An exploratory field experiment to test observational learning theory with supervisors and teachers of mathematics

Gerald Harvey Elgarten, Fordham University

Abstract

The major purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of using observational learning (modeling) in the supervisory process. In particular, it was expected that teachers' would implement a significantly greater number of supervisory suggestions if the supervisor demonstrated (modeled) the suggestions with the teacher's class instead of telling the teacher the suggestions. Also, teachers who left the postobservation conference with a list of suggested behavior changes were expected to implement a greater number of the suggestions than teachers' who left the conference without a list.^ New York City licensed high school supervisors of mathematics administered both the experimental (based on Bandura's observational learning theory) and traditional supervisory processes to mathematics teachers in their schools. After administering the treatments the supervisors revisited the teachers' classes to determine if the four suggested behavior changes, which were discussed at a postobservation conference, were being implemented.^ A two-way analysis of variance was computed for the four treatments: using modeling with the teacher leaving the postobservation conference with a list of suggestions or without a list; the local traditional supervisory process with the teacher leaving the postobservation conference with a list of suggestions or without a list. The results of the analysis indicated that teachers who saw their supervisors demonstrate suggestions implemented a significantly greater number of the suggestions than those teachers who received the suggestions through verbal communications. It was also found that leaving the postobservation conference with a list of suggestions seemed to have no effect on the teachers' rate of implementing the suggestions.^ The above findings suggest that the demonstration by supervisors of suggested behavior changes may be an important variable in changing a teacher's classroom behavior. It was recommended that secondary school principals encourage their mathematics supervisors to model suggestions with the teacher's class. It was also recommended that principals encourage other subject area specialists to use modeling in the supervisory process. ^

Subject Area

Education, Mathematics|Education, Administration|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Gerald Harvey Elgarten, "An exploratory field experiment to test observational learning theory with supervisors and teachers of mathematics" (January 1, 1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9007177.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9007177

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