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This paper summarizes a new paradigm of instructional supervision, which shifts the focus from individual behavior to the improvement of work processes and social system components of the school district. The proposed paradigm, the Knowledge Work Supervision model, is derived from sociotechnical systems design theory and linked to the premise that school systems are knowledge organizations and that teaching is knowledge work. Knowledge work is any work that uses or produces knowledge to deliver products or services to customers. Groups of teachers, Redesign Management Teams (RMTs), collaborate with specially trained Knowledge-Work Supervisors who provide tactical guidance for the supervisory process. A districtwide steering committee provides strategic guidance for the entire knowledge-work supervision process. Because knowledge work is nonlinear, nonroutine, and often chaotic, a different kind of supervision is required. Given the systemic characteristics of a school district, the dominant orthodox paradigms of supervision (that is, clinical supervision and supervision-as-performance evaluation) seem inappropriate because they focus on individual teachers and their classrooms. The following recommendations are offered: (1) building principals alone cannot coordinate the entire process; (2) each school system has unique organizational characteristics that either constrain or enhance the effectiveness of supervision; (3) organizational structures, as well as individual behaviors and attitudes, must also be changed; (4) the process must be related to districtwide organizational goals; (5) problem-solving capacity must be built into each school within the system; and (6) the process must be designed as a comprehensive, systemwide program of supervision. (LMI)

Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Instructional Improvement, Models, Organizational Theories, School Districts, Social Structure, Social Systems, Systems Approach, Teacher Supervision

Autor: Duffy, Francis M.


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