Can Theory Improve Practice?
Ideally education management should provide insights which inform the essential task of creating, maintaining and developing an effective learning environment, and offer ideas and concepts which the practitioner can examine and test for their usefulness in that context. In attempting to meet the difficulties, problems, and opportunities encountered in schools there is no shortage of theories to consult. Political and phenomenological perspectives offer mutually supporting enlightenment on the operation of educational institutions. Teachers as managers operate in a complex political context with individuals and groups coming from varied backgrounds, with personal perceptions, motivations and aspirations which may at times be in conflict with the prevailing intentions of the school. The description of how theory emerges from practice helps to meet the criticism deservedly levelled in the past, that education management theory easily out-distanced the empirical evidence on which it was based.