In many professional fields there is an aspect of supervision. Whether it is a chief resident overseeing new medical students or a principal observing new teachers, there is an element of educational supervision. There are several types of educational supervision, and in many cases, these can be applied in a variety of professional settings.

Often times, teachers or other professionals may earn additional certification or licensure to elevate them to the supervisory role. For example, a teacher may take additional classes to become a principal or child welfare supervisor. In many cases this level of supervision requires a master’s degree or beyond.

Types of Educational Supervision

As a student or any novices of a field, they will encounter episodes of supervision. Depending on the field of study or work, supervisors may utilize a variety of supervision types. The types of educational supervision may vary from a highly structured approach, to a more informal, supportive role.

The types of supervision in educational administration that is used often depends on the type of work being supervised, and the amount of supervision that is needed. Also, the level of experience of the one being supervised will also play a part in the type of supervision of educational inspection that is used. You can list any five types of educational supervision.

5 Types of Educational Supervision

Corrective Type – This type of supervision seeks out faults or problems and brings these to the attention of the authorities. Because of the negative focus, this type of supervision typically does not serve a positive function.

Preventative Type – This type of supervision looks forward and helps the supervisee anticipate upcoming situations and plan accordingly.

Creative Type – This type of educational supervision is often peer-to-peer and is highly encouraging. This type supports experimenting and trying things in new and innovative ways.

Training Type – This type of educational supervision focuses on specific techniques and ways to improve them. It often involves practice and training on specific skills.

Laissez-Faire Type – This is the least helpful form of educational supervision because there is no focus on improvement, feedback or guidance. Practitioners are observed but essentially left to do whatever they prefer.

Types of Educational Supervision and Inspection

In educational supervision, supervisors may take on a variety of roles:

  • Accountability
  • Monitoring
  • Clinical
  • Advisor
  • Critical Friend
  • Mentor

Accountability – In this type of supervision, the person doing the supervising takes a traditional role as an inspector. There is often a requirement for exact accountability for all requirements.

Monitoring – In this type of supervision, the supervisor watches over the person, but it’s not a strict inspector-type of a role. Monitoring supervision checks in on the person’s progress and is available for feedback and often helps come up with solutions or alternatives.

Clinical – In a clinical setting, both the supervisor and the person being supervised, are in direct contact with each other. This is usually done in a face-to-face setting while certain tasks are being performed. A clinical setting for education supervision may be during student teaching, medical or dental residency.

Advisor – As an advisory, the people in the supervisory role are usually not working at the same level of the person they are supervising. There is limited face-to-face work. In this capacity, the advisor is limited to giving advice or feedback.

Critical Friend – The role of the critical friend is a more casual role and often both the supervisor and the person being supervised can be on similar levels. A critical friend serves as support person offering encouragement and guidance. However, the person in this role also provides constructive feedback.

Mentor – The mentor as a supervisory role is usually a person with a higher rank than the person they are supervising. In this case, the person serving as a supervisor acts as a role model for those they are supervising. The mentor uses demonstrations and modeling to show what is expected.

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About the Author

Melanie Forstall has a doctorate in education and has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. She has been a teacher, grant writer, program director, and higher education instructor. She is a freelance writer specializing in education, and education related content. She writes for We Are Teachers, School Leaders Now, Classroom, Pocket Sense, local parenting magazines, and other professional academic outlets. Additionally, she has co-authored book chapters specializing in providing services for students with disabilities.