Educational Administration and the Relational Approach: Can We Suffice Contextual-Based Knowledge Production?: Journal of Educational Administration and Foundations

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In this essay, I would like to revisit the relational approach proposed by Eacott (2015) and propose a counter-argument that draws on the literature about the school as an organization and on the literature about disciplinarity (the field that explores the structure and processes of academic disciplines). Briefly speaking, whereas the context matters, as Eacott correctly maintained, particular features of the school organization (e.g., teaching and culture) are universal to such an extent that they allow the foundation of a field of study (educational administration). In this sense, the universal nature of the field's models, perspectives and concepts endows academic legitimacy to its members (i.e., scholars and researchers) in universities worldwide. Therefore, educational administration scholars have always striven to produce theoretical and empirical knowledge that is cross-national and valid in multiple educational arenas as is evident in the practical implications section in many journal-papers published in the field's journals. I conclude this essay by lending several consecutive ponderings about the kind of knowledge we need to develop in the field of educational administration given the diverse educational contexts in our era of life. Waves of globalization and internationalization, leading to new educational reforms (e.g., accountability, and marketization) in many countries, have resulted in an increased workload for teachers, intensity of investments in meeting their students' needs, increasing external pressures, extension of responsibilities and multiple, even contradictory tasks and obligations (Odhiambo, 2005; [Izhar Oplatka], 2007; Oplatka, Foskett, & Hemsley-Brown, 2002; Somech & Oplatka, 2014; Timms & Brough, 2013). In the Netherlands, for example, the teacher's work has become considerably more complex, and teachers are being confronted by a variety of expectations with regard to how they should work, that have been formulated by diverse groups of stakeholders (Van Veen, Sleegers, Bergen, & Klassen, 2001). Similarly, a study in England found that teachers are under pressures to "cover the content" and adopt a didactic pedagogies of exams and results (Helsby, 1999). These pressures have been reported by teachers in different countries during the last decade (e.g., Moore, 2004; Odhiambo, 2005; Osei, 2006; Yildirim, 2003). One aspect of the loosely coupled system refers to the isolating condition of teacher's work. Despite attempts to promote teacher collaboration in many educational systems (Ben-Peretz & Schonmann, 2000; Galton & MacBeath, 2008), teachers still spend their time in individual classrooms with little feedback, little opportunity to interact with other adults during the workday, and with maximum responsibility to control often unruly groups of children (e.g., Somech & Oplatka, 2015). This is not to say, nonetheless, that teachers are unlikely to receive some support from their colleagues and educational leaders, but rather to emphasize the unique nature of teaching and the school in many educational systems on the globe. Put another way, the context of many teachers and educational leaders is similar, a view supported by a large body of research conducted in various Western countries, finding lack of diversity among schools operating in educational markets and greater uniformity in the school system (e.g., Adnett & Davies, 2000; Gewirtz, Ball, & Bowe, 1995; Hirsch, 1994).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalEAF Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Education--School Organization And Administration
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