On the Iranian In-service and Pre-service Language Teachers’ Perceptions of Educational Supervision Concerning their Professional Development

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Professor of Applied Linguistics, Shiraz University, Iran

2 Ph.D. Candidate of TEFL, Shiraz University, Iran

Abstract

Teacher supervision plays a pivotal role in the improvement of education system and the way in which teachers and student teachers perceive it. Consequently language teacher supervisors can utilize appropriate supervisory models to keep teachers update and promote them professionally. The present study investigated the role of language teacher supervisors in student teachers and in-service teachers’ professional development in Iran. To have a representative sample, some 210 EFL teachers practicing in the secondary schools and a total of 215EFL student teachers studying English at some Iranian state and Azad universities participated in the study. A 43-item questionnaire regarding EFL teachers’ attitudes about the impact of supervisory practice on their professional development with a format of a 5-point Likert-type was distributed among them. Also, ten percent of the participants were interviewed. Then the frequencies related to each item were calculated and a Chi-Square was used. Subsequently, qualitative data were transcribed. The results indicated that in-service and pre-service teachers have the same perceptions towards the role of their supervisors in their professional development. However, according to the findings it was concluded that the models of language teacher supervision in language teacher education are different from the models practiced in in-service classes where mostly traditional models are common. 

Keywords


A significant component of pre-service and in-service teacher education programs is teacher supervision, and teacher educators can make use of different models of teacher supervision to support second language teachers regarding their professional development. However, Kayaoglu (2007) believes that to some teachers “even the mere mention of the term supervision is enough to evoke unpleasant feelings mixed with indignation at the disturbing condition” (p. 15). In general   education, Daresh (2001) describes supervision as “a process of overseeing the ability of people to meet the goals of the organization in which they work” (p.  25).

According to Bailey (2006), almost in every educational system teachers need to be observed by qualified supervisors to help them improve their teaching activities. In the Iranian educational system there are some guiding teachers who observe language classrooms and help teachers develop professionally but do not perform as well as private sectors’ supervisors. In this    system, students study English as a subject at school for 6 years. One of the most significant goals of this system, as stated by the Ministry of Education (MOE), is the mastery of at least one foreign language. But, criticism of the superiority of language teaching in the system by the experts, for the most part, is much in the air (Kiany, Mahdavi, & Ghafar Samar, 2011; Pishghadam & Mirzaee, 2008). In Iran, to our best knowledge, relating to language teacher supervision in general and, specifically, about language teacher supervision in MOE few studies have been done.  

  Considering the various models and approaches to language teacher education and importance of teachers’ professional development, the present study examined the perceived relationship between the supervisory practices and in-service as well as pre-service language teachers’ professional development in the educational system of Iran in both pre-service and in-service language teacher education. Also, another objective of this study was a comparison between student language teachers and in-service language teachers’ attitudes concerning the role of supervisors in their professional development.

 

 

 

 

LITERATURE REVIEW

Models of Teacher Supervision

Goldsberry (1988) differentiates between three significant models of educational supervision including nominal, prescriptive and reflective  models. The main function of nominal supervision is retaining a pretense that supervision is available, maintaining the status quo and supporting the insiders. The aim of prescriptive model which for a long time had an effect on language teaching is consistent with the view that the role of supervisor is highlighting the deficits in instruction and making clear these faults and improving the present deficiencies. The third one which is the reflective model indicates that “teachers need skilled support to refine their own efforts” (p.2). Alemayehu (2008) claims that supervision from the era of neo- scientific management in most educational contexts in the world has focused on inspection and control of teachers. In the words of Wilkinson (2010), supervision when carried out in a manner which shows direction and development rather than evaluation and criticism will go a long way to develop performance.  

Glickman (2002) states instructional enhancement is more probably significant when a teacher feels that a change is necessary and makes himself/herself responsible for that change.  Supervisors in such models are like   facilitators who offer direction or little prescribed arrangement to the plan. Advocates of democratic supervision, according to Bays (2001), take into consideration human relations as a cornerstone of supervision and view supervision as a supporting function with the purpose of efficient teaching.  Haynes (2003) states that the role of the supervisor is not fixed and it is a combination of several roles which changes with the improvement of teachers and modification of the focus of supervision. Glickman, Gordon and Ross-Gordon (2005) mention that developmental supervision which is explained as the application of certain knowledge and technical skills to the tasks of direct support, curriculum development, professional development, and action research permit teachers to teach in a collective and purposeful manner.  According to Tesfaw and Hofman (2012), instructional supervision is effectual when supervisors try to improve the capacity of teachers, provide them the autonomy they need to practice effectively and making them responsible for helping students to be effective learners.

 

    

Supervising Pre-service Language Teachers

According to Clark (1990), there are six roles for individuals who supervise pre-service teachers   in general education. The first role of pre-service teacher supervisor is administrative supervision, which leads to judgmental and summative assessment of student teachers and gives little attention to teachers’ professional development. According to Clark, the second responsibility of supervisor is providing informal supervision and has a non-judgmental nature.   Clerical supervision is the third one, which puts emphasis on the preservation of proceedings of instruction like student accounts and evaluation. The next one is cooperative supervision in which student teachers oversee each other and the major purpose of this model is the development of skills as a result of group encouragement and support. Responsive supervision is the fifth one which straightforwardly relates collective requirements of the persons to professional growth in the educational context. The last role of supervisor is clinical which is related to all phases of teacher development from student teacher to novice teacher and experienced teacher. Pre-service teachers register in a practicum course that Richards and Crookes (1988) believe makes the “major opportunity for the student teacher to acquire the practical skills and knowledge needed to function as an effective language teacher” (p.9). The typical members of the traditional practicum milieu are the student teachers, the classroom-based cooperating teacher, and the university-based supervisor. Regrettably, cooperating teachers are not experienced enough to supervise student teachers and in this regard Goldsberry (1988) says: “The assumption, apparently, is that anyone who can teach can also supervise” (p.4–5). In addition, according to Goldsberry(1988), the busy university supervisor often leaves the responsibility of supervising to his classroom-based partner and, interferes just when someone protests.

         

Supervising In-service Language Teachers

Supervision is a multifaceted practice that involves manifold responsibility and supervisory functions. According to Campbell (2000), in the process of supervising, the supervisor may possibly have various duties and make use of extensive range of interferences, tactics and procedures. Nunan (1996) states that by means of collaborative data explanation, “teachers can reflect upon their work and grow professionally as a result of that reflection” (p.54). Therefore, one technique to include the alternatives model of supervision is for supervisors to analyze with teachers the data gathered in their teaching contexts. Goldsberry (1988) believes that prescriptive supervision and nominal supervision are not suitable because decision making in nominal model will be left unchecked, and in the prescriptive supervision the assumption is that the supervisor is superier to make judgment than the teachers. Wallace (1991) refers to three models of teacher education including the craft model, the applied science model, and the reflective model that have implications for how supervisors interact with teachers. In the first model, an apprentice teacher observes the master teacher, imitates his or her performance, and gets feedback. In the second one, knowledge is transmitted to beginners, who somehow use it in their teaching. The last model gives equal emphasis to teachers’ experiential knowledge and knowledge of the field.

 

Teacher Supervision and Professional Development

According to Padwad and Dixit (2011), professional development is a constant and lifetime process that lets teachers expand their private and professional qualities, and update their knowledge, skills and practice. Kankam (2013) says new approaches to teaching embrace co-operative learning strategies, multiple intelligence, and the use of computer-based and other technology that help students to gain access to information independently. Consequently, he adds teachers must be committed to and continually engage in   upgrading and reviewing of their own constant professional learning. Baffour-Awuah (2011) believes that teacher supervisors potentially improve classroom practices and contribute to learners’ achievement through the professional growth and improvement of teachers.  Hayes and Chang (2012) state there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ policy for every case and they refer to the importance of  collegiality and collaboration in professional development. They also believe that the most popular forms of professional development are observation of colleagues and sharing practice. Day et al. (2006) believe that it is essential to supply teachers with adequate time and opportunities to reflect on teaching and to discuss their successful practices with their colleagues.

According to King and Newman (2000), “Teacher learning is most likely when teachers collaborate with professional peers and when they gain further expertise through access to external researchers and program developers” (p. 576).  Dorph and Holtz (2000) state that teachers need time to develop professionally as a stable element of their profession and to monitor the consequences of their efforts.

 

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

This study aimed at investigating the condition of teacher professional development in both Iranian teacher education programs and secondary schools. The following questions were hence put forward:

 

1. What is the perceived relationship between the supervisory practices and in-servicelanguage teachers’ professional development?

2. What is the perceived relationship between the supervisory practices and pre -service language teachers’ professional development?

3. What is the difference between pre-service and in-service language teachers’ attitudes towards the supervisory practices and their professional development?

 

METHOD

Participants

 To obtain a comprehensive view, data were collected from two groups of respondents. Some 210 male and female experienced and inexperienced EFL teachers, practicing in the secondary schools were selected from EFL teachers of Isfahan, Kerman, Zanjan and Guilan provinces. The collected demographic information regarding participants revealed their age, gender and previous experience in teaching English.  Also   a total of 215 EFL male and female student teachers majoring in TEFL at some Iranian state and Azad universities of the same provinces took part in this study.

Instrumentation

In the present study two instruments were used: A questionnaire and interviews.

The teacher perception Questionnaire

This 43-item questionnaire developed by Hismanoglu  and Hismanoglu  (2010)  with a format of a 5-point Likert-type from strongly agree to strongly disagree (see Appendix A). The purpose of this questionnaire was to find out English language teachers’ perceptions of educational supervision in relation to their professional development. The reported reliability index of this questionnaire was 0.88. Through employing Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient the reliability index of 0.86 was re- estimated.

Interviews

To collect the required information, 16 EFL teachers and 18 student teachers took part in a series of semi-structured interviews. In the phase of interview, the researcher elicited data regarding the perceptions and attitudes of in-service teachers and pre-service teachers about educational supervision in relation to their professional development (see Appendix B).

Data Collection Procedure

Taking permission from the authorities, the researcher selected the participants of the study     based on their availability and willingness. In the quantitative phase of the of the study 210 questionnaires about language teachers’ perceptions of educational supervision in relation to their professional development, with the presence of the researcher directly distributed among in-service teachers which a total of 178 questionnaires were put in to analysis. Of the same questionnaire, 215 copies were distributed among student teachers and 182 returned questionnaires were analyzed. To find out more information, in the qualitative phase of the study, 16 in-service teachers and 18 student teachers were interviewed by the researchers. The interviews by the preference of the interviewees were conducted in Persian and the responses were recorded. Finally, the interviews were transcribed by the researcher and following Ary et al. (2010), the researcher used three levels of coding to categorize the data. In addition, about ten percent of the interviews were transcribed and coded by a second coder. Through employing Cohen’s kappa coefficient formula an inter-coder reliability of 87% was obtained.

 

Data Analysis

The quantitative data collected through the questionnaires were analyzed through using appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics. Also the frequencies related to each item were counted and a Chi-Square was used to check the significance of differences among answers to each item.  

 

 

RESULTS

Questionnaire Results

The results of EFL teachers’ attitudes about the effect of educational supervision concerning   experiences, humane relations, curriculum and teaching methods are presented in Table 1.

 Table 1. In-service teachers’ perceptions about the effect of educational supervision in terms of   experiences,   humane relations and curriculum and teaching methods/techniques

No.

A

N

D

Chi-Square

Sig.

1

24%

6.2

69.8

65.360a

.000

2

35.2%

4.3%

60.5%

48.860a

.000

3

42.6%

3.2%

54.2%

43.220a

.000

4

78.6%

2%

19.4%

98.180a

.000

5

45.6%

4.3%

50.1%

38.960a

.000

6

3.2%

12.3%

84.5%

121.340a

.000

7

62.5%

2.5%

35%

53.545a

.000

8

63.9%

6.1%

30%

50.960a

.000

9

45.1%

4.9%

50%

36.500a

.000

10

21.1%

6.8%

72.1%

70.220a

.000

11

23.1%

3.3%

73.6%

80.420a

.000

12

21.7%

4.3%

74%

79.280a

.000

13

68.3%

10%

21.7%

56.240a

.000

14

37.6%

3.3%

59.1%

48.020a

.000

15

57.4%

2.3%

40.6%

48.020a

.000

16

59.2%

10.5%

30.3%

35.060a

.000

17

32.2%

11.5%

56.3%

29.120a

.000

18

52.2%

4.2%

43.6%

39.680a

.000

19

23.1%

4.3%

72.6%

76.220a

.000

20

59.9%

3.2%

36.9%

49.340a

.000

21

69.8%

2.1%

28.1%

70.640a

.000

22

32.3%

10.3%

57.4%

33.515a

.000

23

65.2%

3.1%

31.7%

57.740a

.000

24

4.2%

7.8%

88%

134.720a

.000

25

69.7%

4.4%

25.9%

67.760a

.000

     

 Table 1 indicates only 39% of the in-service teachers were satisfied with their supervisors in the area of developing experience. These teachers need more support in the areas of experience including the importance of the latest educational issues, awareness of the latest educational issues and encouragement to conduct case-studies. Also supervisors should persuade teachers to participate in different courses and nominate the teachers to attend educational workshops. The analysis showed that the teachers were satisfied with their supervisors in the cases of holding meetings with the teachers to discuss the educational circulars, directing them to benefit from media and technology and encouraging them to continue their post-graduate studies.

 Regarding educational leadership and humane relations, this table shows that supervisors allowed the teachers to act freely towards their duties to be accustomed to carrying out responsibilities and give opportunity to the teachers to express their professional opinions to gain benefit from them. However, the results show the supervisors need to distribute the responsibilities among the teachers based on their knowledge and professional abilities. In general, 54.5% of them believed their supervisors were effective in this area.

In the area of curriculum and teaching methods/techniques, 47% of the teachers described their supervisors helpful. Following the above table, the supervisors should put more emphasis on teachers’ participation in the curriculum development process and directing them to learn about the results of educational research done on teaching techniques. Also they should prepare the teachers to develop students' thinking skills and make them familiar with the latest updated issues about the curriculum. The teachers expressed their content with the role of supervision in helping them with preparing their teaching plans, letting teachers discuss ways of solving any problem with the curriculum and conducting workshops, seminars or micro-teaching. The results also indicate that the supervisors give opportunity to the teachers to use suitable teaching techniques for their students.

The results of EFL teachers’ attitudes about the effect of educational supervision in relation to   dealing with students, teaching materials and activities, classroom management and assessment are presented in Table 2.

 

 

 

 

Table 2. In-service teachers’ perceptions about the effect of educational supervision in terms of the student, teaching materials and activities, classroom management and assessment

No.

A

N

D

Chi-Square

Sig.

26

67.1%

3.9%

29%

60.380a

.000

27

62%

6.9%

31.1%

45.620a

.000

28

58.1%

7.2%

34.7%

39.140a

.000

29

61.1%

4.8%

34.1%

47.060a

.000

30

66.5%

5%

28.5%

58.059a

.000

31

63.2%

6.9%

29.9%

47.540a

.000

32

42.1%

4.4%

53.5%

40.880a

.000

33

63.3%

6.8%

29.9%

47.540a

.000

34

63.3%

4.6%

32.1%

50.540a

.000

35

70.1%

5.1%

24.8%

66.500a

.000

36

60.8%

3.5%

35.7%

48.495a

.000

37

41.4%

10.3%

48.3%

24.788a

.000

38

59.9%

5.3%

34.8%

45.500a

.000

39

62.2%

8.8%

29%

42.980a

.000

40

65.1%

8.5%

26.4%

49.460a

.000

41

32.1%

8.4%

59.5%

40.640a

.000

42

33.4%

5.3%

61.3%

47.515a

.000

43

34%

6.7%

59.3%

40.580a

.000


In-service teachers’ perceptions off the effect of educational supervision on English language teachers’ professional development in terms of the students are presented in Table 2. Items 26 to 30 are dedicated to students section. In this part 63% the teachers have positive attitudes regarding the role of supervisors.  Concerning the teaching material and activities, 62.5% of the teachers agreed that their supervisors direct them to use the classroom activities which develop the learners' thinking skills. However, they were on the negative side about the supervisors' function in persuading them to carry out extra-activities like English club, magazines and competitions. The above table reveals that 64% of the participants believed that the supervisor had a positive role in their professional developmentin the area ofclassroom management.  

The last seven items evaluate the teachers’ attitudes in relation to the performance of their supervisors in the section of assessment. Table 2 shows that only 47% of the teachers evaluated their supervisors helpful in this case. The supervisors’ performance is acceptable in training the teachers to design effective exams providing them with current assessment techniques and encouraging them to take notes about students’ in-class performance. However, the supervisors should make the teachers familiar with the assessment techniques and train them to ask students a variety of oral questions that are more suitable to the teaching-learning situation. Also, the results show that the teachers need more support in diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of students and using assessment results to suggest ways and solutions for the difficulties that the students face.

 The results of student teachers’ attitudes about the effect of educational supervision pertaining to experiences, humane relations, curriculum, and teaching methods are presented in Table 3.

Table 3. Pre-service teachers’ perceptions of the effect of educational supervision in terms of experiences, humane relations and curriculum and teaching methods/techniques

No.

A

N

D

Chi-Square

Sig.

1

27.5%

6.7%

65.8%

53.129a

.000

2

36.2%

4%

59.8%

47.360a

.000

3

44.8%

4.1%

51.1%

39.260a

.000

4

80.1%

2.5%

17.4%

100.940a

.000

5

43.9%

5.1%

51 %

36.860a

.000

6

4.2%

9.2%

86.6%

129.980a

.000

7

60.1%

3.8%

36.1%

47.360a

.000

8

60.7%

5.2%

34.1%

47.060a

.000

9

47.1%

4.4%

48.5%

38.780a

.000

10

23.2%

3.6%

73.2%

76.220a

.000

11

26.2%

3.2%

70.6%

71.780a

.000

12

25.5%

4.5%

70%

65.366a

.000

13

65.4%

11.3%

23.3%

48.727a

.000

14

40.3%

2.2%

57.5%

49.040a

.000

15

56.3%

5.2%

38.5%

40.460a

.000

16

56.2%

12.8%

31%

27.980a

.000

17

28.3%

12.4%

59.3

34.606a

.000

18

56.3%

3.3%

40.4%

44.788a

.000

19

25.6%

6.1%

68.3%

60.080a

.000

20

62.4%

4.1%

33.5%

50.480a

.000

21

65.2%

4.7%

30.1%

54.500a

.000

22

42.2%

10.2%

47.6%

25.040a

.000

23

68 %

3.9%

28.1%

62.720a

.000

24

9.2%

6.5%

84.3%

115.580a

.000

25

72.4%

5.1%

22.5%

72.140a

.000


Table 3 states that in developing the teacher's experience, university professors as supervisors are successful in holding meetings with the student teachers, encouraging them to continue their post-graduate studies and directing them to benefit from technology. The majority of student teachers express negative attitudes regarding the other statements of the questionnaire about supervisor roles in developing their experience. In fact, 60% of the student teachers described their supervisors ineffective in the area of developing experience.

About 54% of the participants believed in the area of educational leadership and humane relations, their supervisors have been helpful. They have been successful in allowing student teachers to be accustomed to carrying out responsibilities and giving them opportunity   to express their professional opinions. However, these supervisors should give more importance to distribution of the responsibilities among the student teachers relevant to their knowledge and professional abilities.

In terms of curriculum and teaching methods/techniques 48.5% 0f the student teachers claimed that university-based supervisors were supportive. their responses were on agree side with reference to providing opportunity for them to use suitable teaching techniques, helping them with preparing their teaching plans and letting them discuss ways of solving any problem with the curriculum. The results also indicate university-based supervisors are attentive in conducing workshops, seminars, or micro-teaching and train the student teachers to develop students’ communication skills. On the other hand, the supervisors should involve student teachers in the curriculum development process and direct them to learn about the results of educational research done on teaching techniques. Also they should educate them to develop students' thinking skills.

The results of student teachers’ attitudes concerning the effect of educational supervision in relation to   dealing with student, teaching materials and activities, classroom management, and assessment are presented inTable.4

 

Table 4. Pre-service teachers’ perceptions about the effect of supervisory practice in terms of the student, teaching materials and activities, classroom management and assessment

No.

A

N

D

Chi-Square

Sig.

26

65.4%

5.7%

28.9%

53.060a

.000

27

54.4%

9.2%

36.4%

31.091a

.000

28

60 %

7.9%

32.1%

40.640a

.000

29

56.1%

6.6%

37.3%

36.620a

.000

30

63.3%

7.5%

29.2%

46.220a

.000

31

52.5%

8.3%

39.2%

31.820a

.000

32

44%

4.9%

51.1%

37.564a

.000

33

60 %

7.1%

32.9%

42.140a

.000

34

65.1%

4.9%

30 %

54.500a

.000

35

67.4%

6.1%

26.5%

57.620a

.000

36

58.5%

5.2%

36.3%

44.060a

.000

37

47.4%

8.5%

44.1%

26.780a

.000

38

63.7%

5.1%

31.2%

26.780a

.000

39

65.2%

6.7%

28.1%

51.740a

.000

40

63.3%

8.1%

28.6%

46.220a

.000

41

38 %

6.2%

55.8%

38.480a

.000

42

38.2%

4.5%

57.3%

41.540a

.000

43

32.1%

7.5%

60.4

40.640a

.000

 

Table 4 reveals student teachers’ opinions about the role of supervision on their professional development in terms of dealing with the students. In this part 60% the participants have positive attitudes regarding the role of their supervisors.  But the supervisors should help student teachers to develop their skills in dealing with the students' varied behaviors.The results show that in the area ofteaching materials and activities, the supervisors’ performance need more consideration. In fact, only 48% of student teachers assessed their supervisors’ efforts acceptable. In terms of classroom management, 63% of the participants believed that their supervisors' practice is satisfactory.

Regarding the assessment 47% of student teachers expressed positive attitudes.  according to the findings, they were of the same opinion that their supervisors encourage them to use students’ performance as assessment record, train them to design effective exams and provide them with recent assessment techniques. The results are indicative of the fact that their supervisors do not satisfactorily encourage them to benefit from the assessment results and weakly prepare them to ask students variety of oral questions that are more suitable to the teaching. Also the findings show the supervisors’ performance is poor in guiding the teachers to use practical ways of diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of students.

 

 

Results ofInterviews

Concerning the impact of educational supervision on the participants’ professional development, 18 student teachers and 16 formal teachers were interviewed by the researcher and their responses were transcribed. Among the in-service teachers only 12% of them stated that they give importance to their professional development. Others claimed that the conditions for their professional development are not suitable. They pointed to impediments like shortage of time, poor payment, overcrowded classes and heavy teaching loads. In contrast, about 75 student teachers responded positively to the first question. They referred to some noticeable factors like university facilities, their personal interest for development and effective supervisors.

In reaction to the second question the majority of in-service teacher believed that even educational supervision is a very important part of their professional careers, their supervisors almost fail to   really support them to grow competently in many aspects. However, nearly 80% of the student teachers had reverse ideas and they were content with their supervisors.

In response to the third question, in-service teachers’ answers indicate that most of them do not have any related knowledge of models of teacher supervision but some pre-service teachers referred to peer observation and observation by cooperating teachers.

    

DISCUSSION

Close similarities were observed between in-service teachers and students teachers in terms of their viewpoints about the functions of educational supervisors in their professional development.

With reference to the first research question, the results indicated that in-service teachers concerning developing experience showed negative attitudes toward their received supervisory practice regarding many cases presented in the questionnaire. Also, these teachers stated their supervisors were weak in persuading them to participate in different courses and nominate them to attend educational workshops.

Several explanations may be presented to account for the results of the present study. It can be said that the supervisor himself is an experienced teacher who has been selected from among his colleagues and lacks the specifications of a qualified supervisor. Conducting a study on teachers’ perception on supervision Rosa (2013) says that teachers referred to the lack of supervisors with a firm preparation, capable of promoting high-quality teaching and effective professional development. Another study was conducted by Razmjoo & Rasti (2014) to investigate what constitutes the knowledge base of MOE English Teacher Supervisors in Iran. The results demonstrated that teachers on the whole, were not satisfied with existing supervisory practices.

Therefore, it can be claimed that in Ministry of Education, the supervisors are not equipped with an agreed- upon set of professional skills and little has been done about the training of supervisors.  Bailey (2006) believes lots of language teachers find themselves working as supervisors. They observe and assess other teachers, discuss their lessons with them, and make recommendations to them about what to continue and what to change. It seems that in selecting educational supervisors, it is better to offer some in-service classes and make them equipped with knowledge, techniques and procedures of the task.

The findings also showed that the teachers were satisfied with their supervisors in the cases of discussing the educational circulars, directing teachers to technology and encouraging them to continue their studies. It can be explained by the fact that the supervisors follow a preplanned schedules prepared by the authorities and through holding meetings they inform teachers of the educational circulars. Also, because they are more experienced teachers they present some informative advice. According to Bailey (2006), in some contexts supervisors have a middle-management position in the educational chart and they are answerable to both the teachers and the authorities.

Regarding educational leadership and humane relations, the results showed that supervisors allow the teachers to act freely towards their duties and give them opportunity to express their professional opinions. However, the supervisors should distribute the responsibilities among them. It can be explained by the fact that in the first place the supervisors look at teachers as human being with their own rights and respect their viewpoints and let them share their experience and perform autonomously. According to Abrell (1974), a humanistic supervisor “possesses and develops characteristics that enable him / her to consistently affirm a constructive other- centered action that leads to the growth of others, to the improvement of instruction, and to his / her own self-improvement” (p.213). The author believes that a humanistic supervisor should develop skills and  attitudes that are vital to complete the many-sided role of person- centered supervision to make use of  the desires, wants, and capacities of the individuals with whom he / she jointly works. In the cases that supervisors are not successful in distributing the responsibilities among the teachers in a suitable way relevant to their knowledge and professional abilities can be explained by the fact that the number of visitations or the number of meetings with teachers is not sufficient. Therefore, supervisors do not have opportunity to be aware of teachers’ knowledge and abilities in order to distributing the responsibilities among them based on their capabilities.

With reference to curriculum development, it seems that teacher receive a top down predetermined plan from MOE without including their viewpoints. In the words of Alfonso et al. (1984), curriculum development and instructional planning are often done by other professionals who are not supervisors and teachers. Also, talking about authority it can be mentioned that a supervisor with only prescribed or formal authority may have problem getting people to collaborate. Daresh (2001) believes “A critical concern in assessing a supervisor’s potential power rests in the appreciation of how much a supervisor can motivate others to do something” (p.194). A supervisor who lacks practical or real authority is not successful to get things done. Esia-Donkoh and Ofosu-Dwamena(2014) in a similar study in Ghana state that teachers  disagreed that   teacher supervisors persuade and involve teachers in the curriculum development process. According to the authors, “For teachers to carry out their duties very well, they need to understand the curriculum very well. That is, teachers need to be aware and understand how the curriculum must be implemented to achieve school and educational goals.”(p.73).

Also it can be seen from the finding that the supervisors were not competent in preparing the teachers to develop students' thinking skills and make them familiar with the latest updated issues about the curriculum. Ghapanchi and Baradaran (2012) conducted the similar study with private institute teachers and came to the same results. The feedbacks from this study indicated that class observations follow traditional models in most English institutes.  It is important to keep in mind that according to Glickman et al.(1988), “the supervisor, simply due to position of authority, does not automatically know what is best for everyone” (p. 142).

The teachers expressed their content with the role of supervision in helping them with preparing their teaching plans, letting teachers discuss ways of solving any problem and conducting workshops.  Hismanoglu  and Hismanoglu (2010) in a case study in Cyprus came to the same results. It may have root in the nature of in-service classes which are held by supervisors with the subjects of lesson plan, methodology and samples of the superior teaching.

In-service teachers’ perceptions about the role of supervisors concerning the students, management and teaching activities were positive in general. The reason is that according to these teachers, their supervisors are usually selected based on their experience and effectiveness. It is obvious that management, dealing with students and teaching activities have direct relationship with experience. According to Bailey(2006), the teachers who are promoted to supervisorial positions may have seniority or leadership qualities and are stable, supportive colleagues. He also believes that such effective supervisors will serve as good role models and through description and discussion convey to others, what they know about teaching activities. Another reasonable explanation deals with what Wallace (1991) refers to as craft model of teacher education. This model   has been very important in terms of learning the technical skills of teaching. They are not successful in persuading teachers to carry out extra-activities probably because the supervisor has not been recognized as a separate job from teaching in the MOE. Therefore they are under the pressure of time and cannot attend extra-activities. At the same time also teachers suffer from shortage of time to have an eye toward their professional development through performing. Dorph and Holtz (2000) states that teachers require time to develop professionally as a permanent ingredient of their occupation and to observe the results of their efforts.

In terms of assessment, supervisors were supportive in making the teachers familiar with the assessment techniques and planning effective exams. Because in MOE the instructors of in-service classes are supervisors and currently the policy of testing has moved from summative to formative and continuous assessment. Therefore this new policy is prescribed by these supervisors.   

Regarding the second research question, the results showed that university-based supervisors were successful in holding meetings, directing to post-graduate studies and using technology. It can be explained by the fact that pre-service supervisors or university-based supervisors according to Bailey (2006), are associated with a training program in which student teachers are registered and supervisory responsibilities may be shared with the cooperating teachers. As a result, student teachers can simultaneously enjoy two sources of knowledge and experience. Also these student teachers have chances to reflect on their practice with the presence of their supervisors at the practicum. Placing a trainee in the classroom of an experienced teacher is an obvious image of the craft model of teacher education (Wallace, 1991). However supervising both of them by a university professor makes the condition different and leads to a more reflective model. According to Wallace, in this model of teacher education the trainees are responsible for their own development by a process of reflecting on their own practice and the supervisor tries to help them develop their powers of reflection. In a study Caires and Almeida (2007) found pre-service teachers’ motivation and self-efficacy increased when they worked with university-based supervisors who were involved, accessible, empathetic, and supportive. 

The majority of student teachers expressed negative attitudes regarding the other statements of the questionnaire in the area of experience. Probably one reason is that university-based supervisors don’t believe that the student teachers should be equipped with a package of techniques and method to make them ready as teachers. But they should have been given the chance to experience their classes as real contexts and through in-service classes update their professional experiences. Nolan and Hoover (2008) suggested the most unique challenge in supervising pre-service teachers is aiding them in transitioning this formal knowledge into practical knowledge, which is knowledge that puts learning into action.

In leadership and humane relations, the supervisors were helpful in allowing them to carry out responsibilities and express opinions. Writing about establishing efficient supervisory relations Murdoch (1998) remarks that supervisors should empower trainees to perform reflectively and autonomously. He also maintains that to satisfy the learning requests of their students they should develop their own classroom teaching skills, and be responsible for their own professional development. Not attaching importance to distribution of the responsibilities among the student teachers can be justified by the fact that they are trainees and they do not have enough opportunity to manage classes independent of cooperating teachers.

In terms of curriculum and teaching methods/techniques, student teachers responses were on agree side with reference to the majority of statements. In teacher education programs, student teachers pass courses which involve using suitable teaching techniques, preparing lesson plans and curriculum development. According to Range, Duncan, and Hvidston (2013), prior to start teaching,  student teachers are engaged in course books that should equip them with skills, knowledge, and understanding to make them successful in the classroom. University- based supervisors not only supervise their students but in most cases teach these courses. The results also indicated university-based supervisors are attentive in conducing workshops, seminars, or micro-teaching and train the student teachers to develop students’ communication skills. According to Bailey (2006), in general, pre-service teachers put themselves into situation where supervision is expected and they admit that they have something to learn about teaching. Also Richards and Crookes (1988) believe that a practicum course is a “major opportunity for the student teacher to acquire the practical skills and knowledge needed to function as an effective language teacher” (p.9). Therefore student teachers expect their supervisors to talk with them and analyze their teaching. Moreover the regular practicum meetings present both a venue for talking openly about teaching and a critical mass of people interested in doing so.

The results also indicated that university based-supervisor were successful in managing and developing teaching material and activities. The best explanation is that the supervisors through reflective practice of professional education prepare the trainees to develop the students learning skills and develop their own skills in dealing with students’ behaviors.

The finding also showed that supervisors were effective in making the teachers familiar with the assessment techniques, encouraging them to take notes about students’ in-class performance, training them design effective exams and providing the teachers with recent assessment techniques. Their success can be attributed to the fact that, doing research in the area of testing and assessment, university-based supervisors are familiar with new methods and theory of testing. Also teaching assessment courses and testing is a part of their routine duties. 

Regarding the third research question, the results showed that in-service and pr-service teachers more or less have the same attitudes towards the role of their supervisors in their professional development. In fact, the obtained percentages of participants’ perceptions regarding the main parts of the questionnaire are almost the same. Perhaps in-service teacher supervisors have brought the techniques of their university-based supervisor from their previous practicum to the context of in-service teaching and took their performance as a prescriptive advice without noticeable creativity. Gebhard (1990) states that supervisor’s traditional role refers “to prescribe the best way to teach and to model teaching; to direct or guide the teacher’s teaching; and to evaluate progress” (p.1).  Among the statements of the questionnaire in which the participants expressed negative attitudes the main factor is the shortage of time. According to Day et al. (2006), for professional development teachers need opportunity and one of the greatest impediments to benefit from effective professional development is lack of time. Goldsberry (1988) state “When there is inadequate time to do the job and supervisor lacks the preparation or skill to do it well, nominal supervision is preferred to trying to do too much in little time and thus doing it badly” (p.5).  The main difference between the university-based supervisors and in-service teacher supervisors is that the former enjoy adequate preparation to do their job and the latter lack necessary skills and knowledge, as university-based supervisors have passed courses during their education in the area of supervisory practice and are familiar with different models of teacher supervision. Although in-service teacher supervisors are selected based on their experience they scientifically do not know much about supervisory skills. Therefore theses supervisors have characteristic of individuals who practice the nominal model of supervision. It seems that in teacher education program in Iran, student teachers benefit from different models of language teacher supervision or aspects of different models and transfer their experiences to in-service education.

The qualitative results of the study showed that student teachers give more importance to their professional development than in-service teachers. According to Yoon et al. (2007), although most schools, districts, and states use professional development as an important strategy for improving teaching, the quality and impacts of professional development vary widely.

In-service teachers face financial problems, shortage of time, burnout and crowded classes that prevent them from continuous improvement. However, in universities the condition is different and student teachers are more active and interested and believed that the sources of information and time areadequate for their own personal development. In-service teachers’ descriptions of their supervisors are obvious examples of the nominal and prescriptive models. Similarly, Augustyn (2001) reports the teachers’ perceptions of supervision in Saskatchewan schools in Canada. He shows that Saskatchewan teachers requested the use of new supervision policy and application of modern supervisory approaches instead of the traditional ones.  However student teachers described their supervisors as individuals who let them think about their performance, discuss it with their classmates and offer some thought provoking feedback which, according to Goldsberry (1988), is representative of the reflective model. Concerning their familiarity with models and techniques of teacher supervision, in-service teachers claimed that the present models are not fruitful for their professional development and the MOE should hold classes to prepare the supervisors for their job and just being good teachers not enough for being good supervisors. However, student teachers referred to peer- observation and implicitly pointed to alternative suggestions of their supervisors.

 

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS

The results of the quantitative phase of the present study indicate that both university-based supervisors and teacher supervisors similarly had deficiencies in terms of teacher professional development. Therefore, it is very important for them to reconsider the issue especially in taking supervisory practice more seriously, dedicating adequate time and directing teachers. However, the qualitative phase indicates that the status of in-service language teacher supervision is very close to traditional models of supervision like nominal and prescriptive models. Kayaoglu (2012) conducted a survey in Turkey to study the role of supervisors in   development of teachers. Also this study revealed that “most of the EFL teachers were found to be pessimistic, depicting the current supervision as a negative experience and supervisors as bureaucratic administrators” (p. 115).  In a study in Kenya, Chieng' and Borg (2011) found that the process of supervision of English student teachers was brief and superficial and that the feedback they received was mainly evaluative and directive. 

It can be concluded that at the outset, teacher supervisors need some in-service classes to pass courses in order to be familiar with modern models and techniques of teacher supervision. Also, University-based supervisors should take their supervisory practice more seriously and do not leave the full responsibility to cooperating teachers. Moreover, it is also better to offer some special instruction to cooperating teachers who train student teachers in the area of observation and make them familiar with the most effective language teacher models of supervision.   

As the present study showed, a very crucial factor in teacher professional development is monetary resources. The inadequacy of financial resources in teachers’ professional development was reported in several researches carried out all around the world (Haycock, 1999; Razmjoo & Rasti, 2014). Also the results indicated that the supervisors put more emphasis on conducting workshops to improve teachers professionally. Moreover, Sandholdz (2002) states that most of professional development programs around the world follow this approach. Clarke and Hollingsworth (2002) consider such activities as a deficit approach which leads to teacher mastery of prescribed skills and knowledge. Therefore, it is obvious that the subjects of time, income and ongoing support are global issues which need more consideration in many educational systems all around the world.

It seems that reduction in teaching load and increase in wages are two important factors which can persuade teachers to give more attention to their own professional development in educational system of the nations with the same trend. Also improving the quality and quantity of in-service classes and workshops as well as training teachers to write articles are fruitful steps in the developments of English teachers worldwide. Richards and Farrell (2005) believe that teachers need regular opportunities to renew their specialized knowledge and skills.  

Also to improve teachers the frequency of classroom visitation, allocated time to pre observation, observation and post observation conferences should be increased. Opportunity should be provided for them to get higher degrees in post graduate studies to pass courses regarding teacher professional development and supervisory practice. Ranking teachers based on their professional documents including university degrees, number of publications, making use of technology in their teaching and taking part in premier model of teaching may also make teachers closer to this goal.

Richards and Farrell (2005)state analyzing cases allow teachers to express and distribute the problem solving strategies they utilize in their classes. Therefore, persuading teachers to analyze cases and study the case reports as valuable resources, particularly for less experienced teachers, will improve them professionally. Even though significant evolution has been made in the majority of educational supervision systems nowadays, supplementary modifications are required to renew the structure, objective, utility and  approach  of educational supervision in many parts of the world.  Since English is taught as international language all over the world, the results of the study may be used to add to the international practices of teacher development. It can also be of great interest to policy makers in education to revise their teacher training programs.

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