The following is an exerpt from Naseer, A.A. (2009)


Definitions of supervision vary “from a custodial orientation to a humanistic orientation”. (Wanzare & da Costa, 2000)  These custodial orientations were not targeted to help teachers but to find their weaknesses; eliminate and isolate them; and replace them with who could do better. (Melby, 1936; Elsebree, McNally, & Wynn, 1967) Supervision, later, has undergone several gradual processes to change from inspectorial character to instructional improvement character. (Melby, 1936)  Thus, it is evident that these custodial focuses of supervision have been practiced only in its earliest form (Elsebree, McNally, & Wynn, 1967), as modern definitions of educational supervision do not depict such inspectorial function. However, supervision may partially need to have this focus of inspection for its proper functioning in the organization, as it “is a phase of administration” (Eye & Netzer, 1965, p13) and can be practiced in various operations, including “custodial” (Lewis & Miel, 1972, p43), in a school. 

Eye and Netzer (1965) define supervision as “that phase of school administration which deals primarily with the achievement of appropriate selected instructional expectations of educational service.” (p 12)  In addition, supervision is concerned about coordinating, stimulating and directing of teachers for sustainable improvement of students learning and talents. (Briggs & Justman, 1952; Boardman, Douglas & Bent, 1953)  Similarly, Lewis and Miel (1972) view general supervision as an operation of monitoring which targets on its improvement, whereas their view of instructional supervision is specific and clear: planning and auditing resources and expected learning, criticising teaching and school atmosphere, and organising assistances required for instructional improvement. According to Neagley and Evans (1980) supervision over time “has changed from inspection to snoopervision, to supervision of teachers and finally, to concept of dynamic, democratic, cooperative supervision.” (p21)  They further see general supervision as something administrative which takes place outside the teaching arena and instructional supervision as developmental tasks carried out in the classrooms and related to instruction.

However, in the current era supervision cannot be merely viewed as inspectional, administrative or instructional. Modern supervision has shifted from its narrower understanding to a much more complex concept; thus it is “cooperative”, “broader in its scope”, “a peer relationship”, and “experimental”. (Elsebree, McNally, & Wynn, 1967)  According to Tanner and Tanner (1987), educational supervision “rests on two fundamental principles:” instructional enhancement, and curriculum development. (p53)  Likewise, Wiles and Bondi (2004) elaborate that supervision, is a leadership and a coordinating role, comprises of administrative, instructional and curricular functions, which overlap each other. Moreover, Glickman, Gordon, & Ross-Gordon (2007) expanded the definition of supervision from three (earlier stated) functions to five, with the insertion of group development and action research. However, their main argument is that all these functions of supervision are and supervision in general is to improve the instruction. According to them as the concept of successful educational institutes have changed from “conventional” to “congenial” to “collegial”, it is important to shift the paradigm of supervision from “conventional or congenial” to “collegial” orientation for successful instructional development.