Supervising the Curriculum

Teachers and Materials

Tom Wolff

Focus of Supervision

The focus must be on defining, establishing and constantly reinforcing a “Growth Mindset” (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck) in yourself as a supervisor, within the teachers and most importantly the students.

  • Focus must be on the written curriculum, taught curriculum and the supported curriculum
  • Authentic leadership is often the key to developing a successful supervision program. The leaders must be true leaders with vision.
  • The role of curriculum leaders is shaping what is taught and tested, but also breaking the “fixed mindset” pattern of all involved.

Carol Dweck 'Mindset - the new psychology of success' at Happiness & Its Causes 2013

Approaches to Curriculum Supervision

1. Farrell’s “Backward Model”

All learning begins in the text

  • Teachers job is to engage and activate prior knowledge
  • Multiple close reading of texts should be routine
  • Independent mastery of text is critical
  • Writing is thinking/Teachers should write as much as the students


2. Hunter’s Essential Elements of Good Lesson Design: “Forward Model”

Oral instruction followed by permanent Scaffolding-Front-loading prior knowledge.

  • The “Good Lesson” Elements
  • Anticipatory Set
  • Objective & Purpose
  • Input
  • Modeling-Seeing several examples
  • Guided Practice
  • Independent Practice


3. Glickman’s Developmental Supervision

Emphasis on the development of teacher thought; help teachers increase their conceptual level of development.


4. Costa and Garmston’s Cognitive Coaching

In this model, the supervisor’s goals are to create and manage a trusting relationship, to facilitate teacher learning by restructuring teacher thinking, and to develop teacher autonomy.

  • Crush the fixed mindset and internalize the growth mindset
  • Exclusive attention on direct assistance/ clinical supervision
  • Teacher thought-oriented approach

The Vital Role of Curriculum Supervisor

Bottom line: If teachers are have instilled a growth mindset they can figure everything else out with guidance and support.


  • Staff Development must engage (Ted talk)
  • Observations should be like coaching not evaluating. Administrators need to have tact and no fear.

  • Teachers need fast immediate effective feedback; Administrators need time to provide such feedback.
  • Individual development (Growth Mindset) is vital to keep administrators sharing and exchanging growth and knowledge.
  • How to motivate? Inspire, Hard-work, passion
  • Teacher as entrepreneur

How to Find Your Students' Dinosaur

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