Oksana Parylo from National University of Ostroh Academy is currently a student at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Below are her speculations about Ukrainian and American education systems. The Ukrainian and American education systems are different in many ways: in methods, approaches, and forms of assessment. Similarly, the teachers differ in the manner in which they teach, behave, and talk. However, there is something that unites the teachers from both continents: a negative attitude towards supervision. In both countries teachers perceive supervision as control, evaluation, and inspection, and therefore they resist it. However, supervision can be a highly effective means of teacher development, if it is initiated by the teacher and conducted by a professional observer. This interactive, democratic, and teacher-centered supervisory style is called clinical supervision.
Clinical supervision is a process with three main components: the planning conference, systematic observation of the lessons, and the feedback conference. This kind of supervision is effective because these steps make the observation correspond closely to the teacher’s needs. Today clinical supervision is actively used in many school districts of the United States. Positive reviews by teachers who have been supervised can be found in education magazines, books, and on-line resources. In Ukraine, however, the presence of another adult in the classroom (be it another teacher, principal, or public visitor) is still unwelcome by both teachers and students. Nevertheless, it is time to rethink teacher supervision and evaluation, as clinical supervision seems to be an effective strategy for improving both teaching and learning.
Liudmyla Pustelnyk editor of «Ukraine» journal is in the Master’s Program in Political Science at Western Michigan University. Following are some of the lessons she has learned about being a graduate student in the United States. When the university says «students are to be independent in their studies,» this means that students are totally responsible for their learning process. University professors put students on the right path, but the students’ success on this path is determined by their own hard work and persistence. You are responsible for understanding the material, providing yourself with text-books and online sources of information, writing essays for every class, etc. Usually some text-books can be found in the library, but most of them not. This doesn’t mean, however, that you are obliged to purchase them. Usually my classmates and I shared the books, giving them to each other for making copies of the necessary chapters. In one of my classes we had to write a critical review of the reading for the coming seminar. The paper had to be submitted electronically the day ahead no later than 8 a.m. I was late by a couple of hours. My paper was rejected by the professor without any excuses. Consequently, instead of seven papers during the semester I had to write eight, to make up for the one I had turned in late. Yes, I was mad at the professor, but there was nobody to blame except myself. Be prepared for a lot of reading: it was almost routine that we had to read two or three books (200–300 pages each) for our weekly seminar on comparative politics. Be ready for active participation in class discussions, and be aware that you must be persistent to get a chance to be heard:
some students dominate the whole seminar trying to be the only «soloists» in class. The professors know that you are an international student and that English is not your first language. Don’t feel embarrassed if the professor advises you to go to the writing center to improve your writing skills. When I heard this advice for the first time I felt almost ashamed: was my English so poor? My professor explained to me that this is not only a matter of knowing English: academic writing has its rules, and you are to follow them. It was a kind of relief to meet not only international students, but Americans as well who applied for assistance at the writing center. It is absolutely free, and it works: my writing skills (and grades) improved significantly after a couple of visits to the university writing center.
Published on Jun 18, 2006
Published on Jun 18, 2006
The 2005 Yearbook includes a short description of projects for this year by Ukrainian and American Fulbright scholars, which will be useful...