This article attempts to accomplish for supervision what Doyle, Ponder, Davis, Kliebard, and others initiated for curriculum. The goal is to inspire a proliferation of historical research, so that our field can be more informed about its antecedents and legacies in order to more adequately plan for the future. This is an invitation for continued scholarship into the history of supervision.
The Current Void
The proliferation of works focusing on the history and historiography of American education has been marked and comprehensive. Since the early to mid-1970s, the recorded history of American education has expanded to include a broad range of topics and issues. History as a legitimate mode of inquiry is today unquestioned.5
Regrettably, however, supervision as a field of study and practice has escaped serious and ongoing investigation by educational historians.6
Despite the fact that administration, curriculum, teaching, teacher education, urban schooling, and even special education, for example, have received notable attention, school supervision remains largely unexamined and neglected.7
Almost 20 years ago, ASCD itself lamented the lack of interest in supervision by stating that “a definitive history of educational supervision has not been published.”8
In 1976, an ASCD yearbook devoted to historical analysis gave insufficient attention to supervision from a historical perspective.9
Attesting to this neglect of supervision as a field of study, Krajewski called “for putting the `S' back into ASCD.”10
Two years later, the Council of Professors of Instructional Supervision (COPIS) echoed this concern.11
Glanz argued that “supervision as a field of study has little by way of history.”12
Although a formal subspecialty in historical scholarship of supervision may not be necessary, historical investigation of supervision is warranted and should receive greater attention. Before explicating why historical research in supervision has been marginalized and examining avenues for further historical inquiry, I shall briefly describe what is meant by history, what are the benefits of historical study, and what it means to think historically about supervision.
History: Its Purpose and Benefits
The study of history is a struggle to understand the “unending dialogue between the present and the past.”13
As such, the notion of temporality is relevant to understanding the flow of historical events. People and events cannot be explained only in terms of the present, but must be understood in terms of a past and a future as well. The past, present, and future, according to Cassirer, form an “undifferentiated unity and an indiscriminate whole.”14
Kummel explains this notion of temporality as a historical process “in which the past never assumes a final shape nor the future ever shuts its doors. Their essential interdependence also means, however, that there can be no progress without a retreat into the past in search of a deeper foundation” (emphasis added).15
The experience of reflective consciousness through historical inquiry implies an awareness of the past and its interconnectedness to present conditions and future possibilities. History, then, can be understood as an attempt to study the events and ideas of the past that have shaped human experience over time in order to inform current practice as well as to make more intelligent decisions for the future.16
History is more than simply recording all past experiences and events. Historians are interested in those aspects of the past that have historical significance. Since what may be historically significant to one may be irrelevant to another, the reconstruction of the past must be undertaken from different perspectives by different people. Moreover, significance is granted only when a sufficient amount of time has lapsed in order to ensure that contemporary demands alone do not dictate what is considered historically important.17
Seen in this way, history is the retelling and interpretation of significant events of the past.18
The value of history is its concreteness, its placing of events, people, and theories within context.19
History supplies the context in which to view current proposals. More fundamentally, understanding how our field has come to take the shape it has is a compelling reason to undertake historical inquiry of supervision. Historical exploration can also help us understand the antecedents of current innovations or theories. Thus, having a history will deepen and strengthen our identity as a field of scholarship and provide us with a collective consciousness.
Thinking Historically About Supervision
Theorists of supervision should not be content with developing proposals and formulating new models of supervision by systematically explaining their underlying assumptions. Similarly, practitioners should not carry out supervisory strategies merely to solve immediate problems. Instead, those concerned with supervision must continually reflect on the basis for doing what they do. Critical historical analysis will have per se a twofold effect on our field: leaders, developers, and researchers will look to the past for precedent; and those who write and theorize about supervision will view their efforts as embedded in a set of historical conditions. To look for precedent, to draw upon historical responses to contemporary-like problems, to view current proposals and models as connected to prior efforts and dilemmas is to acknowledge our historicity.
To be historical, then, means to be concerned with questions such as the following:
- How are our prevailing practices and advocated theories connected to the past?
- How have significant ideas, events, and people influenced or informed current practice?
- What are the social, economic, philosophical, and political forces that have shaped our experience/theories/field?
- Once we understand our legacies, can we formulate models of supervision that address the exigencies of the present by building on lessons of the past?
- What else can we learn from history that might help develop the field of supervision?20
The emergence of a history of supervision not only demands an understanding of how the field came to be as it is, but also how current practices and theories of supervision are outgrowths of past developments. To think historically is to break away from taken-for-granted notions that reinforce reliance on immediacy as the sole measure for theory and practice in supervision. To think historically means much more than presenting a superficial overview in the first chapter of a book or a subsection of an article.21
To underscore the import of history as a perspective that can provide useful information, one must continually deliberate by posing key historical questions. Tanner and Tanner's textbook on supervision titled Supervision in Education: Problems and Practices is an excellent example of the kind of historicity our field should strive for. The authors go beyond providing an overview of the evolution of the field in the first chapter, which they do very competently. As the chapters unfold, historical perspective is reflected and taken seriously.22
One illustration of the lack of attention paid to the history of supervision is the manner in which writers in the field address the changing conceptions of the status and function of supervision. Sergiovanni and Starratt, in their recently revised textbook on supervision, retitled Supervision: A Redefinition, assert that numerous changes and understandings about schooling, teaching, and leadership, among other factors, necessitate a “redefinition” of supervisory practice and theory. “This redefinition includes the disconnection of supervision from hierarchical roles and a focus on community as the primary metaphor for schooling.” Through the word community the authors of this comprehensive, up-to-date, and widely acknowledged text on supervision denote the fact that responsibility for supervision has widened to include not only supervisors, but teachers, mentors, consultants, and other school- and district-based personnel. Still, Sergiovanni and Starratt maintain that “the supervisor's role remains important but is understood differently.”23
A tenaciously held conviction prevails that supervisors continue to be necessary, even essential, in an educational world now populated by teachers and other educators specially trained to perform supervision.24
Teacher decision making and democratic school governance are replacing bureaucratic mandates and administrative fiat.25
The field of supervision over the past 50 years or so has not readily acknowledged, and has even resisted, the distinction advanced in the 1930s that supervision as a function is not, nor should be, necessarily located in the supervisor as person. The merger between the Department of Supervisors and Directors of Instruction (DSDI) and the Society for Curriculum Study to eventually form the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is indicative of a “shift from status to function.”26
While conceptions in the field of supervision appear to have changed, as reflected, for instance, in title changes of the various editions of Sergiovanni and Starratt's book, educators concerned with school supervision have insisted on maintaining archaic notions regarding its role and function. That supervision should be a democratic, cooperative function performed by those leaders engaged in improving instruction has been long recognized and advocated. Thus, without reference to past proposals and an explication of how current propositions evolved, we fall prey to reinventing the wheel again and again.
An example of how unresolved dilemmas have continued to plague our field involves the critical issue known as the inservice education and evaluation conflict. A number of individuals have addressed the inherent role conflict experienced by those involved in supervising instruction.27
Tanner and Tanner, for example, contend that supervisors are challenged daily to assist teachers “in solving classroom problems.” As such, supervisors are inclined to interact with teachers personally and professionally. To be effective leaders, supervisors must maintain friendly, helpful relationships with teachers. However, when evaluation must be done, these collegial relationships may be jeopardized. Tanner and Tanner state: “No doubt, many teachers are afraid to ask for help from supervisors because they believe that by exposing a problem with their teaching, they are inviting a low evaluation of their work . . .”28
This improvement versus evaluation dilemma, though pervasive, has been only marginally addressed in the literature of supervision and remains unresolved.29
Continued historical analysis can shed light on how different generations sought to resolve the dilemma. Hence, more creative and effective solutions may be proffered.
So, have we constructed a history of supervision? Are we historically conscious of our traditions and legacies? To the extent that some scholars have seen the relevance of history and have, in fact, taken a historical perspective in their writings, we have certainly made some progress.30
Notwithstanding these writings and the general acceptance of historical inquiry as a viable enterprise, only limited attention has been given to our history.31
A perusal of textbooks, journal articles, and conference presentations clearly demonstrates this.
More fundamentally, however, much of the history that has been written describes eras or changes in supervision as a series of disjointed and unrelated events. Consequently, developments in supervision appear to be loosely connected, having little if any relation to one another. While, for instance, Pajak, Bolin, Glanz, Anderson, Garman, Blumberg, and Karier have attended to important aspects of history, a coherent and definitive history of supervision remains elusive.32
The Marginalizaton of Supervision's History
The treatment of the history of supervision as an identified area of scholarship rests on two problems. First, while some practitioners and theorists are certainly ahistorical, many others have simply given limited attention to history as a viable area of scholarship. A perusal of many textbooks on supervision, occasional dissertations, and selected journal articles demonstrates the generalized and simplistic treatment of history. Many authors have taken, for example, a chronological approach to examining the evolution of supervision.33
Periodization is not only arbitrary and monotonous, but more usually inaccurate. Second, the attention that has been given to supervision history has been not only abysmally sporadic, but also neither effective nor persuasive. Our field characteristically remains overly pragmatic and highly prescriptive. A climate of urgency prevails in which “to do” is more valued than “to know.” It is not so much a problem that our field is ahistorical as that our use of history lacks specificity, nuance, and power.34
The paucity of historical research in supervision can be attributed to several fundamental reasons. Foremost is the fact that varying degrees of ahistoricism characterize our field. Ahistoricism due to lack of knowledge of intellectual traditions and to inherited modes of behavior characterized the field for many years. While this sort of ahistoricism may be a thing of the past, practitioners and theorists continue to marginalize the importance of historical inquiry. Many assert that historical inquiry has little if any impact on day-to-day practice. Supervisors, be they assistant principals, principals, district office personnel, curriculum workers, mentors, classroom cooperating teachers, peer consultants, or educational evaluators, are burdened by demanding and challenging responsibilities of managing schools and providing instructional services to teachers. As such, they are very much practice-oriented.35
Most articles in the major publications that supervisors subscribe to, such as Educational Leadership, NASSP Bulletin, NAESP Bulletin, and the Journal of School Leadership, are highly prescriptive; only a few deal with theoretical postulates, and even fewer with historical analyses.
Moreover, the nonreflective stance taken by the field of supervision is compounded by a rather different form of ahistoricism. Not only do practitioners question the usefulness of understanding past events, but they tend to uncritically accept current ideas about supervisory practice that have their origins in the past. The persistence of bureaucratic authority in supervision reflects this tendency. Some practitioners fail to acknowledge other important sources of authority, such as “the professional and moral.”36
For these practitioners, the primary sources of authority for supervision will rarely change from bureaucratic to professional and moral without, at least, their understanding the origins of bureaucratic governance and how supervisors have historically been influenced by bureaucratic mandates. Ahistoricism precludes an understanding of the ways in which meanings have been sedimented in current practice. As Kliebard notes, albeit in relation to curriculum, “Under these circumstances, the present almost inevitably intrudes on our understanding of the past, and the past becomes little more than a rationale for exhortations on behalf of urgent changes in the present.”37
Ahistoricism is only partially responsible for lack of interest in the history of supervision. After all, the field of curriculum suffered not too long ago from historical amnesia as well.38
Why, then, is the problem so pronounced in supervision? Another explanation may reside in the lack of clarity in even defining supervision.39
Alfonso and Firth have noted that the study of supervision lacks focus largely due to the “lack of research and continuing disagreement on the definition and purposes of supervision.”40
To define supervision as merely “the improvement of instruction” does little to focus attention on critical dimensions of instructional supervision. Moreover, there is little if any consensus about the definitions that do abound.41
Consequently, a lack of clarity as to even the duties and responsibilities of supervisors has been prevalent since around 1920. The fact that historical scholarship has not been taken seriously is understandable, albeit regrettable, given the absence of focus and lack of consensus as to what supervisors do. Can we expect a field to attain historical maturity when difficulties prevail in both defining the field's parameters and role in schools?
Another reason why historical analysis is often ignored relates to a fundamental difficulty that, until rather recently, characterized education as a whole. The model of social research—the scientific method—and the logic that underpins it—positivism—have dominated educational and administrative theory. For supervisors, both practitioners and theorists, ontological and epistemological assumptions have shaped the kind of methodology accepted in the field. The predominance of this social science perspective has only recently undergone criticism in light of the emergence of qualitative, including ethnographic and biographical, analyses. The traditions of positivism and the scientific method in educational research have precluded scholars of supervision, in this case, from examining the historical context out of which they operate because immediate, practical results are preferred.42
Ahistoricism in supervision is compounded by a more fundamental problem. Supervision as a field of study has not received adequate attention. Ben Harris decried the lack of research in supervision. Even Educational Leadership, explained Harris, “rare among nationally circulated periodicals in being devoted primarily to supervision and curriculum development . . . publishes few articles per se and few in supervision research.”43
Twenty-five years ago, Goldhammer articulated problems in supervision in a scathing critique:
The problem is, more seriously, an internal one: that in the absence of some cogent framework of educational values and of powerful theoretical systems, operational models, extensive bodies of case material to consult, rigorous programs of professional training, and a broad literature of empirical research, supervision has neither a fundamental substantive content nor a consciously determined and universally recognized process—both its stuff and its methods tend to be random, residual, frequently archaic, and eclectic in the worst sense.44
The National Society for the Study of Education (NSSE) has devoted only one work to supervision, and that was published over 80 years ago.45
Even ASCD presidents have noted the inattention to supervision. Muriel Crosby, in an address at an ASCD annual conference in 1969, charged that supervisors “are being sold short by lack of effective leadership [within ASCD].”46
Recently, Bolin and Panaritis commented on the lack of attention paid to supervision by ASCD. “Between 1944 and 1981, ASCD had published more than forty yearbooks; but only four of these were devoted to supervision.”47
Since 1981, only two other yearbooks have been devoted to supervision.48
Even the yearbook dealing with improving teaching does not mention supervision.49
Furthermore, three recent, influential reference works do not refer to the work of supervisors or the function of supervision.50
Supervision, historically, has had an identity crisis. The fields of administration and curriculum seem to have subsumed the function of supervision. Supervision as a field of study in its own right has not been recognized.51
Alfonso and Firth stated quite emphatically, “[S]upervision is subservient to the interests of either educational administration or curriculum.”52
Note Goldhammer's lucid comments: “[B]y comparison to teaching, administration, and, more recently, school counseling, useful literature on supervision is disappointingly sparse. Its authors and students have constituted an energetic, but dismayingly small, minority in the educational community.”53
Curiously, although supervision's heritage is rooted in school administration, few if any textbooks on administration address issues specific to supervision. Authors espouse theories and processes of administration, but rarely mention supervisory theory and practice.54
Further attesting to the subordination of supervision is the failure of many college and university departments of education to even mention supervision in their titles. The Department of Educational Studies, the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, the Department of Instruction, Curriculum, and Administration are just a few examples. Alfonso and Firth concurred: “[I]nstructional supervision has not been properly recognized in higher education. . . . With the exception of a handful of universities, supervision is not taken seriously in most graduate programs in education.”55
Over 20 years earlier, Goldhammer proclaimed that “supervisor education has never occupied an important place in America's colleges and graduate schools of education, nor has supervision of instruction ever emerged as a systematic professional discipline.”56
The unfavorable image of supervision and supervisors has contributed to problems in the field. A vestige of the bureaucratic legacy of faultfinding, inspectional supervision remains a serious problem and still attracts much criticism.57
This negative perception continues to make it difficult for the field of supervision to gain professional legitimacy and acknowledgment.
Despite admirable and capable efforts of COPIS, the American Educational Research Association's special interest group on instructional supervision, ASCD's network on supervision, the Journal of Curriculum and Supervision published by ASCD, and Robert Anderson's newsletter, Wingspan, published by Pedamorphosis, supervision has not occupied a prominent role in educational theory and practice. Although other scholars in the field have indicated reasons for the “paucity of serious research about supervision in education”58
(and certainly a more in-depth analysis of this situation is necessary), the fact remains that the field of supervision is moribund.
Taken as a whole, we are simply left with an ambiguous legacy. As Anderson posited, “. . . supervision has a rather undistinguished history, a variety of sometimes incompatible definitions, a very low level of popular acceptance, and many perplexing and challenging problems.”59
According to Firth, a past president of ASCD, emphasis on supervision as a field has been “. . . at best, uneven and, at worst, disjointed.”60
Without a well-defined and all-encompassing resuscitation effort that aims for consensus in purpose, definition, and vision for the future, supervision as a role and function will, at best, continue to wallow in mediocrity; remain subservient to the interests of administration, curriculum, and teaching; and in a worst case scenario, simply become inconsequential in the educational enterprise.
Constructing a History of Supervision
Recently, over a six-month period, the Journal of Curriculum and Supervision received 82 manuscripts for possible publication.61
Only two were historical inquiries, neither specifically relating to supervision.
Cognizant of this situation, researchers must be encouraged to engage in serious historical study of supervision, because much remains to be learned. To revitalize historical study of supervision, significant avenues should be considered. The following section of this article addresses questions regarding the research that remains to be done and the sorts of sources that might be available and useful.
Topics for Research
The gaps in our knowledge of public school supervision are vast. First, we need to know more about how supervision was conducted in various cities throughout the country. For example, were supervisors active in Portland, Oregon; Denver; and Boston? If so, who were these people, and what duties did they perform? How was supervision, in general, conducted in these school systems between 1900 and 1920? We need accounts of supervisors “practicing in school systems or negotiating career ladders.”62
We need accounts of such practicing supervisors as Gladys Potter, Prudence Bostwick, Chester Babcock, Muriel Crosby, Glenys G. Unruh, Elizabeth S. Randolph, Donald R. Frost, Benjamin P. Ebersole, and Lucille G. Jordan, among others. The professional contributions of these past presidents of ASCD are little acknowledged, if at all, through historical portrayal and analysis. We need studies such as Larry Cuban's extraordinary How Teachers Taught, in which he drew on a wide variety of sources, including, among others, photographs; diaries; state, city, and district reports; published books, articles, and addresses; unpublished monographs; and oral histories.63
Second, we need educational biographies of such well-known people (former school superintendents, researchers, and professors of supervision) as William H. Payne, John D. Philbrick, Andrew S. Draper, William T. Harris, Joseph M. Rice, Emerson E. White, Franklin Bobbitt, Alvin S. Barr, William H. Burton, Harold Spears, Charles H. Judd, Ruth Cunningham, Helen Heffernan, Hollis Caswell, James F. Hosic, Kimball Wiles, and Florence H. Stratemeyer, to mention only a few.64
We also would benefit enormously from historical portrayals of the professional contributions of more current prominent educators, such as Alice Miel, Robert L. Leeper, William M. Alexander, J. Galen Saylor, William Van Til, Arthur Blumberg, Thomas J. Sergiovanni, and many others.65
Another neglected area of research has been historical treatments of the practical supervisory work of individual supervisors and others concerned with supervision in schools throughout the United States and in other countries.66
Third, the story of the merger between the Department of Supervisors and Directors of Instruction and the Society for Curriculum Study, eventually leading to the establishment of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, has not been fully told.67
For example, an in-depth investigation of the strong opposition to the merger by such influential people as Helen Heffernan has not been undertaken. What was the nature and extent of the opposition, and why did the merger, in fact, take place? Furthermore, what were the consequences for supervision as a field of endeavor as a result of the merger?
Fourth, various aspects of school supervision warrant further investigation. Some topics include the origins and early development of public and private school supervision; supervisory practice in Europe, in colonial America, and during the postcolonial era; the origins and duties of special supervisors, general supervisors, principals, assistant principals,68
and assistant superintendents; scientific supervision; teachers' reactions to supervisors; rating procedures used by supervisors; supervision in the social efficiency era; and the relationship between supervision and curriculum, and supervision and administration. In addition, we need to know more about the persistence of the bureaucratic form of school organization. Bureaucracy, in varying degrees, has characterized the American public school system from the 1840s to the present. Firth and Eiken stated that “the delivery of supervision to schools is influenced by the type of bureaucratic structure in which such services must operate.”69
We need to know more about how supervision is carried out in different schools that vary in degree of bureaucratization. We also need to know how different generations of educators dealt with this bureaucratic phenomenon; what alternatives, if any, existed; and why certain people under different circumstances were able to circumvent the bureaucracy.
Fifth, our knowledge of supervision as a function would be greatly enhanced by examining supervision in various institutional settings, such as private, laboratory, and military post schools.
Sources that would provide insight into supervisory practice have not been fully tapped. Individuals concerned with historical exploration of supervision will find a number of helpful sources already available, including numerous journals, manuscripts, proceedings, and other recorded sources. Periodicals and journals that should be consulted include, for example, the American Institute of Instruction (1831–1908), American School Board Journal (1891–1949), American Teacher (1912–1949), Curriculum Journal (1931–1943), Education (1880–1948), Educational Method (1921–1943), Journal of Education (1875–1949), and School Review (1893–1949). While these periodicals are rich sources of information on school supervision, many other journals should be consulted as well, such as the Atlantic Monthly, Chicago School Journal, High School Quarterly, Nation's Schools, and Secondary Education.
A number of influential associations have published a variety of yearbooks, which also provide essential information. These associations include the Department of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (Yearbooks 1–4, 1917–1920), the National Conference on Educational Method, the National Herbart Society for the Scientific Study of Teaching, the National Society for the Study of Education, and the Society for Curriculum Study.
Other useful sources include proceedings, manuals, and journals of boards of education; state education department reports; annual reports of the U.S. Commissioner of Education; annual reports of superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, and supervisors; U.S. Bureau of Education Circulars of Information; and other miscellaneous public school reports from across the country. In addition, to explore archival and other types of correspondence pertaining to public school supervision, the following resources may serve as a worthwhile beginning: the Nicholas Murray Butler papers in the Manuscript Room at Butler Library, Columbia University; and the Teachers College Library Archives (New York City school system). Many other documents and oral histories kept at various institutions and universities should be explored.
We need to go beyond what is readily available and find additional sources that could prove helpful. O. L. Davis Jr. argued that curriculum “needs to collect abundant sources available for study . . . We need everything.”70
The time has come to accord equal attention to supervision. We need to find and collect relevant primary sources, which might include diaries of school supervisors, oral histories, surveys, letters, artifacts, rating forms, records of classroom observations, logs, personal files, other kinds of personal correspondence, and, of course, public documents. We need photographs of supervisors at work. We need to gather a host of secondary sources that include published and unpublished works. Much of the potential data on supervision is fragmented among various sources in many different locations. Hence, a central agency or locale would facilitate further historical exploration of supervision and serve as a repository of vital information about supervision.71
Since the completion of a doctoral study at Teachers College, Columbia University in 1977, not a single dissertation solely devoted to a historical examination of school supervision has been undertaken.72
Only a handful of historical accounts of supervision are available. We need more to help us understand our heritage and better focus our efforts for the future. We need to devote significant time for historical inquiry into supervision at upcoming annual meetings of, for example, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the American Educational Research Association, and the History of Education Society. Perhaps a Society for the Study of Supervision History might be in order, not unlike our curriculum counterpart.
I would also like to extend a formal invitation to students and professors to undertake further study of the history of supervision. Doctoral and even master's degree students might be encouraged to undertake historical investigations. Perhaps it would be appropriate to include more historical perspectives of supervision in graduate courses. A special request to such scholars as Tyack, Katz, Karier, Davis, Ravitch, Urban, Lagemann, Clifford, Warren, Anderson, Neville, Garman, Glickman, Bolin, and Cuban, to cite just a few, might engage them in this provocative historical venture.
Insufficient investigation into supervision history has thwarted, in part, the efforts of our field to gain the professional recognition it deserves. Instructional supervision as an ongoing and dynamic process remains an indispensable function, serving the highest ideals of schooling in our democracy. Some theorists muse that supervision may no longer be necessary.73
But educational supervision that, at its best, aims to inspire and encourage teachers to excel is as much needed today as it was in 1875, when William H. Payne published the first textbook on school supervision.74
While methods in supervision have changed numerous times since the days of Payne, its history remains regrettably unexplored.
The importance of the history of supervision is clear, and avenues for future research have been suggested. Now, mindful attention and careful work by individual scholars are required to yield the history that is possible.
For recent insights into supervisory practice, see the articles by Arthur Blumberg, Frances S. Bolin, and Thomas J. Sergiovanni in the Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 5 (Spring 1990): 236–251.
Walter Doyle and Gerald A. Ponder, “Sources for Curriculum History,” in Perspectives on Curriculum Development 1776–1976, ed. O. L. Davis Jr. (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1976), p. 247.
O. L. Davis, Jr. “Epiloque: Invitation to Curriculum History,” in Perspectives on Curriculum Development 1776–1976, ed. O. L. Davis, Jr., (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1976), pp. 257–259.
For a review of these studies see Herbert M. Kliebard, “Constructing a History of the American Curriculum,” in Handbook of Research on Curriculum, ed. Philip W. Jackson (New York: Macmillan, 1992), pp.157–184.
See, for example, Bernard Bailyn, Education in the Forming of American Society (New York: Vintage Books, 1960); Lawrence A. Cremin, The Wonderful World of Ellwood Patterson Cubberley: An Essay on the Historiography of American Education (New York: Teachers College Press, 1965); Douglas Sloan, “Historiography and the History of Education” (unpublished manuscript, 1971); Robert L. Church, “History of Education as a Field of Study,” in Encyclopedia of Education IV, ed. L. C. Deighton (New York: Macmillan, 1971), pp. 415–442; Wayne J. Urban, “Historiography,” in The Encyclopedia of Educational Research, ed. H. C. Mitzel (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1982), pp. 791–797; Michael B. Katz, Reconstructing American Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987).
See, for example, Jeffrey Glanz, “Beyond Bureaucracy: Notes on the Professionalization of Public School Supervision in the Early Twentieth Century,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 5 (Winter 1990): 150–170.
For a detailed review of historical work in supervision, see Jeffrey Glanz, “Histories, Antecedents, and Legacies,” in Handbook of Research on School Supervision, ed. Gerald R. Firth and Edward Pajak (New York: Scholastic, forthcoming).
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Curriculum Leaders: Improving Their Influence (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1976).
O. L. Davis Jr., ed., Perspectives on Curriculum Development, 1776–1976 (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1976).
Robert J. Krajewski, “Putting the `S' Back in ASCD,” Educational Leadership 33 (February 1976): 376. See also, for example, comments made by Fred Wilhelms, executive secretary of ASCD, 1968–1971: “For in all truth, the Association has seldom devoted a major proportion of its energies directly to supervision.” Fred T. Wilhelms, “A Report to the Membership” (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, January 1970): 1.
Gerald R. Firth, “ASCD and Supervision: The Later Years,” in ASCD in Retrospect, ed. William Van Til (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1986), p. 80.
Jeffrey Glanz, “Ahistoricism and School Supervision: Notes Towards a History,” Educational Leadership 35 (November 1977): 148–154; see also Jeffrey Glanz, “Supervision: A Field Without a Past?” CSA Education Review II (Fall 1990): 55–61.
E. H. Carr, What Is History? (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1961), p. 8.
Ernst Cassirer, An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1953), p. 219.
Friedrich Kummel, “Time as Succession and the Problem of Duration,” in The Voices of Time, ed. J. T. Fraser (New York: George Braziller, 1966), p. 50.
Leonard M. Marsak, The Nature of Historical Inquiry (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1970).
See, for example, O. L. Davis Jr., “Memory, Our Educational Practice, and History,” The Educational Forum 56 (1992): 375–379.
Lester D. Stephens, Probing the Past: A Guide to the Study and Teaching of History (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1974).
See, for example, I. F. Goodson, “History, Context, and Qualitative Methods in the Study of the Curriculum,” in Strategies of Educational Research: Qualitative Methods, ed. R. G. Burgess (Lewes: Falmer Press, 1985), pp. 121–152.
See, for example, W. Reid, “Curriculum Theory and Curriculum Change: What Can We Learn from History?” Journal of Curriculum Studies 18 (1986): 159–166.
Three rather good and noteworthy textbooks in supervision that adequately attend to historical overviews are Harold Spears, Improving the Supervision of Instruction (New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1953); J. M. Gwynn, Theory and Practice of Supervision (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1961); and Robert D. Krey and Peter J. Burke, A Design for Instructional Supervision (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1989).
Daniel Tanner and Laurel Tanner, Supervision in Education: Problems and Practices (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987). While Tanner and Tanner's historical approach is pervasive and quite evident, guiding principles or criteria need to be established and referred to in determining whether or not an author has engaged in historical scholarship. O. L. Davis Jr. and Gerald Ponder have, in fact, developed some interesting and, I believe, accurate and helpful formulations for evaluating curriculum history research that can be readily applied to work in supervision. The guidelines are authority, interpretation, significance, context, representativeness, perspective, and style. Applying these guidelines to inquiries in supervision history should be instructive. See O. L. Davis Jr. and others, Looking at History (Washington, DC: People for the American Way, 1986), pp. 14–15.
Thomas J. Sergiovanni and Robert J. Starratt, Supervision: A Redefinition (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993).
See, for example, Marvin Willerman, Sharon L. McNeely, and Elaine Cooper Koffman, Teachers Helping Teachers: Peer Observation and Assistance (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1991).
Susan Moore Johnson, Teachers at Work: Achieving Success in Our Schools (New York: Basic Books, 1990).
O. L. Davis Jr., “Symbol of a Shift from Status to Function: Formation of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development,” Educational Leadership 35 (May 1978).
See, for example, Helen M. Hazi, “The Teacher Evaluation-Supervision Dilemma: A Case of Entanglements and Irreconcilable Differences,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 9 (Winter 1994): 195–216; Wendy Poole, “Removing the `Super' from Supervision,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 9 (Spring 1994): 284–309; Jeffrey Glanz, “Dilemmas of Assistant Principals in Their Supervisory Role,” Journal of School Leadership 4 (September 1994): 577–590.
Daniel Tanner and Laurel Tanner, Supervision in Education: Problems and Practices (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987), p. 106.
Although proposals to resolve this dilemma have been proffered, debate continues. See, for example, Robert J. Starratt, “After Supervision,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 8 (Fall 1992): 77–86; Arthur Blumberg, “A Response to Starratt's `A Modest Proposal: Abolish Supervision,'” Wingspan: A Pedamorphosis Communique 8 (July 1992): 22–24; Jeffrey Glanz, “Improvement versus Evaluation as an Intractable Problem in School Supervision: Is a Reconciliation Possible?” (unpublished manuscript, Kean College).
See, for example, Robert H. Anderson and Karolyn J. Snyder, Clinical Supervision: Coaching for Higher Performance (Lancaster, PA: Technomic Publishing Co., 1993); Robert D. Krey and Peter J. Burke, A Design for Instructional Supervision (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1989); Daniel Tanner and Laurel Tanner, Supervision in Education: Problems and Practices (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1987); Arthur Blumberg and William Greenfield, The Effective Principal: Perspectives on School Leadership (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1986).
See, for example, G. C. Kyte, How to Supervise: A Guide to Educational Principles and Progressive Practices of Supervision (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930); Muriel Crosby, Supervision as Co-operative Action (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1957); Ben M. Harris, Supervisory Behavior in Education (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1963); Kimball Wiles and John T. Lovell, Supervision for Better Schools (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1975); Peter F. Oliva, Supervision for Today's Schools (New York: Longman, 1989).
Edward Pajak, “Change and Continuity in Supervision and Leadership,” in Challenges and Achievements of American Education: 1993 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, ed. Gordon Cawelti (Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1993): 158–186; Frances S. Bolin and Philip Panaritis, “Searching for a Common Purpose: A Perspective on the History of Supervision,” in Supervision in Transition: 1992 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, ed. Carl D. Glickman (Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1992): 30–43; Jeffrey Glanz, “Beyond Bureaucracy: Notes on the Professionalization of Public School Supervision in the Early 20th Century,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 5 (Winter 1990): 150–170; Robert H. Anderson, “The Genesis of Clinical Supervision,” in Learning About Teaching Through Clinical Supervision, ed. W. John Smyth (London: Croom Helm, 1986), pp. 5–18; Noreen B. Garman, “Reflection, The Heart of Clinical Supervision: A Modern Rationale for Professional Practice,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 2 (Fall 1986): 1–24; Arthur Blumberg, “Where We Came From: Notes on Supervision in the 1840s,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 1 (Fall 1985): 56–65; Clarence Karier, “Supervision in Historic Perspective,” in Supervision of Teaching, ed. Thomas J. Sergiovanni (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1982): 2–17.
See, for example, Henry W. Button, “A History of Supervision in the Public Schools, 1870–1950” (doctoral dissertation, Washington University, 1961); Alfred A. Arrington, “An Historical Analysis of the Development of Supervision in the Public Schools of the United States” (doctoral dissertation, George Washington University, 1972); William H. Lucio and John D. McNeil, Supervision: A Synthesis of Thought and Action (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1962); Don M. Beach and Judy Reinhartz, Supervision: Focus on Instruction (New York: Harper & Row, 1989).
A similar charge was posited in regards to the curriculum field. See J. Stephen Hazlett, “Conceptions of Curriculum History,” Curriculum Inquiry 9, no. 2 (1979): 129–135. Thanks to O. L. Davis Jr. for the lead and J. Stephen Hazlett for the fax.
See, for example, Debra J. Anderson, Robert L. Major, and Richard R. Mitchell, Teacher Supervision That Works (New York: Praeger, 1992); James Cangelosi, Evaluating Classroom Instruction (New York: Longman, 1991); Carl D. Glickman, Supervision of Instruction: A Developmental Approach (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1985); Larry W. Hughes and Gerald C. Ubben, The Elementary Principal's Handbook (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1989); Keith A. Acheson and Meredith D. Gall, Techniques in the Clinical Supervision of Teachers (New York: Longman, 1987); Edward F. DeRoche, An Administrator's Guide for Evaluating Programs and Personnel (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1987); Sir Robert James Marks, Emery Stoops, and Joyce Stoops-King, Handbook of Educational Supervision (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1985).
Thomas J. Sergiovanni, “Moral Authority and the Regeneration of Supervision,” in Supervision in Transition, ed. Carl D. Glickman (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1992).
Herbert M. Kliebard, “Constructing a History of the American Curriculum,” in Handbook of Research on Curriculum, ed. Philip W. Jackson (New York: Macmillan, 1992), p. 161.
See, for example, Herbert M. Kliebard, “The Curriculum Field in Retrospect,” in Technology and the Curriculum, ed. Paul W. F. Witt (New York: Teachers College Press, 1968), pp. 69–84. Again, the point in this context is not to assert that curriculum history has been fully accepted, for this would be inaccurate. The point is that, compared with curriculum, the situation in supervision is bleak.
Francis S. Bolin, “On Defining Supervision,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 2 (Summer 1987): 368–380; Robert D. Krey and Peter J. Burke, A Design for Instructional Supervision (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1989).
Robert J. Alfonso and Gerald R. Firth, “Supervision: Needed Research,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 5 (Winter 1990): 181–188.
Robert D. Krey and Peter J. Burke, A Design for Instructional Supervision (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1989).
See, for example, Graham Hitchcock and David Hughes, Research and the Teacher: A Qualitative Introduction to School-based Research (London: Routledge, 1991).
Ben M. Harris, “Need for Research on Instructional Supervision,” in Supervision: Emerging Profession, ed. Robert R. Leeper (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1964).
Robert Goldhammer, Clinical Supervision: Special Methods for the Supervision of Teachers (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc., 1969).
Franklin Bobbitt, “Some General Principles of Management Applied to the Problems of City School Systems,” in The Supervision of City Schools, Part I, 12th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1913).
Muriel Crosby, “The New Supervisor: Caring, Coping, Becoming” (address presented at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development annual conference, Chicago, March 1969), in Changing Supervision for Changing Times, ed. Robert R. Leeper (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1969), p. 62. Nearly 20 years later, Gerald R. Firth, ASCD president 1986–87, pledged that “supervision will receive emphasis during my presidency . . .” He also stated that the lack of attention to supervision was “reflected in a low percentage of supervisor members and supervision activities—programs, publications, and projects.” Gerald R. Firth, “ASCD and Supervision: The Later Years,” in ASCD in Retrospect, ed. William Van Til (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1986), p. 81.
Francis Bolin and Philip Panaritis, “Searching for a Common Purpose: A Perspective on the History of Supervision,” in Supervision in Transition: 1992 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, ed. Carl D. Glickman (Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), p. 40.
Thomas J. Sergiovanni, ed., Supervision of Teaching (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1982), and Carl D. Glickman, ed., Supervision in Transition: 1992 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1992).
Karen K. Zumalt, ed., Improving Teaching (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1986).
Marvin C. Alkin, Encyclopedia of Educational Research (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992); Philip W. Jackson, ed., Handbook of Research on Curriculum (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991); Norman J. Boyan, ed., Handbook of Research on Educational Administration (New York: Longman, 1988).
Jeffrey Glanz, Bureaucracy and Professionalism: The Evolution of Public School Supervision (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1991).
Robert J. Alfonso and Gerald R. Firth, “Supervision: Needed Research,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 5 (Winter 1990): 181–188.
Robert Goldhammer, Clinical Supervision: Special Methods for the Supervision of Teachers (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc., 1969).
See, for example, Norman J. Boyan, ed., Handbook of Research on Educational Administration (New York: Longman, 1988), and Roald F. Campbell, Thomas Fleming, L. Jackson Newell, and John W. Bennion, A History of Thought and Practice in Educational Administration (New York: Teachers College Press, 1987).
Robert J. Alfonso and Gerald R. Firth, “Supervision: Needed Research,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 5 (Winter 1990): 181–188.
Robert Goldhammer, Clinical Supervision: Special Methods for the Supervision of Teachers (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc., 1969), p. viii.
See, for example, J. Rooney, “Teacher Evaluation: No More `Super' Vision,” Educational Leadership 51 (October 1993): 43–44; S. Black, “How Teachers Are Reshaping Evaluation Procedures,” Educational Leadership 51 (October 1993): 38–42; Robert J. Starratt, “After Supervision,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 8 (Fall 1993): 77–86; Cynthia J. Norris, “Supervising with Style,” Theory into Practice 30 (1991): 128–133; Joseph J. Blase and P. C. Kirby, Bringing Out the Best in Teachers: What Effective Principals Do (Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press, 1992); Joseph J. Blase, “Some Negative Effects of Principals' Control-Oriented and Protective Political Behavior,” American Educational Research Journal 27 (Winter 1990): 727–753; Jeffrey Glanz, “The Snoopervisor,” Learning 89 (November/December 1989): 36–37; Larry Cuban, How Teachers Taught: Constancy and Change in American Classrooms, 1890–1980 (New York: Longman, 1984); Arthur Blumberg, Supervisors and Teachers: A Private Cold War, 2nd ed. (Berkeley, CA: McCutchan, 1980); William H. Burton and Leo J. Brueckner, Supervision: A Social Process (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1955); J. Sherrod, “Six Ways to Avoid a Supervisor,” Educational Leadership (November 1952): 132–133; T. Murray and H. M. Bradley, “Teachers Don't Fear Supervision When They Help to Define It,” Nation's Schools 46 (August 1950): 37–38; J. R. Shannon, “Teachers' Attitudes Toward Supervision,” Educational Method 16 (October 1936): 9–14.
Robert J. Alfonso and Gerald R. Firth, “Supervision: Needed Research,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 5 (Winter 1990): 181–188; Jack Frymier, “ASCD and Research,” in ASCD in Retrospect, ed. William Van Til (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1986).
Robert H. Anderson, “Creating a Future for Supervision,” in Supervision of Teaching, ed. Thomas J. Sergiovanni (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1982), p. 181.
Gerald R. Firth, “ASCD and Supervision: The Later Years,” in ASCD in Retrospect, ed. William Van Til (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1986), p. 81.
O. L. Davis Jr. (written communique to editorial board members of the Journal of Supervision and Curriculum Development, October 1993).
Robert Lowe, “Review of Bureaucracy and Professionalism,” History of Education Quarterly 32 (Fall 1992): 397.
Larry Cuban, How Teachers Taught: Constancy and Change in American Classrooms, 1890–1980 (New York: Longman, 1984).
See, for example, Kathleen Weiler, “Women and Rural School Reform: California, 1900–1940,” History of Education Quarterly 34 (Spring 1994): 25–47, for a discussion of Heffernan's involvement in rural school reform in the 1920s and 1930s; Lynn Matthew Burlbaw, “Hollis Leland Caswell's Contributions to the Development of the Curriculum Field” (doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1989); Mary Louise Seguel, The Curriculum Field: Its Formative Years (New York: Teachers College Press, 1966); Jesse Merrell Hansen, “Kimball Wiles' Contributions to Curriculum and Instruction: An Analysis Within an Historical Context” (doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1971).
By mentioning only a few prominent educators concerned with school supervision, contributions of many others are overlooked. This tentative list serves only as an example.
See, for example, O. L. Davis Jr., “Historical Inquiry: Telling Real Stories,” in Edmund C. Short, ed., Forms of Curriculum Inquiry (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991): 77–87; O. L. Davis Jr., “To Think and to Teach with Fresh Insights: The Inspectorial Work of J. C. Hill in East London Schools, 1931–1953” (paper presented at the Conference of the International Study Association for Teacher Thinking, Gothenburg, Sweden, August 1993).
See, for example, Galen Saylor, “The Founding of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development” (mimeographed document, 1976); O. L. Davis Jr., “Symbol of a Shift from Status to Function: Formation of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development,” Educational Leadership 35 (May 1978): 609–614; William Van Til, ed., ASCD in Retrospect (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1986); Jeffrey Glanz, “Curriculum Development and Supervision: Antecedents for Collaboration and Future Possibilities,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 7 (Spring 1992): 226–244.
Jeffrey Glanz, “The Origins of the Assistant Principalship,” NASSP Bulletin (in press).
Gerald R. Firth and Keith P. Eiken, “Impact of the Schools' Bureaucratic Structure on Supervision,” in Supervision of Teaching, ed. Thomas J. Sergiovanni (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1982), p. 169.
O. L. Davis Jr., “Epilogue: Invitation to Curriculum History,” in Perspectives on Curriculum Development, 1776–1976, ed. O. L. Davis Jr. (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1976), pp. 257–259.
I am aware that Robert H. Anderson has attempted to collect sources at the University of South Florida in the Pedamorphosis Leadership Library. This library, however, has a “shortage of materials published prior to 1977.” Additional efforts must be made to expand the contents of this library, especially to include works involving school supervision. See Wingspan 7 (August 1991): 2. Wingspan is a journal published by Pedamorphosis, Inc., devoted to works related to research and practice of educational leadership.
Jeffrey Glanz, “Bureaucracy and Professionalism: An Historical Interpretation of Public School Supervision in the United States, 1875–1937” (doctoral dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1977). Selected dissertations, however, have taken a historically oriented approach. See, for example, John H. Fitzgerald, “Management Practices: A Case Study of District Level Supervisors and Directors of Curriculum and Instruction in One School District” (doctoral dissertation, University of South Florida, 1991).
Robert J. Starratt, “After Supervision,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 8 (Fall 1992): 77–86; Thomas J. Sergiovanni, “Moral Authority and the Regeneration of Supervision,” in Supervision in Transition, ed. Carl D. Glickman (Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1992).
William H. Payne, Chapters on School Supervision (New York: Wilson, Hinkle, 1875).
Author's Note: I would like to acknowledge the competent reviewers of this article, whose insightful comments helped me clarify and expand several critical ideas. Special thanks to colleague and friend Helen Hazi, Associate Professor of Education Administration at West Virginia University, for prompting an explication of what it means to be historical. Thanks to Tom Banit, colleague at Kean College, for his constructive criticisms. Finally, thanks to O. L. Davis Jr., for his encouragement, patience, and editorial mastery. Of course, any inaccuracies are the sole responsibility of the author.
Jeffrey Glanz is Assistant Professor, Department of Instruction, Curriculum, and Administration, Kean College, Union, NJ 07083.