Chapter : 7 Directive Control Behaviors

Chapter 7 Directive Control Behaviors


Q. Assume you have recently attended a seminar at which a visiting professor argued against instructional supervisors using the directive control approach with any teacher. The professor proposed that the supervisor should play the role of a helper, not attempt to control a teacher's behaviors. The speaker argued that successful change cannot be brought about unless the teacher perceives the need for change and has had a part in deciding how to bring about the needed change. He concluded that a directive control supervisory approach will only alienate teachers and make supervisors unwelcome in many classrooms. You have been asked to reply to the professor's argument at an upcoming seminar. What position will you take regarding the use of directive control supervision? What arguments will you use to support your position?


The professors view is that the directive control approach should not be used by the supervisor on any of the teachers under any circumstance. In contrast, I am not totally against the application of this method by any of the lecturer. This is because some teachers can only work effectively under these principles and also some situations demand their use. However, lecturers would become better professionals if the supervisor shifts to a better method like the directive informational approach, which encourages responsibility on the teachers part. I will give a few reasons why I do not totally agree with the professor.

Reasons for differing with the professor

The first cause is that there are some teachers who lack initiative, innovation and motivation. This does not apply to teachers alone but even to other professionals as well. I mean that despite all the training and good salary, some of the lecturers will always need to be reminded to do their jobs. Students have always been asked to evaluate their teachers. Some have been characterized as lazy, others as lacking proper teaching skills and knowledge yet others as poor planners, inconsistence in attendance and biased while grading students. Because of this reason, some have even had their careers ended. I agree with the professor that using directive control method is just like doing the work of the teacher. I also concur with him that the supervisor is only supposed to play the role of a helper. Nevertheless there are some exceptions like the one I have mentioned.

When a teacher is constantly accused of missing classes, the supervisor needs to summon him/her to a conference. During it the teacher needs to understand that there is a problem which the supervisor has noticed. A specific strength about the directive control method is that the teachers input is required before the supervisor gives the directive (Glickman, Gordon & Ross-Gordon, 2010). This is because unknown to the supervisor, some teachers may have extreme difficulties in commuting from their homes to the school. This may be attributed to insecurity or traffic jams or even bad weather conditions. In such a case the teachers input will help the supervisor in creating a solution that will not punish or humiliate him/her (Glickman, Gordon & Ross-Gordon, 2010). However if the reason for poor class attendance is not good enough, then the supervisor will issue a directive that must be followed irrespective of the teachers reaction.

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Every institution has documents and rules governing the behavior of students and teachers as well. Those who follow the rules do not need supervisors to guide them. The professor says that we should not have supervisors making decisions on behalf of any of the teachers but we should help them. I would say that if possible, we should not have supervisors making decisions on behalf of any of the lecturer. Some teachers will not even provide an input,

thus the supervisor will be left with no option but make decision independently. Secondly some situations will need the direct intervention of a supervisor. These are the emergency situations where one acts and asks questions later. For instance, we have seen the case of the principal who quickly removed cardboards partitioning classrooms before the school was badly portrayed by the media (Glickman, Gordon & Ross-Gordon, 2010).

This was an emergency situation and the principal as the supervisor had to act as quickly as possible. Although the input of her colleagues was important in solving the issue, the urgent nature of the situation did not allow. In any case the media reports would not portray her in good light as she is the head of the institution. Later the principal would convene a conference and together they would come up with a decision of using fireproof cardboards instead. Directive control in this situation saved the supervisor who is directly responsible for the welfare of the institution. The professor says that using the directive control will alienate teachers and make the supervisor unwelcome in many classrooms. I would say that if the application of this approach will bring about this consequence, it should be avoided at all costs. This is because the directive control approach should be taken positively and should not make the supervisor appear as an adversary. However some of them can create this problem because of the way they use it. Asking for the teachers input and understanding the explanation given is very important. It is not professional to judge the teacher based on other experiences unrelated to the subject as this would unfortunately create a decision based on presuppositions. It is not also good for a supervisor to get personal when using this approach on a teacher (Glickman, Gordon & Ross-Gordon, 2010). This would render it ineffective or create a poor work relationship between both parties.


Generally, it is recommended that supervisors should use the directive control supervisory approach as the last option. The professors argument is weak because it totally puts this approach out of the picture. What I have been saying in the paper is that there are exceptions that necessitate the use of the directive control supervisory approach. The first one is the situation where the teacher does not perform as expected, lacks initiative and does not seem to care. The other circumstance is the case of an emergency whereby the supervisor acts like a military captain. I agree with the professor that this approach may be perceived as manipulation and may not give room for the teachers professional growth. I also believe it may result in little progress as only one person literally runs the school. Nevertheless, we should remember that two heads are better than one.

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