Last year (Happy New Year everyone), I started a series of articles about the different subjects that should be covered during a supervision, you can find the previous articles here and here. Information about what should be included in a supervision doesn’t seem to be forthcoming from any of the usual sources, and that means settings are all doing it a bit differently. We thought it was about time to get some alignment.
This time, I will be discussing why I think peer observations (or the concept at least) should be part of a supervision. This is a topic I am very familiar with as I deliver a whole course about it (as well as writing this product!). But whether you are using our method, or one of your own devising, these are my thoughts on its inclusion…
Why should this be in Supervisions?
Peer observations are a fantastic development tool that are, I believe at least, under used in Early Years. They give an excellent opportunity to develop both strengths and weaknesses within your staff team with little input from outside the setting. If you like the idea of taking all the best bits of each staff member and then smooshing them all together to make a Perfect Practitioner, then you might just like the idea of sharing these skills via peer observation.
Supervisions give an excellent opportunity to work out which staff member should be observing which to get the most benefit. The feedback from the observation can then be the subject of the following supervision too, leading to some interesting and hopefully effective CPD.
What should be discussed?
When thinking about peer observations, we have to have a clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the whole staff team. Experienced managers with a stable team should have a good idea of what strengths and weaknesses they have around the setting, but otherwise you’re going to want to have some sort of analysis for your team to hand.
Once you know where your strengths and weaknesses are, it just a case of creating some pairings that will move everyone forward – this is what will be discussed in supervisions in my eyes. Then the practitioner can aim to get in some peer observations (and therefore development) before their next supervision. During the follow-up supervision be sure have the practitioner tell you what they have changed as a consequence of the observation(s); don’t just expect them to have got better and move on to the next thing!
Let me know in the comments what you think I should be including in supervisions and writing about in the coming weeks. Don’t forget to look out for my other ideas for what to include in supervisions and if you are stuck on Peer Observations, then don’t be afraid to contact us if you would like some support.
About the author: Matt Stanford