Theory into practice

What a wonderful contribution the Educational Psychology Service have made to this website through
Everything you wanted to know abut teaching and learning….and more – particularly the most recent posting on schools as
Effective learning environments. However, it’s set me to thinking – always a dangerous thing! – and the question I can’t stop thinking about is ….”should teachers have this knowledge?” I’ve taught at a teacher training institution, completed a degree and masters degree in education but I couldn’t claim to know everything on this section of the site (in fact I reckon 60% is new to me) Most of us have
tacit knowledge about the learning and teaching process. Often half-remembered bits of theory join with our practical experience to form an implicit set of assumptions upon which we build our practice.

I don't know if it’s unfortunate or not but many of us adopt an anti-theoretical perspective on our practice – “we don’t have time for all that nonsense”; “we prefer to focus on the business of teaching”; “I don’t agree with all this theory – I know what I know and it works for me” Yet I’ve still to meet a teacher who does not have a set of implicit assumptions and personal set of beliefs which drive their practice – the challenge is to get these assumptions to be articulated and shared – and, if necessary – to be challenged.

One of Exc-el’s
prime purposes is to improve the teaching and learning process – but is it possible to improve the process without a more explicit understanding of the theory which underpins our practice and the learning process? Should all teachers be updated with this knowledge – in much the same way as my father (a doctor) had to update his knowledge – on a compulsory basis? Why is it that any attempt to do something like this would be regarded as a professional affront by many teachers – or would it?