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Conceptualising Educational Management

15 January, 2016 - 09:23
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Leadership and management are often regarded as essentially practical activities. Practitioners and policy-makers tend to be dismissive of theories and concepts for their alleged remoteness from the “real” school situation. Willower (1980, p. 2), for example, asserts that “the application of theories by practicing administrators [is] a difficult and problematic undertaking. Indeed, it is clear that theories are simply not used very much in the realm of practice.” This comment suggests that theory and practice are regarded as separate aspects of educational leadership and management. Academics develop and refine theory while managers engage in practice. In short, there is a theory/ practice divide, or “gap” (English, 2002):

    The theory-practice gap stands as the Gordian Knot of educational administration. Rather than be cut, it has become a permanent fixture of the landscape because it is embedded in the way we construct theories for use . . . The theory-practice gap will be removed when we construct different and better theories that predict the effects of practice. (p. 1, 3)