Instructional supervision and the role of high school department chairs
Kruskamp, William H.
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The study examined the perspectives of three high school department chairs and their work at providing instructional supervision to the teachers with whom they work. The study sought to understand the perspectives about supervision of the high school department chairs in three subject areas - math, science, and social studies - all considered high-stakes areas. Purposeful sampling was used to select three high school department chairs from one high school in northeast Georgia. Data were collected in semi-structured face-to- face interviews and analyzed using the constant comparative method. Data from each case were analyzed separately and then across cases in which three common propositions emerged: 1) High school department chairs experienced role conflict and ambiguity relative to providing instructional supervision, 2) The meaning of instructional supervision for the department chairs was intuitive and reflected differentiated approaches, and 3) Constraints, namely time and lack of emphasis, created obstacles for the department chairs. Findings of this study indicate that high school department chairs are unaware of their job description, are not given support to practice instructional supervision, and experience both role conflict and ambiguity in the course of completing the work of the department chair positio n. One implication of this study is that department chairs "negotiate" their roles relative to instructional supervision and have an "intuitive" sense of instructional supervisory practices.