ERIC Number: ED228693
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Theory and Practice in Education Policy and Administration: An Hermeneutics Perspective. Abridged Version.
Sergiovanni, Thomas J.
Educational policy and administration is an applied human science that is a field of both study and practice. As such, it needs a theoretical framework--a theory of practice--for the understanding and informing of administrative practice. A theory of practice would be integrative; would focus on increasing understanding and improving practice, on action toward goals, and on aspects unique to educational policy and administration; and would be concerned with what "is," what "ought" to be, and what these mean. A theory of practice must include meaning, because educational policy and administration is a cultural activity and cultural activities are understood only by knowing their meaning. Meaning is arrived at through hermeneutics, the art of interpretation. An example concerning a hypothetical conflict-management situation shows how hermeneutics helps to find meanings. A theory-of-practice approach would include four viewpoints generated by combining two perspectives (practical and theoretical) with two types of knowledge (descriptive and normative). Hermeneutical inquiry would involve not only answering questions about the hypothetical conflict from each of the four viewpoints but also examining the relationships among the viewpoints' questions and answers. As hermeneutical inquiry was repeated, understanding of the conflict would increase. (RW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Hermeneutics; Normative Statements; Theory Practice Relationship
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Los Angeles, CA, (April 13-17, 1981). Abridged by deletion of last half of the text (pages 22-42).