Educational Supervision

Educational Supervision. Service of aid and assistance to the educator, aimed at achieving the improvement of the result of the teaching-learning process, which concerns all the activities and all the people who participate in the educational process and which is carried out through cooperative work. dynamic view, supervision should be understood as the efforts carried out by the school in order to lead teachers and others who are responsible for the development and conduct of the educational process to exercise leadership that tends to improve it .


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  • 1 Origin and historical development
  • 2 Object
  • 3 School inspection in Cuba
  • 4 Role of Supervision
    • 1 Control
    • 2 Advice
    • 3 Evaluation
  • 5 Educational Supervision in the Modern World
  • 6 Creative Supervision
  • 7 The supervisor
  • 8 Sources

Origin and historical development

The origins of supervision appear in the earliest models of educational organizations of old. Thus it is said that Chinese schools had state officials appointed to monitor teacher performance. It was also the same in India , Egypt and Greece . Closer in time points to Roman censors, responsible for ensuring the smooth running of schools.

The structures of the Roman school disappeared at the end of the 5th century and after the centuries of lethargy that followed the decomposition of the slave regime in Europe , it is the Church that begins to found schools under its patronage. Schools that served in almost all, to train the clergy. It is logical that the bishops, responsible for the moral and intellectual level of their future collaborators, were concerned with ensuring the teaching they received and establishing their control.

Supervision in modern school systems has been a constant concern in the field of educational policy and administration, however it is little studied monographically. In this sense, there is an urgent need for a historical consultation on the origin and perspective of the theory and practice of Supervision, its progress and achievements, and how it develops in the different educational systems. It is obvious that the construction of the pedagogical history of schooling and society cannot be understood without analyzing the social function of supervision.


The field of supervision is the school system, with which formalized relationships are established for its control, orientation, guidance and evaluation. Supervision not only strives to know the school system but also to program how to transform and perfect it.

Supervision is inserted in the school system at the service of that final cause, promoting and directing efforts towards it. Supervision, therefore, directly affects the quality of education, as it is now recognized, a quality factor.

Supervision is the guarantor of the functioning of the school system and is in charge of its monitoring, orientation and evaluation and, ultimately, to report if the needs have been sufficiently met, if the rules have been adjusted to the needs and if the expected results that justify the resources and means put at your service.

Supervision studies education as a social phenomenon, which is achieved fundamentally in the school system. Consequently, supervision cannot abstract from the political philosophy that determines the actions of the government, just as it cannot be closed to the culture that the educational system has to transmit and from which it is, to some extent, a source. Between culture and politics, supervision is inserted in its time and its balanced concurrence makes sense of its functions.

School inspection in Cuba

Among the various measures requested in a report submitted by Fr. Manuel de Quesada to the Economic Society in 1801 , the creation of inspectors or curators is requested for the best observance of the legal precepts related to teaching, a position that the actual organization document itself of the Society established.

Later, when the Education Section of the Economic Society was created in 1816 , inspectors were appointed, whose main powers were to: “watch over the morality, application and cleanliness of the youth that the schools represented, judiciously warning teachers the defects they notice; Very gently reprimand them for omissions or faults; visit the establishments once a month, and whenever they see fit. ” In Havana, these positions were carried out by the members of the Education Section, which raised the corresponding proposals for the Captain General to appoint the field inspectors.

Thus the inspection continued until in 1846 the public instruction plan was put into effect and the attributions of the Economic Society in teaching ceased. The Studies Inspectorate created by the Government then assumed such powers and provincial and local commissions in charge of the inspection were established.

In the first, the Local Boards are authorized to designate one of their members as Inspector of Public and Private Schools of the Term, establishing the direct inspection of teaching, although in truth these officials never visited schools.

In the second, the Local Boards were reorganized and the Provincials were established, creating the position of Provincial Inspector, with the duty to visit the existing schools and promote the organization of others in the towns that lacked them. The table is completed with the general inspection by the speaker speakers of the Superior Board of Public Instruction. The most complete abandonment, however, characterizes that period of school inspection in Cuba , since only by rare exception was any other Inspector of Local Boards concerned with fulfilling his duties.

Law School the 18 of July of 1909 , that its reforms established the transformation of former superintendents in districts inspectors, to which university studies are required in Teaching Methodology, Educational Psychology, School Hygiene and History of Pedagogy. This own law establishes as a requirement “having exercised for at least five years the position of teacher in the nation’s public schools.”

With some modifications, the inspection work in the country remained on these bases until the triumph of the Revolution in January 1959 , where there were substantial changes. Therefore, the inspection in Cuba has gone through four well-defined periods: First, the colonial period, which has two different moments, the initial one spanning from its origins in the early 19th century and encompassing all the time it was in charge of the Society. Económica de Amigos del País, until 1846 and Centralization ( 1846 1898 ), from when the duties of the Economic Society ceased until the beginning of the North American intervention. Second, the intervention (1898- 1902), which includes the time of government of the United States in Cuba. Third, the republican period, from 1902 to 1959. Fourth, the revolutionary period, from 1959 to date. Each one of these periods can in turn be dismantled in different stages, which within each one of them have particular characteristics.

Oversight Function

The supervisory function must guarantee, enrich and improve the operation of the school system, being in charge of its monitoring, orientation and evaluation. These activities condition the basic functions of supervision; control, evaluation, advice. The main characteristics of these functions are:


Control is the basic and essential function of supervision, without control you cannot pass to the other functions. Generally it is not received with pleasure, but despite its unpopular character it is inevitable as a professional exercise. Control can be repudiated in the name of a utopian desire for freedom, carried to its ultimate consequences and equally repudiated by those who do not wish to be disturbed in the exercise of their teaching work.

A modern state cannot renounce the control function, least of all in the educational sector. The control function aims to translate the activities of the organization into the expected results and, at the same time, for this to be so, control must be conceived not only as a finding of facts or a judgment on what is happening , but as a way of influencing the behavior of these members of the organization, because otherwise the simple observation would not make the members behave according to objectives to achieve results.

What any control system does, fundamentally, is collect, store, analyze, synthesize and transmit relevant information about the context, the process and the product of the general system served, in this case, by the educational system. Therefore, control requires, in principle, goals that guide all the activity and conduct of the organization. Finally, control involves a comparison of the organization’s achievements with these standards and a means to implement the corrective procedures of the achievements, when they depart from the goals.

Therefore, the control system could be equated with a set or system of rules and the supervision of their compliance. Naturally, rules are identified with acceptable standards of conduct within the organization. Teachers, principals, students, in short, the entire system must behave in a certain way, specified in the rules. But in any case, it must be said that control really is about verifying if the quantity and quality of results and processes or operations is correct.

The function of the control would be to check the performance of the system and its suitability for the objectives. Consequently, its efficiency and effectiveness would be fundamentally controlled. But supervision, education being such a peculiar reality, has never been merely an element of control. It has always had a function of helping the teacher, advising the system that, in some way, was considered implicit in the concept of control itself. However, the basic function of supervision has continued to be performance control, to then take the necessary measures in order to avoid deviations from the objectives.


The advisory, guidance and information function works together and cannot be separated from control. On the basis of the diagnosis that determines the control, the inspectors, as Antonio Ballesteros points out, must become “advisers and counselors for teachers, dominating the pedagogical function of the prosecutor in their work and must turn inspection into an active instrument of school reform ”

This function entails the proposal of concurrent actions to improve the quality of teaching, it is an element that facilitates educational change, since it must be conceived as a process of dynamic training to facilitate the development of their professional competence by teachers.

The advisory supervisor helps staff achieve their objectives, seeks cohesion and unity by contributing their effort and the necessary resources for the collective benefit, for which they must be duly and permanently informed, whether through official channels. or on their own initiative.

For Wiles, supervisors in guiding roles: “help establish exchanges of thought and opinions, help people learn to listen to each other; they relate to those who have similar problems or request the cooperation of those who can provide it… They listen to the discussions of the problems that teachers present and suggest some recommendations to help solve them.


Evaluation is a concurrent function for the inspection service since it is present in all its activities. In fact, in any visit there is an appreciation of the operation of the center, the cloister and the teachers in particular, although the objective that motivated it is not an evaluator.

Evaluation is part of the teaching-learning process, it is a systematic process aimed at obtaining information that allows judging any aspect of educational reality, as a prior basis for decision-making.

The principle on which this action is based is that the school appears, increasingly, as the base cell of the school system; the place where the conditions of success of the educational act are concentrated, hence it is essential to have the appropriate means to evaluate its operation and results, to know the quality of teaching and academic results, the environment and school life , direction and management, adaptation to the economic and socio-cultural environment.

It is clear that the center is a whole, an operating unit. Its evaluation must therefore be systematic and must include, first of all, the disciplinary dimension, which is the very function of the school.

Educational Supervision in Today’s World

The world at the gates of the third millennium presents a complex situation characterized, first of all, by the changes in the political order that have taken place after the collapse of the European model of socialism. Together with this phenomenon, the accelerated advance of science and its rapid conversion into a direct productive force, the new patterns of production and organization of work, and the globalization of economies, pose new challenges for education.

In countless academic and political conferences and forums, of regional and global scope developed in this decade, the important role that education has to play in the face of these challenges and the need for change and transformation that different educational systems must face has been reflected.

The presence of these phenomena, along with others that also characterize this process of change, has a decisive influence on educational supervision as a transcendent process of the functioning of educational systems. Brave Sandó 1998 .

”The assumption of different models of centralization-decentralization of educational systems has a direct effect on the organizational model of supervision. Depending on this, the established supervision models consolidate or evolve in or towards one of the classic types: centralized, partially centralized or decentralized ”

For whatever the established model, the new times lead fundamentally, as a necessity, to:

  1. Reconceptualize the content of traditional supervisory functions and assess the emergence of others.
  2. Change supervision methods and styles.

The approach of reconceptualizing the content of the functions is related, among others, to the evaluation of the quality of education, considered today internationally as one of the basic priorities for educational systems.

The implementation of mechanisms for evaluating the quality of education cannot be seen outside the practice of educational supervision, since supervision always corresponded to the function of offering evaluative criteria on the quality of system management. Therefore, the evaluation function within supervision is increased and this must be part of the mechanisms for permanent monitoring of the quality of education. In some countries mechanisms are already inserted into supervisory practice to contribute to evaluating the quality of the system.

These mechanisms are sometimes external or tend to strengthen internal evaluation in other cases. The evaluation function acquires in these new circumstances a strategic dimension.

In parallel with this evolution of the basic functions of supervision, the appearance of new functions is also proposed, among which the mediation function is of great importance.

This function, which arises from the complexity that characterizes educational systems and their institutions, allows agreements and consensuses to be conducted between the actors of the system in a descending flow (channeling or transfer of educational policy) or ascending flow (communication to higher levels on the aspects , needs, desires of the institutions and educational levels to feed back decision-making).

The changes that educational systems are undergoing today in the face of new contemporary demands also have a significant influence on the need to use new methods and means and therefore new styles of supervision. Although visits remain “the essential means or procedure for supervision to fulfill its functions” (Soler Fiérrez 1995 ), they must assume in their conception and implementation the content of a new, more participatory and democratic style of supervision.

The contemporary style of supervision corresponds to the last phase of the historical evolution of this inherent function of education and its practice: creative supervision.

Creative Supervision

Supervision today is much broader and more extensive than before, this is fundamentally due to the development of the very concept and nature of education, its relationship with the individual and society and the scientific movement that is generated within it. Supervision is increasingly objective and experimental in its methods and increasingly becomes a cooperative and cooperative enterprise.

While supervision fulfilled only what had been its historic mission: control, there was no talk of identity crisis. However, with the development of the teaching process and the school itself and the expansion of supervisory functions, the expectations of the supervisory role may seem ambiguous and sometimes conflict. This is evident when asked: control-help-guide-evaluate.

Supervision, without abandoning any of its functions, must become a quality factor, go beyond the phase of supervisory supervision and even of the so-called constructive or democratic supervision and reach the phase of creative supervision, which emphasizes the development of creative talent of the teacher, focuses its concern on the stimulation and promotion of the potential of educators while continuing to control and evaluate educational activity. It can be said that almost all educational systems today have managed to erase, at least in theory, the exclusively supervisory phase of supervision. Very few, however, have managed to institute creative oversight. The vast majority are oriented within the concept of constructive supervision.

Creative supervision is based on the modern theories provided by Management Science and is a key element in the search for educational quality.

The supervisor

The supervisor is above all a teacher, an educator whose mission is to fulfill supervisory functions, emphasizing that of being a counselor and collaborator of his colleagues, teachers and professors. You must be responsible for a more complete training, a broader and more updated information, a clearer and more concrete notion of the permanent objectives of education, a clear and flexible concept of the programs and competence in pedagogical techniques. On the other hand, the supervisor is in charge of an educational policy, he must constantly evaluate the process, harmonize trends, unify criteria without standardizing performance, and establish a convergence of efforts between the teaching staff, Ministry technicians, and the other educational authorities.

In reality, it should be the best factor of synthesis and intercommunication between orientation, the aspirations of a community, the idealism of the teaching staff and the constant aspects of pedagogical research. He is at the same time an inspector, an educator, an entertainer, a researcher and a promoter. To respond to his broad social and educational responsibilities, the supervisor must possess: sensitivity, analytical skills, communication skills, command of the curriculum and teaching, good human relations and social responsibility. However, the practical dilemma of supervision is its legitimacy, and supervisors cannot assume these basic, social and teaching responsibilities without a high degree of training and personal and professional performance.


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