Supervision, a Faculty Perspective

Alex Silverman

Alex Silverman has been an MAT faculty member since 1975. For a number of years he also directed the program. Alex’s teaching background includes work as a public school teacher in New York City schools (intermediate and high school) as well as stints teaching English in France and Martinique.

His special interests include Sociolinguistics, Group Dynamics in the Classroom, Methodology, French Culture and Language, all areas he teaches in the summer and Academic Year programs. Known to be sly-humored, he states seriously, “I’ve stayed at SIT all these years because the dedication and passion of my colleagues and students cannot be matched at any other institution I am aware of.”

Last week I was in supervising a public school certification student who is interning at one of the small international high schools in New York City. After class, we went for lunch at our usual neighborhood place (Greek) where we were instantly recognized and warmly welcomed by the owners.

We had been discussing the class for a good half hour, alternately focusing in (looking at lesson details) and drawing back (relating moments in the class to the intern’s overall teaching philosophy and vision). All of a sudden, Karen interrupted herself and said, “Was the lesson good? I need to know.”

Instead of giving her the easy reassurance she was craving, I cruelly asked her a bunch of new questions. When did it feel right? Why? What might you have done differently? What did the students’ verbal and non-verbal reactions tell you? Then, Karen interrupted herself again and said: “You know, you never did answer my question, but now I don’t need you to.”

I replied that if I can get students to answer their own questions wisely, I’ve done my job. Indeed, helping students become their own supervisors through a carefully constructed and iterative process of observation / reflection / discussion is one of my deepest goals in supervision.

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2 Responses to “Supervision, a Faculty Perspective”

  1. Taheerah: Reflecting on Riyadh « MAT Admissions Says:

    […] Alex Silverman (Read Alex’s blog post.) […]

  2. Baylon Says:

    The best article I’ve read on the very first day of the year. Thanks 🙂

    Happy new year

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