does a policy of short, frequent visits by administrators
affect student achievement?
method of teacher supervision has been showing up
recently in public school systems. It is not supplanting
the traditional method required by state policy
but supplementing it. The new method involves frequent
short visits to classrooms by a supervisor who looks
for patterns in the teaching methods being applied.
on the work of W. Edward Deming in the 1950s, one
of the objectives of this method of supervision
is to reduce the apprehension occurring during regularly
scheduled observations for evaluative purposes.
As in Deming’s industrial model, improved “production”
is the main goal of supervision. In the case of
education, student progress is the “product” and
the goal of the supervision is to improve instruction.
With that improvement will come improvement in student
J. Downey has developed the Three-Minute Walkthrough
method of supervision. It is designed to give a
clearer picture of what is going on in school classrooms
than is attainable through isolated observations.
Supervisors make frequent short visits to identify
patterns in the management or instruction in each
classroom. After several visits, the supervisor
opens a dialogue with the teacher to discuss the
methods used. The discussions are to be nonthreatening
and to assist the teacher in professional development.
of my research was to find out how the application
of these methods actually affects the teachers and
students in the high school where I teach. I surveyed
staff members and students to learn their reactions
to the first year of short visits by the curriculum
results indicated that neither teachers nor students
found the visits to be particularly helpful. The
visits without feedback left teachers waiting for
some response to what they were doing in their classrooms.
The presence of a supervisor was sometimes disruptive
to the classes, with special education students
most affected. Teachers of math, English, social
studies, and science received more visits. Arts,
health, and physical education teachers did not
receive any visits at all.
should modify current practices to establish better
communication between supervisor and teachers.
should develop a more effective dialogue in a
nonthreatening manner between supervisor and teachers
to enhance professional development.
should give equal attention to teachers in all
subject areas so that teachers in noncore subjects
feel as if they are a valuable members of the