Some Methods of Professional Development and Learning

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  Type Advantages Disadvantages
1 Individual supervision     Provides opportunity for support, consultation and information gathering. Provides little evidence for monitoring actual work performance.
2 Team supervision
seeing individuals together
Opportunity for different views or methods.  More varied responses to the individual. A collective version of (1) could be experienced as threatening or undermining.      Demanding on supervisor.
3 Group supervision Similar to above.  Can deal with single issues concerning the group of staff. Smaller the group, easier to manage. Allows for less individual support. Larger the group, less opportunity for in depth discussion.
4 Joint supervision.
Supervision with two staff members doing    joint work
Resolution of issues between staff members.  Helps them find a joint and equal approach to the task. Possibility that one person will dominate the proceedings
Variations of the above
5 "On the spot" supervision during a normal  day's work or  when an event is  actually occurring Can help to resolve a situation more successfully. Should always be happening, and very supportive of staff. Does not allow for unhurried or objective reflection. Should not be a substitute for planned supervision.
6 Joint work.  
Supervisor and staff member   working together
Can be seen as very supportive and allows staff members’ work to be visible for monitoring and progress reports. Supervisor very visible!   Does not allow for a more distant and objective review of performance.  Can be threatening to staff.
7 Observation Very immediate feedback.  Accurate picture of the event.  Objective overview. Possibly inhibiting to worker and clients. Supervisor can't affect the process as it occurs.
8 Modelling and Coaching Uses existing networks of support.  Enables others to learn from experience.  Is applicable wherever career development is required. May reinforce existing practice rather than challenge and change practice
9 Mentoring Uses existing networks of support.  Enables others to learn from experience.  Is applicable wherever career development is required. Not an easy option, hard work for all involved.  Involves supervisor having to adopt a variety of roles
10 Live supervision.
Staff member doing the work.  Supervisor intervening occasionally
Makes work very visible and allows for supervisor to affect the process as it occurs - providing suggestions, information etc. Complicated to explain to client.  May be inhibiting. Interventions need to be carefully timed.
11 Audio or visual  recordings Accurate representation of what occurred.     Permanent record of events.           Equipment can be expensive and complicated.  Time consuming.
12 Role plays Can help to bring a situation to life and heighten awareness of how client experiences the situation.  Provides "protected" practice.  Chance to experiment. Can get into          "performing" rather than learning.  May be threatening.  Competitive element may intrude.  It's never quite "real life".