Supervision is the task of observing everything that happens in a given area (often when students are on a break of some kind or on excursion). It usually involves gradual circulation around the designated area, reminding students of your presence and providing precorrections (‘don’t even think about it Peyton’) as well as corrections (‘walking not running Quinn’) and reprimands (‘Parker, that is unacceptable, you can stand next to me for 3 minutes’). Supervision involves addressing behaviour that is inconsistent with rules, instructions and expectations (Colvin et al., 1997). Unlike in the classroom, supervision does not involve many positive prompts – students are usually free to interact with their peers and the teacher only intervenes if there is a problem.
In some cases, teachers will supervise students quite closely and actively manage their behaviour. In other cases, more freedom might be afforded and teacher presence is all that is needed. In deciding what level of supervision is required, several factors need to be considered such as age, maturity, ability, the activity, risks and hazards, your experience, your knowledge of the student(s), policies and rules (and laws), and your ‘gut instincts’. You should also take into account the general atmosphere at the time – are students overly excited, agitated or anxious, or are they calm? Once you have considered these things, it’s time for ‘Plan Scan Act’ or PSA:
Also be aware of the following:
Planning for supervision
Colvin, G., Sugai, G., Good, R. H. III, & Lee, Y.-Y. (1997). Using active supervision and precorrection to improve transition behaviors in an elementary school. School Psychology Quarterly, 12(4), 344–363. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0088967
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
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