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Practice enhancement: optimising teaching performance in schools

Suzanne Perillo (Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 1 August 2006




The purpose of this paper is to show that in comparison to performance appraisal, “practice enhancement” is offered as a conceptual tool that can be used to develop strategies for reflecting on, communicating changes in and planning for excellence in teaching practice.


The conceptual notion of practice enhancement is underpinned by assumptions from the discipline of positive psychology and supported by the need for a performance management process targeting teaching practice that considers the contributions made by social learning theory and organisational learning theory. Indicative of a postmodern persuasion, a data “story” from case study research is used to support the applicability of practice enhancement in schools. Actor‐network theory is used to analyse movements in local professional learning preferences and practices in an independent boys' school in Australia.


The paper finds that applicability and conceptual accuracy of managerial notions such as performance appraisal should be critically considered by educational researchers, policymakers, school leaders and teaching practitioners when developing processes for managing the performance of teachers in schools.

Research implications/limitations

Empirical studies evaluating the effectiveness of performance management processes underpinned by the notion of performance enhancement (in schools and other workplace settings) are required.

Practical implications

A conceptual tool for guiding the development of processes and tools for managing teaching excellence is provided.


This paper draws on cross‐disciplinary knowledge and the work of teaching practitioners to provide recommendations for cultivating conditions that enable teaching excellence.



Perillo, S. (2006), "Practice enhancement: optimising teaching performance in schools", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 365-379.



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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited