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Honoring Diverse Teaching Styles

by Edward Pajak

Table of Contents

An ASCD Study Guide for Honoring Diverse Teaching Styles: A Guide for Supervisors

This Study Guide is designed to enhance your understanding of Honoring Diverse Teaching Styles: A Guide for Supervisors, an ASCD book published in May 2003, by helping you make connections between the text and the classroom, school, or district in which you work. Written by Edward Pajak, this book is designed to help both new and experienced supervisors communicate with teachers.

You can use this study guide before or after you have read the book, or as you finish each chapter. If you have not read the book already, you may wish to scan the guide and highlight questions and instructions that are designed to prompt your thinking prior to your reading the text material carefully. The study questions provided are not meant to cover all aspects of the book but, rather, to address selected ideas we thought might warrant further reflection.

Most of the questions in this study guide are ones you can think about on your own. But you might also consider pairing with another colleague or forming a group of people who have read (or are reading) Honoring Diverse Teaching Styles.

Chapter 1: Understanding the Clinical Cycle

  1. What are possible reasons for the contentiousness that often permeates conversations about education among educators? Does it seem to you that innovations in education resemble the extreme swings of a pendulum? If so, what are some examples you have witnessed?
  2. How would a professional culture in a school differ from a bureaucratic culture? Which of these is more prevalent, in your experience? Which of these cultures do you prefer? Why?
  3. How is supervision different from administration? Ask a principal what he or she thinks the difference might be. How might clinical supervision as described in this chapter contribute to the creation of a democratic learning community?
  4. Which of the different models of clinical supervision that are described in this chapter have you experienced in your career? What are the comparative benefits and drawbacks of each?
  5. Which of the models of clinical supervision that are described in this chapter sound like approaches that you would like to see used more often? Why?

Chapter 2: The Clinical Cycle and Psychological Functions

  1. Why are gathering data and making judgments about perceptions centrally important to the practice of clinical supervision? What other skills are necessary for success?
  2. Do you personally rely more often on sensing or on intuition when gathering information about the world around you? Can you give an example? What are some advantages and disadvantages to using sensing or intuition to gather information in different situations? (e.g., planning a lesson, going on vacation, buying a car, etc.)
  3. Can feeling really be used, like thinking, to interpret and order information? When is it an advantage to use the feeling function in this way? When might it be a disadvantage?
  4. When observing a classroom, what is a person who relies mainly on the intuitive function likely to focus on? What is that person likely to miss?
  5. When observing a classroom, what is a person who relies mainly on the thinking function likely to focus on? What is that person likely to miss?
  6. If the four families of clinical supervision correspond to the four function pairs, what are the implications for supervisory practice? Are the implications likely to be beneficial? Why or why not?

Chapter 3: Real and Imagined Experiences of Teaching

  1. Do you believe that teaching is influenced in part by our unconscious? How might that be so? Why would it be important for us to know if that is the case? Can fictional portrayals of teachers in literature and film provide useful guides to professional practice? Why or why not?
  2. In your current situation, is it most important to be an inventing teacher, a knowing teacher, a caring teacher, or an inspiring teacher? What elements do each of these teaching styles contribute to student learning? Can you think of examples of these styles among the teachers in your school? Would access to a range of these styles be possible or desirable for teachers? For their students?
  3. Are inventing, knowing, caring, and inspiring styles of teaching more likely to be associated with different subject areas or grade levels? Why might this be so? Are they more important when teaching different subject areas or grade levels? Why or why not?
  4. How are the styles of teaching related to different philosophies of education? To the curriculum? To instructional practices?
  5. In what ways does the process of becoming a teacher parallel the story of the hero's journey? What trials do new teachers face? What ogres or dragons must be overcome? What helpful strangers might beginning teachers encounter?
  6. How can knowledge of archetypal images of teaching enrich the practice and experience of teaching in real classrooms and schools? Do the images of teachers portrayed in literature and film reflect essential truths about teaching? How do these truths differ from the prescriptions that are handed down through legislation and policy?

Chapter 4: Languages, Dialects, and the Clinical Cycle

  1. Does it make sense to think about the four families of clinical supervision as different languages? Which of these languages have you heard spoken in your school?
  2. What implications for the practice of clinical supervision do the eight dialects suggest? What are some specific conferencing strategies that might be associated with each?
  3. How might a knowledge of the clinical languages and dialects described in this chapter improve the practice of clinical supervision? Why is it important for supervisors to model an appreciation for a diversity of teaching styles?
  4. Which language or dialect of clinical supervision is least often spoken in schools? Why might that be so? Jot down some ideas that supervisors might find helpful for honoring diverse teaching styles.
  5. Why is it important to make available alternative paths for the professional development of teachers? How can supervisors facilitate the journey of teachers along those paths?

Chapter 5: Communicating Successfully with All Teachers

  1. After completing the Clinical Dialect Preference Survey, were you surprised at all by the results? Do the results accurately reflect the way you perceive yourself? Why or why not?
  2. How is the Clinical Language Circle likely to improve the use of existing models of clinical supervision? What difficulties do you anticipate in applying it?
  3. What implications are suggested by the Clinical Language Circle for the professional development of those who provide supervisory support to teachers? What sort of professional development opportunities might be most beneficial for them?
  4. How can the Clinical Language Circle be used to improve communication between teachers and supervisors?
  5. How can the Clinical Language Circle be used to improve communication in groups? What common group process problems might be avoided?
  6. Is it important for teachers to have access to supervisors who speak different supervisory languages and dialects? Why or why not? How might a school or district achieve the honoring of multiple teaching styles?

Chapter 6: Speaking the Languages and Dialects

  1. Do you agree that a "new vision" for clinical supervision is needed? What aspects of the new vision presented in this chapter are most appealing to you? Which aspects are likely to be most difficult to realize? Is there anything missing from this "new vision" that you would like to see included?
  2. How easy or difficult would it be for a supervisor to master the skills necessary to provide a differentiated clinical cycle for the range of teaching styles represented on a typical faculty?
  3. Which version of the clinical cycle described in this chapter would you feel most comfortable with as a teacher? Which version of the clinical cycle described in this chapter would you feel most comfortable with as a supervisor?
  4. How does knowledge of the languages and dialects of the clinical cycle assist you in better understanding the practice of supervision? What are the implications for supervisory practice in your school or district?
  5. Why is it important not to pigeonhole teachers into ironclad stereotypes? How can that tendency be avoided? Why is it important not to enforce "one best way" to teach? How does an understanding of clinical languages and dialects help avoid that tendency?
  6. After completing the worksheets provided in Appendix B, which teaching styles are you best prepared to work with as a supervisor? Which teaching styles will require you to stretch your skills?
  7. How do current policies and practices in your school or district inhibit or support the honoring of different teaching styles?

Chapter 7: Developing an Integrated Style

  1. How can teachers best help students proceed on their own heroic journeys of self-discovery? Why would the ability to enact different styles of teaching be important to this effort?
  2. What does this chapter suggest is a source of ineffective teaching? What does this chapter suggest is a source of an ineffective school climate? What remedy is suggested?
  3. Why is it not sufficient to simply perfect a single style of teaching? Why is access to multiple styles important? Which style of teaching would present the greatest challenge for you to achieve?
  4. Does the movie Teachers portray symptoms of ineffective practice that exist in real schools? Does it provide a useful map for psychological growth? For professional growth? For organizational growth?
  5. Where is the best starting place for a Cycle of Regeneration? Engagement? Empathy? Encouragement? Empowerment? Why are each of these important? When would each be an appropriate intervention in attempting to influence an individual classroom or an entire school?
  6. How can differentiated learning environments be used to "gently nudge" teachers out of their comfort zones? Why is that important? What would it take to achieve such an environment?
  7. How does an understanding of the languages and dialects of clinical supervision change the practice of clinical supervision? Why are those changes needed? List some steps that would be necessary in your school or district to move toward an environment that honored and developed multiple teaching styles.

Honoring Diverse Teaching Styles: A Guide for Supervisors was written by Edward Pajak. This 118-page, 6" x 9" book (Stock #103012; ISBN 0-87120-776-1) is available from ASCD for $18.95 (ASCD member) and $22.95 (nonmember). Copyright 2003 by Edward Pajak. To order a copy, call ASCD at 1-800-933-2723 (in Virginia 1-703-578-9600) and press 2 for the Service Center. Or buy the book from ASCD's Online Store.


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