Theory of Teaching Too Dense for PLT Practitioners?

I have been interviewing PLT practitioners around the country, (not finished yet) and one message that percolates through discussions is the opacity of theory of teaching and learning. The gist of what many (not all) say is, ‘just tell me what works’. That’s understandable, because PLT practitioners tend to be very busy mentoritheoryng trainees, resolving administrative issues, updating course content and so on. I think there might be other issues why PLT practitioners might not engage with scholarship of teaching and learning, but I will leave those for later.

For now, I’m interested in the comments practitioners make about teaching theory being expressed in overly dense and difficult language, making it seemingly impenetrable. Now, I confess I’m a bit of a theory-philiac, so I must be biased about theory. On the other hand, it’s interesting that lawyers who deal with fairly abstract concepts (discretionary trusts? restrictive covenants? detinue? feoffment with livery of seisen?) would think that teaching theory is dense or difficult. I suspect that the apparently abstract or complex nature of teaching theory might be less of an issue if opportunities to learn it were improved.

That said, there are critics who say that theory of teaching is a waste of time, and the better approach to researching and teaching practice is via action research driven by practical philosophy. Sounds like a theory worth testing, to me.

Share