Astremska I.V. A social institution supervisor’s professional establishment

Выпуск журнала: 

УДК 364



Astremska I.V.

The article covers the problem of a social sphere supervisor’s professional establishment. It is proven that professional consciousness (professional self-conception) includes one's image about themselves as a member of a professional community. These mindsets are proved to include characteristics that determine one's success – professionally important qualities (individual psychological qualities and personal relations). There are defined five criteria psychological preparation development of an educator, a psychologist and a psychology lecturer of a Pedagogical University in a system of continuous education, which are also important for the supervisor’s professional establishment. The basic approaches and models are outlined on defining professionally important personal qualities for a social institution supervisor.

Keywords: professional self-determination, professionally important personal qualities, supervisor, competence, professional self-conception, supervisor basic skills, staff development policy, supervised, social service.




Астремская И.В.

В статье освещается проблема профессионального становления супервизора социальной сферы. Доказано, что профессиональное сознание (профессиональная Я-концепция) включает представление человека о себе как о члене профессионального содружества. Обосновано, что к таким представлениям относятся характеристики человека, которые определяют успешность его деятельности, – профессионально важные качества (индивидуально-психологические свойства и отношения личности). Определено пять критериев развития психологической подготовки педагога, педагога-психолога и преподавателя психологии педагогического вуза в системе непрерывного образования, которые являются важными для профессионального становления супервизора. Очерчены основные подходы и модели к выделению профессионально важных качеств супервизора социального учреждения.

Ключевые слова: профессиональное самоопределение, профессионально важные качества, супервизор, компетенция, профессиональная Я-концепция, базовые навыки супервизора, политика развития персонала, супервизируемый, социальная служба.


A supervisor is a teacher who is personally responsible for simplifying the process of learning and professional training for students during their practice. This person also evaluates students' work and gives the university their recommendations. A supervisor’s functions include infields with social workers, quality control of their work, consulting for hard cases and psychotherapeutic consulting aimed at supporting specialists and relieving stress.

Thereby a supervisor can greatly increase individual effectiveness, helping a social worker at all stages of their professional growth and development. Supervisors are usually individuals who have already mastered their craft and, moreover, passed courses in different forms of advanced training. A supervisor is the key-figure to ensure succession and quality of social services, as much as to maintain efficiency and staff development [5, p. 91].

The aim of this paper is to outline the main approaches and models of determining a social service institution supervisor’s professionally important personal qualities of; to identify a social service institution supervisor’s main professionally important qualities which play vital part in their professional growth.

L.V. Voronina and L.V. Moiseeva consider specialists who have mastered supervision methods to be competent supervisors [3, p. 39]. A.A. Kostenko and I.O. Harbusova see the problem of professional establishment in mastering one's craft, their growth and self-actualization down the line.

The process of professional self-determination covers a long period of one's life from conceiving professional interests and proclivities in childhood up to mature final determination of one's craft. Preparation period before professional activity generally coincides with one's academic years and is characterized by limited rights and personal opportunities. Professional consciousness (‘self-conception’) includes one's image about themselves as a member of professional community, professional culture holder, including certain professional standards, rules, traditions, intrinsic to their professional community.

These images include one's characteristics that determine their professional success. These include professionally important personal qualities (PIPQ) which could be individual psychological qualities and personal relations. Individual psychological qualities include sensory, perceptual, attentional, mnemonic, mental, language-related qualities; emotional, willpower-related qualities; imaginative, motor and communication-related qualities. Personal relations concern one's attitude to their craft, to themselves subjectively, to others (colleagues, boss', clients), to the object of work, to the subject of work, to the means of their work, to working conditions [4].

The list of a supervisor’s personal and professionally important personal qualities should be completed with humanitarianism, social skills, empathy, responsibility, optimism, kindness, pedagogical tact, reflection, tendencies to professional development and self-development, ICC- competence, ability to work with audience and some other qualities [7, с.50].

One of the most important mechanisms forming professional self-conception is professional identification. Theory of social studies, regards psychological identification as the process of setting similarities between the subject’s behaviour and the object's (of a person or of a group of people)one , seen by subject as an icon. Such analysis of psychological identification implies an icon’s behaviour is a stimulus for choosing their own behavioural reaction: the subject copies the object’s external behaviour, adopts rules, ideals, roles and moral qualities of its icon.

In modern society professional activity is intertwined with high level of mastery in hi-tech [4].

Thus, professionally important personal qualities determine one's success, take part in building one's image of themselves as a member of professional community ("professional culture holder, standards, rules, traditions intrinsic to their professional community" ), which, in their turn, are included into the structure of professional consciousness or professional self-conception.

Therefore, further analysis of a social worker’s professionally important personal qualities (individual psychological qualities and personal relations), values and professional ethics is important.

Implementation of professional identification mechanisms plays vital part in forming professional self-conception. A good icon for which, in our opinion, is a supervisor (subject of supervision) as a subject of progressive methods in advanced training.

Another advanced approach in coach supervision assumes a number of competencies relevant to a coach's work performance. The approach is based upon behavioural cues of a coach. Due to their work, a coach needs different competencies to be successful. The Competent Trainer Standard is a good example here. It wasdeveloped by International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTI, 1988, Barrington, IL):

– analyse course materials – determine academic needs of a group and adapt course material based upon those needs, including the company's specialties;

– analyse learner information – know your audience and their expectations;

– assure preparation of instructional set – make sure everything needed for the gig is set and ready to go, in stock, and in working condition;

– establish and maintain instructor credibility – establish high trust culture with audience or a group;

– manage learning environment – control learning process: control the discussion, keep track of the group dynamics and so on;

– demonstrate effective communication skills – have effective communication skills;

– demonstrate effective presentation skills – have the skillset for effective self-presentation (special attention to «body language»);

– demonstrate effective questioning skills and techniques – ability «to get the gist of it», ability to clearly express your thought;

– respond appropriately to learners' needs for clarification or feedback – encourage dialogue and feedback;

– provide positive reinforcement and motivational incentives – evoke enthusiasm, encourage positive thinking, inspire for application of knowledge;

– use instructional methods appropriately – ability to use and combine different methods (mini-lectures, discussions, case studies, written exercises), and tools of teaching (video presentations, modern business games);

– see media effectively – ability to use office equipment: PC Power Point, projector, multimedia projector, video recorder, video camera;

– evaluate learner performance – ability to analyse: ability to evaluate how the supervised cope with tasks;

– evaluate the instruction delivery – ability to evaluate accuracy of formulations set in tasks for the supervised, consistency of presentation, determine if training goals are reached;

– report evaluation information – ability to accurately and correctly present information obtained during training in written or oral form [6].

O.V. Molozhavenko specified five criteria of pedagogical and psychological training – a psychologist and a psychology lecturer of a pedagogical university in a system of continuous education:

1. Ensure integrity and continuity of pedagogical and psychological education.

2. Establishment and development of professional consciousness that provides holistic forming of psychological literacy level, including value-semantic and identification components that determine the choice of appropriate professional and behavioural cues.

3. Establishment and development of a holistic image of a pedagogue's psychologically competent self in their training and work activity.

4. A pedagogue determines their need in professional development and self-development on psychological culture level.

5. A holder chooses general psychological culture, effective techniques in work and academic activity. 

As for the psychological culture of a psychology teacher’s establishment within postgraduate psychological training, O.V. Molozhavenko notes the importance of supervision activity, which has to be presented not only as a form of pedagogues attending psychology classes of their colleagues, but the trainee’s step-by-step professional establishment from the supervised to the supervisor.

In such context the level of psychological culture is often described as wisdom. Professional wisdom is a purpose of supervision, and it is to set a context of regular theoretical and procedural development of the supervised.

The author makes a conclusion that supervision is to become one of the main tools of psychological development and self-improvement for pedagogues, which provides effective interaction and impact on the system of continuous psychological education [8].

The main model of supervision is the model of development, argues P. Hawkins and R. Shohet [11, с. 108]. According to it, a supervisor is to possess a number of styles and approaches that are constantly modified as the consultant acquires experience and develops to a next level. The scientists offer a holistic model of development that includes four basic levels of development of the supervised.

The first level is characterized by dependence of a supervised person on their supervisor. The supervised person might feel anxiety, sense of danger of their role and doubt abilities to realize the role; they might feel lack of understanding but still be highly motivated.

At the second level the supervised overcomes initial anxiety and starts moving between dependence and autonomy, also between self-confidence and confusion. In work with clients, the supervised at this level act in a less simple way and are focused on development of their client as well as on the training.

The third level. Supervised are better at approaching the clientele, satisfying their specific needs at the given moment. The supervised see clients in a broader context and develop what is called «hustle» [11, с. 112].

By the time of transition to the fourth level the supervisor becomes a master and is “characterized by personal freedom, high level of awareness, self-confidence, solid motivation, and understands their need to work on personal and professional problems” [11, с. 113]. At this level no learning occurs, knowledge deepens and integrates in wisdom.

A. Williams values the following in a supervisor: 1) theory; 2) practice and a lot of infield experience; 3) high quality of judgment; 4) discernment [9].

A supervisor’s skills and knowledge. Speaking about «appropriate» and «effective» supervision it is necessary to accurately determine and formulate what the organization expects from supervisors. This assumes compiling a list of basic skills and related criteria, which are considered as a supervisor’s basic skills of [15, с. 93-102].

The basis for defining a supervisor’s basic skills encloses three main functions:

– giving staff freedom to act, learn and develop;

– ensuring supervision at work;

– mediation between staff, senior management, external organizations and community that organization serves.

Listing of skills needed and appropriate index could be drawn up for each of these functions [12; 13, p. 140-145]. Skills needed for consulting supervision shall be split into three categories:

– conceptual skills and knowledge;

– direct intervention skills;

– social skills.

Combination of these skills and abilities creates a clear picture of what particular organization expects from a supervisor. These indicators are drawn upon at supervisor training.

Policy of staff development. In any social service organization staff, most likely, is the most valuable resource. Dynamic workers highly satisfied with their job execute it more efficiently, than dissatisfied staff under excessive stress [14]. Thereby the organization as much as its staff is to be interested in developing personnel. Supervision here is highly valuable.

Quality check and assessment of staff should cover both staff development and monitoring its activities. The two functions are coupled, but often the negative value of the last one diminishes the power of the first one.

Certainly, staff development is important. Problems arise when in course of supervision needs in training the supervised appear, which, in turn, could not be satisfied in particular social service organization. Therefore, policy of staff development has to be bound to educational program, which consists of measures carried out both on basis of the organization and beyond. The program shall fit needs and wishes of its staff, which allows both the supervisor’s and the supervised’s influence on the setting of supervision needed and gives them freedom to act on their own.

Ushakova I.V. [10] argues that supervision could be seen not only as meeting of the supervised with supervisors, but also as an exchange of knowledge between supervisors. A supervisor can consult with a specialist, if they have a lack of experience or share experiences with other supervisors, give advice and receive advice. One also cannot reject such method as a group supervision of the supervised.

A. Brown and I. Bourne’s point of view [2] is that the level of supervision depends on the size of organization. In large institutions it's easier to carry out supervision because education can be provided on its own base with the help of its own staff. Senior management of small organization shall realize that supervision has to be carried out involving external resources.

The universal requirements for competence of future (and already practicing) supervisors [1] are the following:

1. Ability to listen actively and constructively.

2. Ability to reflect.

3. Ability to be in different functional roles according to supervised colleague.

4. Ability to quickly assess «zone of proximal development» of a supervised colleague.

5. Disposition to continuous professional growth.

6. Ability to discuss ethical issues.

7. Setting at the quality of services.

A supervisor is the key-figure to ensure succession and quality of social services, as much as to maintain efficiency and staff development. A supervisor’s professionally important personal qualities determine their success, they conclude one's image of themselves as a member of professional community (a holder of professional culture, standards, rules, traditions of its community), which, in their turn, are included into the structure of professional consciousness or professional self-conception.



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Data about the author:

Astremska Iryna Volodymyrivna – Candidate of Psychological Sciences, Associate Professor of Psychology of Department, Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (Mykolaiv, Ukraine).

Сведения об авторе: 

Астремская Ирина Владимировна – кандидат психологических наук, доцент кафедры психологии Черноморского национального университета имени Петра Могилы (Николаев, Украина).