By Linda Carozza – October 20, 2011
A handbook, guide, indispensable tool
Plural Publishing, 2011; 306 pages, plus foreword and preface
Review by Beatrice Williams-Rude
“Science of Successful Supervision and Mentorship” is a book devoted to teaching the teachers; or, more specifically, teaching supervisors and mentors how to better serve their clients, whether they are students or practicing professionals.
This is a text book, an academic tome, slender in size, but weighty. While it is targeted at those dealing with speech-language pathology, clinicians, supervisors, health-care practitioners and those who seek to be, in terms of the techniques presented it has potential value to a far larger community.
This is a heavily researched work with citations in virtually every paragraph and sources ranging from Gandhi, Khalil Gibran to John F. Robinson, president of the National Minority Business Council, and professors and clinicians spanning the globe.
The core concern is communication, effective, positive communication. There is little regarding specific pathologies, aphasia, for example, but great attention to helping the professional connect with the client. Much stress is placed on the need for awareness of special requirements posed by an increasingly diverse population:: in addition to the traditional student, there is the returning student, older and with varied experiences that form the lens through which new material is filtered; students from minority groups heretofore underrepresented in academia; the career changer; the suddenly on-her-own middle-aged woman; multi-lingual students; students from other cultures; those with roots in other lands; and working students whose time is limited, among others. The use of language that is comprehensible to the student at whatever level is paramount. At root is “mutual respect.”
Understanding oneself and one’s attitudes is key to understanding and connecting with others. There’s much emphasis on psychology and the need for introspection.
Front and center in all this is ASHA, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and its guidelines, measuring techniques and methodologies. Material from many of its subdivisions and sister organizations is presented. Details are provided regarding criteria for material offered for different levels of those being supervised: undergraduate, Master’s, Doctoral, professional.
Work sheets, evaluation charts and case studies, which I found particularly interesting, abound. There is much taken from other sources, which are credited.
The book is well organized with long chapters broken into subsections. Each chapter begins with a quote from an admirable source in praise of teaching and/or suggesting how to be effective imparting knowledge. “Supervisors should not seek to mold, but rather to unfold.”
Each chapter begins with a summary of what will follow.
The book is in three sections, each comprising from two to five chapters. The titles tell the story. There are equally explicit headings of the subsections within each chapter.
Section I, “Understanding the Issues”: Chapters deal with definitions and concepts; issues in supervision research; current issues regarding the former; multiple perspectives on supervision and mentorship; ethical considerations.
Section II, “Developing Knowledge and Skills as a Supervisor and Mentor”: Chapters deal with supervisory competence and strategies; evidence-based practice and the interplay between research and practice; insights into mentorship and supervision and a model of mentorship.
Section III, “Creating Supportive Contexts for Supervision and Mentorship”: Chapters include learning from experience and future directions for clinical supervision; and conclusions. Appendixes go from A through J.
Gathering material, organizing it and writing this most valuable book was a massive undertaking. I wish there had not been so much confusion of singular and plural. In example after example a singular subject :”each reader …” is followed by a plural reference ” … will add to their own scope”. “In many cases, the speech-language pathologist serves as their own supervisor, …” And so forth. Because this book is about communication, precision is devoutly to be desired. One solution to avoid the he/she, his/hers, him/her dilemma is to start, when possible, with a plural subject, which then can be correctly followed by they or their. And it should be noted that mostly Linda Carozza does it correctly. But I wish the publisher had employed an eagle-eyed copy editor to assure that it was consistently correct. The book deserves no less.
All that aside, this is a text book that is particularly well written. It is clear, comprehensible, and broken into easily digestible segments.