Public Management

'Supervisors are realizing more and more often that it is not a role that you can easily do on the side’

October 20, 2014

Supervisors in the education sector are still trying to figure out their role. They have no desire to step into the shoes of the administrator, but they shouldn't allow an administrator too much space either.

Image: © Nationale Beeldbank

Which is why business school TIAS School for Business and Society, together with Verus, organizes the master classes ‘master classes Value-based supervision: an inspiring perspective. These master classes teach supervisors to reflect on how to engage in a strategic debate without being too focused on details, says academic director Rienk Goodijk.

We meanwhile have two courses of the master classes behind us. The initial results are already evident in practice, says Goodijk. “The supervisors and administrators who took part in the master classes now reflect more explicitly on the role that they wish to have, and on which values this is based. They are working on a supervision framework, a supervision vision or an information protocol. These are instruments that were introduced during the master class and that they were taught to use.” A third course is, which is already booked up, is scheduled for October. A fourth course will start in January 2015. 

Theory and skills

The emphasis is not on intrinsic knowledge alone, says Goodijk. “The relation between the administrator and the supervisor is characterized by all kinds of dilemmas, such as the balance between intensive involvement and keeping enough distance. This means that you have to move back and forth as a supervisor or an administrator in order to cope with these dilemmas. We provide participants with skills to this end as well. In addition to the content of the lectures, we also provide examples from practice and exercise materials”.

TIAS and Verus intend to continue developing the courses. “We start off on the first day with present-day developments in the educational sector. There are a lot of changes, particularly where it concerns the quality of secondary education. We will continue to update the master class for that reason alone”, says Goodijk. But the past years have also seen many changes regarding how the role of internal supervision is rendered. 'Supervisors are realizing more and more often that it is not a role that you can easily do on the side. More and more often, parents are being replaced by professional appointed supervisors. This also has disadvantages. How can you guarantee the involvement of parents in the supervisory board? Or how do you, as a supervisor, adequately maintain the contact with parents? These are subjects that receive increasingly more attention within the master classes.”

Determining the identity of the educational establishment

In addition, much attention is paid to the identity of an educational establishment. “Determining this identity is important if one is to be able to be distinguishing towards parents and other stakeholders. All of the master classes focus more or lesson adding that value.” Supervisors and administrators are often able to describe the identity of the educational establishment in general terms, but they do not always know how to express the identity in concrete terms in the form of policy. 

And because the mutual relationship between the administrator and the supervisor is also thoroughly examined, the master classes are suitable for both parties. There have been occasions when both the administrator as well as one or more internal supervisors from the same institution have signed up for the same class. “That could prove to be advantageous, but whether this is actually the case depends upon the mutual relations. Sensitive underlying issues sometimes play a role.” Goodijk checks this during the introductory interview that each participant must take part in with the academic director. “During this introductory interview, we ask a number of questions concerning one's motivation, vision and attitude. This allows us to test whether participants are aware of what they are getting into and whether there is room to change the vision on administration and supervision. That is the only way that we can guarantee that the participants can conclude the master classes with a new and inspiring perspective.”

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Masterclasses Waardegedreven toezicht: een inspirerend perspectief, Verus - in Dutch

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