Theory vs practice in teacher education

1

March 20, 2009 by Willy Cardoso

While reading Advising and Supporting Teachers, by Mick Randall with Barbara Thornton (CUP), I was intrigued by the following questions:

 

  • To what extent is it possible or advisable to describe teaching in purely theoretical terms, or should teaching be seen instead as an essentially practical process?

  • Should the training of teachers concentrate on specific classroom behaviours and routines, which can best be learned through observation of others and practice, or should these surface routines be integrated with the theoretical perspective provided by discussions of methodology?

Well, I’m yet to give a thoughtful answer about this, which I’ll post sometime soon. What helps though is to understand a bit better the knowledge involved in teaching, I then condensed some useful guidelines from the same book for your appraisal.

adv-and-supp2 

SHULMAN’S CATEGORIES FOR KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY FOR TEACHING

Much has been written about the types of knowledge involved in teaching. Shulman (1987) lists seven types of knowledge base which are important for the teacher.

 

1. CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

  • Teacher’s own proficiency in the language
  • Knowledge of formal aspects of English such as, syntax, phonology, etc.
  • Culture may also be included

2. GENERAL PEDAGOGIC KNOWLEDGE

  • Classroom management and control
  • Learning theories

3. CURRICULUM KNOWLEDGE

  • Particular materials used by the teacher
  • Syllabus approach and requirements

4. PEDAGOGICAL-CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

  • Methodology
  • Theories of how languages are learnt
  • The way the Target Language may best be presented and learnt

5. KNOWLEDGE OF LEARNERS AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS

  • Awareness of how teachers’ behaviour in the classroom will affect how individuals learn.

6. KNOWLEDGE OF EDUCATIONAL CONTEXTS

  • How sociocultural and institutional contexts will affect learning and teaching
  • What is acceptable or appropriate in one educational system will not necessarily be so in another.

7. KNOWLEDGE OF EDUCATIONAL ENDS, PURPOSES AND VALUES AND THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND HISTORICAL ISSUES

  • Study of the sociology, philosophy and history of education.

 

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One thought on “Theory vs practice in teacher education

  1. “To what extent is it possible or advisable to describe teaching in purely theoretical terms, or should teaching be seen instead as an essentially practical process?”

    I think it comes to a point where theoretical terms come at a gray area and practical process is the one that can fill in the blanks.

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