made schools to be effective and efficient (Pretorius & Ngwenya, 2008). However, with time, the multiplication of schools has rendered the traditional inspectorate model of supervision, a product of the SSM, dysfunctional, hence, the need for school-based models which focus on the professional development of teachers (Musundire, 2015).

According to this classic-autocratic supervision model, teachers are hired and programmed to conduct prespecified duties in accordance with the wishes of management (Sergiovanni et al., 2014; Van der Westhuizen, 2002). The teaching menu prescribed is delivered in a uniform and predictable manner regardless of the different learning abilities that learners exhibit at any given time (NetMBA Business Knowledge Center, 2010). Often, supervisors emphasise control, accountability, and efficiency in an atmosphere of a clear-cut boss-subordinate relationship (NetMBA Business Knowledge Center, 2010). Supervision from Taylor's perspective would require a "rigid discipline on the job, concentration on the task to be performed with minimal interpersonal contact between workers and strict application of an incentive pay system" (Owens, 1995, in Chiome & Mupa, 2014:180) if production of excellent academic results is to be maximised. Its emphasis on planning, regulation and control suggests a bureaucratic structure (Mulder, 2017). Vestiges of this brand of supervision are prevalent in schools but are not favoured by supervisees (Ngwenya, 2011).

Human relation supervision model (HRSM)

Follet is credited with the HRSM and it came about as a direct challenge to the dehumanising view of the SSM as institutions were being democratised (Stoner et al., 2007). Follet's holistic view of teachers contradicts the manipulation phenomenon embedded in the SSM. During the 1920s, attempts were made to increase teachers' job satisfaction by democratising the supervisory practices which would focus on personal relationships (Mulder, 2017). Supervisors were supposed to consider the welfare of teachers and adopt participatory oriented practices for the purpose of satisfying their supervisees' social needs without losing focus of the organisational goals (Mulder, 2017). This orientation gave birth to the contingent theory. Its major objective was to make supervisees feel that they had a stake in the affairs of the school (Sergiovanni et al., 2014). Elton Mayo's and Fritz Roethlishbeger's Hawthorne experiment which revealed that man was a wanting animal who performed according to expectations when put under observation, could have popularised this movement (Mulder, 2017). However, its greatest flaw was that of trying to please subordinates at the expense of work, which led to it being condemned by its critics in the supervision arena (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009).

Neo-scientific supervision model (NSSM)

William Lucio is believed to be the proponent of the NSSM as he conceived a third view of supervision (revisionist) which lies in the middle of the continuum between the SSM and the HRSM (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009). Most behaviourist scholars of supervision spearheaded the NSSM, which, according to its critics, never lasted due to its sophistication in human relations. However, its proponents wanted to address the issues of the classroom. The NSSM's focus on control, accountability and efficiency, which bordered on compliance without thought and involvement of the supervisee, made it akin to the SSM (Nolan & Hoover, 2011). The code words of the movement were "teacher competences," "performance objectives," and "cost benefit analysis" (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009:5) - thus more focus on the job and not the human dimension. The assumption was that if "visible standards of performance, objectives, or competences can be identified, then the work of teachers can be controlled by holding them accountable to these standards" (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009:5) within the context of controlled and safe participation practices. However, according to the NSSM's critics, its major weakness was its heavy reliance on externally imposed authority.

Human resources supervision model

This also was a product of the revisionist revolution and its advocates described it as enlightened supervision. The assumption was that teachers wanted to grow professionally at all costs (Chiome & Mupa, 2014). Teachers achieved satisfaction by "successful accomplishment of important and meaningful work and this sort of accomplishment was the key component of school effectiveness" (Sergiovanni et al., 2014:8). Attempts were made to restore equilibrium in supervision by combining the positives of the SSM and the HRSM based on the task and human element (Stoner et al., 2007). Ownership of goals and work commitment was enhanced by delegation of responsibilities to supervisees which was some form of power equalisation strategies and empowerment (Stoner et al., 2007). For teachers to actualise themselves, they needed to be engaged in staff development programmes for renewal and achievement of goals (Chiome & Mupa, 2014). Like with the NSSM, behaviourist scholars championed this movement in an attempt to tap into the supervisees' potentials.

Artistic supervision model (ASM)

Traditionally, teaching has been scientifically dominated and the assumption was that it could be delivered using predictable methods and routines for the end result to be achieved (Nolan & Hoover, 2011). This scientific philosophy further asserts that these predictable procedures or methods could be replicated elsewhere with the same results. However, the ASM sought to transform teaching from a mechanistic repetition of teaching protocols to a diverse repertory of instructional responses to learners' natural curiosity and diverse levels of readiness (Eisner, 1998), resulting in this radical paradigm shift. The proponents of the ASM argue that teaching is an art, implying that there is no one way of teaching as teachers are unique. In any teaching-learning episode at any given time, the absence of certain teaching behaviours does not imply that no teaching has taken place (Eisner, 1998). In this scenario, supervisors are required to observe the competences of the teacher, responses of the learners and the environment itself to appreciate the teaching-learning situation. Its major weakness is probably its heavy reliance on the supervisor who too has his or her own prejudices, which may influence perceptions and judgements (Eisner, 1998), and the supervisor's biases that may influence the collection and interpretation of data (Eisner, 1998).

Clinical supervision model (CSM)

Cogan (1973, in Ngwenya, 2011) and Goldhammer (1969) were the architects of this naturalistic in-class supervision model. Cogan conceived eight phases of the CSM which Goldhammer later condensed to five and later to three: planning conference, classroom observation and feedback conference (Paba, 2017). The key words were professional colleagueship and professional development (Pretorius & Ngwenya, 2008). Teachers were being viewed as unique individuals endowed with different potentials and needs. By the same token, they required differential supervisory strategies which culminated in individualised developmental programmes (IDP) (Paba, 2017). Although akin to the SSM, its evaluative component is different. Both supervisor and supervisee evaluate the outcome of the lesson in a mutual and professional manner after the developmental supervisory process (Paba, 2017). Advocates of this model collaborate that the latter view was meant to eliminate the sting and myth associated with evaluation as professional and people-oriented models were being sought for use in schools (Pretorius & Ngwenya, 2008). In that manner, it was a departure from the "sporadic visits" and "global comments" which characterised the SSM (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009:8). Concurring with the above view is Paba's (2017) assertion that CSM allows supervisors and supervisees to discuss and analyse what occurred in the classroom in a collegial and professional manner and thereafter be able to devise strategies meant to overcome the challenges encountered in the process with the ultimate aim of professional teacher development. Its focus on teaching problems is premised on continuous improvement of the total quality management (TQM) principle which leads to self-renewal and organisational development (Daresh, 2007).

Self-assessment supervision model (SASM)

The SASM, or the Evaluation or Target Setting Model, regards self-assessment as the process of reflection by introspection in which the teacher utilises a series of sequential feedback for the purpose of instructional improvement (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). The previous year's clinical episodes involving summary reports and observation conferences are the inputs for the target-setting stage (Terhoven, 2012). Terhoven suggests that these should be few, realistic, manageable, time bound and achievable. Once the targets have been set, the teacher designs teaching objectives to operationalise the set targets. When set in motion, review conferences of a preventive nature are held to rid the implementation processes of any obstacles or to make modifications to targets set in view of experiences, as both the supervisor and the supervisee progress towards zero defects (Terhoven, 2012). After this clinical approach one short evaluation or appraisal, based on parameters agreed to by both parties, follows (Terhoven, 2012). When the results differ from what was predicted, contradictions which result in conflicts, are bound to emerge (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000).

Connoisseurship supervision model

Eisner (1998:6) views connoisseurship as the "ability to develop in supervisors and supervisees the qualities and skills of appreciation, inference, disclosure and description." He further suggests that it is an "art of appreciation which can be displayed in any realm in which the character, import, or value of objects, situations, and performances are variably distributed, including educational practice." Connoisseurship involves the ability to see, not to merely look, and this is achieved by developing the ability to name and appreciate the different dimensions of situations and experiences in the way that they relate to one another (Eisner, 1998). Supervisors should be able to draw upon, and make use of, a wide array of information and place their experiences and understandings in a wider context, and connect them with the supervisees' values and commitments (Eisner, 1998). Connoisseurship is something that needs to be worked at (Eisner, 1998). Its advocates further assert that it borders on subject matter and is private, yet the art of disclosure is public. Supervisors need to engage in a continuing exploration of themselves, others and their arena of practice by being able to reflect in and on action, engage with feelings, and be able to make informed and committed judgements (Eisner, 1998). In addition to this, a connoisseur must possess highly descriptive and interpretive skills in describing the teaching and learning episode and the supervisory process (Eisner, 1998). However, the assumption that supervisors are knowledgeable in all aspects of the educative enterprise is a fallacy, as new information becomes available on a daily basis - especially with the advent of technological advancement.

Collegial/peer/collaborative/cooperation supervision model (CS)

According to Sullivan and Glanz (2000), the CS model is a low-cost substitute of macro supervision for the purposes of professional development which may be undertaken either on a one-on-one basis (buddy system/attachment) or as a team. In both cases, if well constituted, individuals may provide leadership for cooperative efforts and participate in training colleagues in various skills (Sergiovanni et al., 2014). In that respect, supervisees are empowered as they work jointly in pre-observation, observation and feedback conference phases divorced from the supervisor (Sergiovanni et al., 2014). It is in this context that Zepeda and Mayers (2013) view peer supervision as a formative and developmental approach meant to continuously improve the performance of supervisees. However, its reliance on individuals may make the art of disclosure through criticism cosmetic, subjective, and recommendations made at the end of the supervisory function may lack authority (Pajak, 2003). Besides, powerful and influential individuals may hijack this noble model to achieve personal agendas (Sullivan & Glanz, 2000).

Informal supervision model (ISM)

Supervisors with an ISM-orientation will regularly and in a casual manner meet teachers at a collegial level either as individuals or as a group to discuss work-related issues without encroaching on their privacy (Madziyire, 2013). Similarly, a supervisor may invite supervisees to the office for a cup of tea where such issues may be deliberated on. In the process of intermingling with supervisees, supervisors need to be wary of powerful individuals who might use such a platform to demonise others (Madziyire, 2013).

Inquiry-based supervision model (IBSM)

In the inquiry-based model, supervisors and supervisees would jointly identify a problem at their institution and plan, implement and evaluate the change strategy in a collaborative manner (Sergiovanni et al., 2014). Thereafter, change agent/(s) are tasked with the responsibility of conducting action research with the sole purpose of solving the problem based on the empirical findings (Chiome & Mupa, 2014).

The concept of supervision

The colonial Zimbabwean education evaluation system was dominated by the inspectorate model, which was informed by the SSM in appraising or judging the educative enterprise (Moyo, 2014). The model was characterised by hierarchical relationships and control between the supervisor and supervisee (Sullivan & Glanz, 2013). It relied on a ready-made supervision instrument which was imposed on the supervisor and supervisee as it sought to standardise pedagogy and demanded compliance from the participants (Moyo, 2014), disregarding their different professional backgrounds, needs deficiencies, expectations and experiences (Sullivan & Glanz, 2013). In that manner, its critics viewed it as being autocratic in nature, non-interactive, directive, threatening, terrorising, harsh, fault-finding, fact-finding, prescriptive and result oriented (Daresh, 2007; Sullivan & Glanz, 2013; Van der Westhuizen, 2002).

Inspection in Zimbabwean schools was conducted by externally appointed supervisors who demanded strict adherence to bureaucratic procedures and accountability (Moyo, 2014). Its modus operandi resembled a guerrilla warfare as the sporadic visits were done in a military fashion. Teachers were left dejected, dehumanised and demotivated (Sullivan & Glanz, 2013). Many a time lesson observation was done in a haphazard manner and lesson judgement was based on segments of lessons (Gürsoy, Kesner & Salihoğlu, 2016). After a fortnight or so, inspected schools would be furnished with reports (Moyo, 2014). Its non-dialogical manner placed the supervisor in a "know it all position" with expert knowledge, experience and skills (i.e., connoisseurship) transmittable to the ignorant supervisee (Eisner, 1998). Contemporary supervisors criticised it for its lack of regularity, continuity and quality as it was often done hurriedly and lacked thoroughness as attempts were made to cover as many schools as possible (Ebele & Olofu, 2017). In the process, incompetent teachers were either weeded out, transferred or demoted unceremoniously (Ebele & Olofu, 2017).

The democratisation of the Zimbabwean education system in 1980 brought about a paradigm shift in the supervision arena. Inspection was sparingly used and those who were part of this unpalatable system were re-oriented. Supervision, influenced by global trends and the HRSM and Human Resources Supervision Model (Sullivan & Glanz, 2013) was viewed as: collaborative in-class engagement between the supervisor and supervisee during pre-observation and classroom observation, followed by post-observation feedback sessions, meant to improve teaching and learning and the professional growth of the teacher with the ultimate aim of accomplishing educational goals (Nolan & Hoover, 2011; Sergiovanni et al., 2014). Implied in this definition is that supervision is highly instruction related and seeks to cooperatively identify weaknesses of the teacher in the delivery of instruction to render appropriate remedial action with the aim of improving the teaching and learning processes for the benefit of the learners and institutions at large (Ebele & Olofu, 2017). This is what makes supervision development oriented, autonomous, democratic, collegial, supervisee-centred, formative, conflict-free, collaborative, empowering and dialogical (Daresh, 2007). The growth-oriented thrust embedded in the definition may be likened to the continuous improvement tenet of the TQM paradigm (Daresh, 2007; Sallis, 2002). It is this feat which the school-based supervision model attempts to utilise through well-designed staff development programmes as opposed to inspection. Strengths and weaknesses observed in the process become building blocks or ingredients for action research culminating in an IDP for actualisation (Paba, 2017) as schools move towards human capital development under the tutelage of an education manager who is a connoisseur in the supervision domain. Most importantly, evaluation in a supervision cycle is based on democratically agreed upon standards at the commencement of the pre-observation stage (Daresh, 2007). Ultimately, the concept of supervision becomes a tool through which the educative enterprise is evaluated and pedagogy, recruitment and deployment of teachers are improved. Similarly, the nature of the curriculum implementation is determined and flaws identified in the process are used to craft tailor-made staff development programmes (Ebele & Olofu, 2017).



This study was anchored in the philosophical worldview of pragmatism and employed a mixed methods approach as it sought the best of post-positivism and interpretivism (Creswell, 2014) in its attempt to answer the question: "How does school-based supervision enhance the professional development of teachers in Zimbabwean schools?" The adoption of this worldview resided in the fact that the biases and weaknesses of the qualitative and quantitative approaches would be neutralised and triangulation of the sources of data and analysis procedures would enhance the interpretation of data collected (Johnson, Onwuegbuzie & Turner, 2007). In this study, the convergent parallel mixed methods model was employed as both qualitative (naturalistic and subjective) and quantitative (traditional, objective, scientific) data were collected, analysed separately and merged for interpretation (Creswell, 2014).

The strategy of inquiry used was a survey of a cross-sectional nature comprising a self-administered questionnaire (Creswell, 2014) which contained 32 items probing biographical data on the participants, the concept of supervision, supervisors' perceptions towards supervisees, their preferred models of supervision and the supervisor's modus operandi. Since the study was quantitatively dominant, 31 closed-ended questionnaire statements were rated by means of a three-point Likert scale with options, negative, neutral and positive (Pretorius & Ngwenya, 2008), while question 32 was open-ended. The latter question provided a more elaborated understanding of the supervisors' preferred model through their text descriptions (Johnson et al., 2007) as opposed to selecting it from a given menu.

A pilot study was initially undertaken involving colleagues and non-participating respondents to validate the various questionnaire statements based on the respondents' responses. The views of the former and the responses of the latter were used to rephrase statements which proved to be ambiguous and unclear (Pretorius & Ngwenya, 2008).

Since the subject under investigation required specialised knowledge, education managers, practising within the jurisdiction of the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province and had undergone the Education Management programme at local universities, were purposively selected. Thereafter, the systematic probability sampling technique was employed as dictated by a quantitative design (Babbie, 2007) to select 102 (N = 102) education managers from a population of 205, as breadth was sought for generalisation purposes. First the names were arranged alphabetically, then the number 2 was randomly selected and thereafter every second number was systematically selected from the population list (Pretorius & Ngwenya, 2008). The list of selected names constituted a dispatch register used to distribute the questionnaires in person to the various schools and respondents after permission had been granted by the Zimbabwe Open University Ethics Clearance Committee, the Provincial Education Director and education managers of investigated schools. Names of schools and respondents who consented to participate in this study were masked in keeping with the ethical issues of privacy, confidentiality and anonymity (Creswell, 2014).

Data generated from the 102 participants were subjected to different forms of manual analysis. Quantitative data questions (1 to 31) were cross-tabulated as I sought to examine the relationships within the data. Data were first tallied, then computed to frequencies of the different categories which were later translated into percentages for ease of interpretation (Pretorius & Ngwenya, 2008).

The qualitative data sought through the open-ended question were analysed using the Tesch analysis method (Creswell, 2014). The 102 responses were read thoroughly for gist, screened, winnowed and edited. The data were then hand-coded, segmented, categorised and reported in the participants' voices. However, for clarity purposes, the related segments of data gathered were classified and quantified before reporting them in text. The qualitative findings were then compared with the quantitative statistical results compatible with the convergent mixed methods model which was adopted with the intention of establishing whether education managers' supervisory practices had transformed or not (Creswell, 2014). It is from this empirical investigation that theories on models of supervision were verified (deductive reasoning) and new insights were constructed (inductive reasoning) vis-à-vis the literature surveyed (Johnson et al., 2007).



The empirical investigation was reported under the following headings: respondents' data, the concept of supervision, supervisors' perceptions of supervisees, preferred models of supervision and supervisors' modus operandi.

Biographic Data

The respondents' biographical data, as presented in Table 1, were gathered from questions 1 to 4. The entire selection of post-graduate students who had undergone the Masters Education Management programme responded to the questionnaires giving a 100% response rate. Of these (35.29%) were male while (64.71%) were female. The statistics further reveals that the bulk of these were deputy education managers (29.42%), education managers and teachers-in-charge (TIC) (23.53% each), heads of department (HOD) and senior teachers (11.76% respectively). The majority (58.82%) claimed that they had served in these administrative positions for a period of five years or less. The other 17.65% had served in these positions for a period of six to sixteen years, while the remaining six (5.88%) had been appointed to the position of TIC some fifteen years ago. The diverse nature of this sample gave credibility to the empirical findings.



In the Zimbabwean context, all the different categories of office bearers constitute the top management and supervisory corps of the internal school-based system. As a team, their common goal is that of enhancing teachers' teaching skills through a reflective exercise (Paba, 2017). Besides that, their areas of specialisation determine their areas of jurisdiction. Incumbents in these positions conduct in-class lesson observation and scrutinise scheme-cum plans fortnightly, record books at least once a term and exercise books on a monthly basis.

The Supervisors' Conception of Supervision

With questions 5 to 9 I sought the respondents' views on and understanding of the concept "supervision" (see Table 2). Most supervisors viewed supervision as a collaborative enterprise which focuses on the professional development of the supervisee (74.6%). On one hand, some (8.8%) perceived it as "fault and fact finding" while others, with a similar margin, viewed it as "the achievement of predetermined targets." Some respondents (3.9%) perceived supervision as a means of "establishing the worthiness of the teacher" and "promoting or weeding out incompetent teachers." What the above statistics seems to be suggesting is that the majority of Zimbabwean internally-based school supervisors concur with Sergiovanni et al's. (2014) contemporary definition which emphasises the engagement of supervisors and supervisees in a collegial manner for the professional development of both. Contrary to that opinion are the minority (45%) who seemed to suggest that supervision was meant to attain predetermined goals and gather information on the competences of teachers for decisional purposes as proffered by advocates of the SSM of supervision. It might be that they experienced such practices during their more than ten years of teaching in Zimbabwean schools.



The Supervisors' Perceptions of Their Supervisees

From questions 10 to 20 I sought to determine the supervisors' perceptions of their supervisees as they conducted their business of supervision at their schools. Those sentiments are presented in Table 3. Generally, supervisors view supervisees as "colleagues [that] they can jointly collaborate with in the supervisory enterprise for professional growth" (17.65%), "assets with potentials that can be developed and utilised" by both management and the institutions (15.69%), "professionals whose competences can be measured based on the predetermined performance objectives" (15.69%) and "unique personalities who may deliver instructions using various strategies" (15.69%). Some supervisors viewed supervisees as "partners with whom they can identify institutional problems jointly and try to solve them in a collaborative manner" (10.78%) and as "tools for manipulation as desired by management" (8.82%). Others regard themselves as "experts in their own right" (4.9%) who "interact with supervisees less frequently informally for the purpose of discussing the educative enterprise" (4.9%), as "concerned with the welfare of supervisees and partially engage them" (1.96%), as those who "consider supervisees' behaviour as being regulated by targets set for self-assessment" (1.96%) and "who encourage peer supervision in their schools" (1.96%).



If portrayed on a supervisory continuum, the above data would translate to the following. On the positive: CSM (17.65%), Human Resources Supervision Model (15.69), NSSM (15.69%), ASM (15.69%) resulting in a positive rating of (64.72%). IBSM (10.78%) would be at the pivot, while the following would be on the negative side: SSM (8.82%), Connoisseurship (4.9%), ISM (4.9%), HRSM (1.96%), SASM (1.96%) and the CS Model (1.96%). What one may deduce from this data is that supervisees viewed their supervisors as developmental oriented in approach. Although NSSM (16.69%) may be viewed as akin to the SSM (1.96%), identified weaknesses resulting from fail- ure to attain predetermined goals may constitute one's IDP (Paba, 2017). What the data in this study seems to be suggesting is that while the current education managers produced by Zimbabwean tertiary institutions seem to have a strong bias towards naturalistic and people-centred models which have a professional orientation (CSM, Human Resources Model, ASM), they still want to hold their teachers accountable for their actions through a competence-based and performance-related model (NSSM). Further to that, they seem to be incapable of deciding which model is appropriate in any given situation using the cost benefit analysis tool (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009).

The Supervisors' Preferred Models of Supervision

With questions 21 to 31 I sought to establish the models of supervision that the supervisors employed in their respective schools based on their general knowledge of models acquired during their Education Management programme. Their responses are captured in Table 4. The most fashionable model appeared to be the CSM (24.5%) with its developmental thrust, followed by the SSM (21.6%) with its autocratic-task-oriented practices, the HRSM (18.6%) with its human dimension element, the Human Resources Supervision Model (7.8%) meant for self-actualisation purposes, the SASM (5.9%) for those who are self-motivated, the Connoisseurship Supervision Model (5.9%) for the knowledgeable ones, the CS Model (5.9%) for the professionally oriented ones, the ASM (3.9%) for those who are person-minded, and the ISM (3.9%) and NSSM (2%). None of the supervisors had chosen the IBSM, yet it was clear that their supervision practices had been anchored in that model (cf. Table 3). Perhaps the contradictions had arisen from them not knowing it by name, yet they seemed to be grounded in the theory in practice. The failure by the majority of education managers to identify the latter model (Chiome & Mupa, 2014) implies that those who were using it, were doing so subconsciously. However, the CSM appeared to be their preferred supervision model (cf. Tables 3 & 4).



What seems to emerge from this empirical investigation is that, although education managers who had undergone training in this domain seemed to be inclined towards developmental, people-centred and professional-oriented models of supervision, they were still using the production-oriented model (reflected by their second choice SSM) despite its autocratic and bureaucratic tendencies. Perhaps an eclectic approach which is contingent to the prevailing circumstances would balance the equation.

The Supervisors' Modus Operandi

Question 32 of the questionnaire was included to determine how the supervisory process was conducted in the participants' schools. The results from this open-ended question are presented below.

When it comes to the actual business of lesson observation, the majority of supervisors (52.94%) concurred that supervisees were given a supervision timetable prior to such visits (Moyo, 2014), subject matter to be delivered was discussed in the pre-observation phase followed by classroom observation (Zepeda & Mayers, 2013). Thereafter, feedback sessions were held where the supervisee's strengths and weaknesses were discussed (Zepeda & Mayers, 2013). These sessions culminated in organised IDPs which were meant to remedy the supervisees' weaknesses and strengthen their strengths for the purpose of continuously developing their potential (Chiome & Mupa, 2014). However, some supervisors (29.41%) arrived for these visits unannounced and they delivered some "global comments" on the supervisee's work without even discussing it with them first (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2009). Balancing the supervision matrix are those (17.65%) who seemed to adopt an eclectic approach to supervision depending on the professional background, need deficiencies, expectations and teaching experience of the supervisees (Sullivan & Glanz, 2013).



Generally, most respondents seemed to subscribe to the developmental-oriented supervisory practices advocated in this research (Musundire, 2015) sandwiched with the production-oriented one. Based on the empirical investigation, it may be argued that Zimbabwean education managers who have undergone training in management are capable of conducting school-based supervision practices meant for the professional development of teachers as they are at the point of delivery. This expert knowledge they seem to possess is possibly acquired through the Connoisseurship Model which encourages such behaviours (Eisner, 1998). Developmental-oriented supervision needs to be constant and continuous if the weaknesses and strengths of supervisees are to be adequately and appropriately identified to constitute an IDP for professional growth in a clinical manner (Terhoven, 2012). Such an approach would demand that lesson observation focuses on agreed upon teacher and learner behaviours during the teaching episode and how they interact with the intention of improving instruction and learning for the benefit of learners. This is in sharp contrast with that which was hurriedly conducted by the Civil Service inspectorate team which usually demanded conformity and compliance to predetermined standards (Moyo, 2014). Recently, within districts, a cluster of education managers augments the district staff in an attempt to expedite the supervisory process.

Since the Zimbabwean government has invested so much in the production of teachers with its limited resources, support systems must be put in place to strengthen the internally school-based supervision practices. Consequently, such a thrust would render those teams of inspectors in their present form redundant; more so as the current inspectors are elevated education managers. What this evidence seems to be pointing to is that the abolishment of such positions is long overdue, since their existence seems to be a duplication of education managers' duties. However, for the purposes of quality assurance, accountability and control, a skeleton staff, not in its present form, would perhaps be needed to monitor curriculum implementation and compliance in schools, thus, cutting down on operational costs.

Contradicting the collective views of education managers as enumerated above, senior teachers observed that the supervisory practice in their schools was autocratic - an indication that the SSM was still applied. This was evidenced by the haphazard ambushes which they were subjected to and were reported in triplicate (Moyo, 2014). In addition to that, they inspect the scheme-cum plan, exercise and record books. This evidence seems to subscribe to William Faulkner's (1979) school of thought in Madziyire (2013) which asserts that for some education managers the past is never dead neither is it the past after all, despite having acquired sufficient knowledge in the supervision domain. Little wonder that the SSM is the second preferred model of staff supervision in schools (cf. Table 4). What education mangers need to do is to fine tune the SSM so that it would be acceptable to professionally minded teachers. The average supervisors' perceptions of supervisees (cf. Table 3) and the models they believe to be employed in their respective schools (cf. Table 4) makes one deduce that an eclectic approach to supervision seems to be the modus operandi of most trained education managers, although not directly indicated. This perception confirms Musundire's (2015) empirical investigation conducted in South African primary schools which revealed that the different educational backgrounds of supervisees, work experiences, maturity, expertise and expectations required different supervision styles. Similarly, their view of supervisees as partners in the supervisory enterprise meant for professional growth is evidence of the CSM at play (Zepeda & Mayers, 2013). This sentiment is corroborated by data unearthed by the empirical investigation (cf. Table 3 & 4) and the manner in which the respondents responded to question 32. In the same vein, the developmental lesson observations that they conducted were crafted based on the weaknesses and strengths emanating from such an interaction contingent to the teachers' IDP. Paba (2017) corroborates the latter opinion as well. Such a focus would continuously renew the potentials and skills of both the master and novice teachers to meet the needs of organisations in this ever-changing global village.



What can be inferred from this empirical research is that the Zimbabwean supervisory corps seems to advocate a clinical and developmental supervisory process. The professional growth of both master and novice teachers embedded in it, rules out the "hit and run" type of supervision tactics which characterised the previous supervisory practices. An ideal supervisory process, in this view, should enable both the supervisor and supervisee to jointly identify weaknesses and strengths which would constitute one's IDP for self-renewal purposes. Consequently, it can be argued that knowledgeable supervisors, if well supported in their supervisory practice, would minimise the role of the external inspectorate teams if school-based supervision is adopted in Zimbabwean schools. This is premised on the fact that education managers are nearer the point of delivery and their supervisory process is constant and continuous, thus, making it an embodiment of the TQM paradigm that contemporary schools need. Supervisors also need to be wary that supervisees are unique and that "no one-size fits all" model of supervision exists, hence the need to adopt an eclectic approach contingent to the prevailing circumstances. However, a manageable external supervisory team within the financial constraints of the Zimbabwean economy would be ideal. This would be used to monitor whether what is obtained in schools meets the ideological aspirations of the nation as espoused in its national curriculum. Above all, Zimbabwean education managers are production oriented despite advocating naturalistic models of supervision.



My sincere gratitude goes to the Provincial Education Director who granted permission for this study to be conducted in her area of jurisdiction, the participants and the professional editor.



i. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

ii. DATES: Received: 23 August 2018; Revised: 4 September 2019; Accepted: 15 November 2019; Published: 31 August 2020.



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