A Grounded Theory of Supervision During Pre-Service Level School-Based Consultation Training

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Newman, Daniel Seth
Rosenfield, Sylvia A
The purpose of the current study was to explore a university-based supervision process for pre-service level school-based consultants engaged in a consultation course with practicum experience. The study was approached from a constructivist worldview, using a constructivist grounded theory methodology. A qualitative research software program, NVivo8, was employed to assist with data organization and analyses. Guiding research questions included: (a) how does the process of university-based supervision in pre-service level, school-based consultation training work?; (b) what content and process concerns arise for consultants-in-training (CITs) during their practicum experiences?; (c) how are these concerns considered through the supervision process?; and (d) what are the interactions between the CITs and me (the supervisor) as part of supervision? Supervision session transcripts, reflective logs, and my own notes as supervisor from one semester of ongoing supervision with the five participants (second-year school psychology doctoral students engaged in consultation training) composed the data. I acted in the dual roles of researcher and supervisor. The theory that emerged from the participants' experiences demonstrates that the supervision process included activities outside of and within supervision sessions. Within supervision sessions, the CITs and I engaged in strategic interactions focused on past experiences, the present moment, and future application; these interactions were differentiated in a manner responsive to CIT needs based on perceptions of CIT skill level, requests for assistance, and consultation case process and content concerns. The perceived effectiveness of the supervision process in addressing CIT concerns resulted in mixed feelings including confusion, worrying, frustration, and positive feelings. This theory has implications for school-based consultation training and practice, and makes a unique contribution to broader supervision literature by emphasizing supervision at the pre-service training level, and connecting developmental models of supervision to differentiated models of supervision and instruction.