Posted on 04/21/2014 at 10:11 AM by Global Reach

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I loved doing readers theaters with my students. Plan on doing at least one before the end of the school year! Here are some sights to find some:


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Quit Bashing Theory

Teachers want practical ideas. I've seen how a list of specific, explicit ideas gets higher post views. I've noticed that when I do a training, the best received ones involved teachers learning and practicing something that they can immediately transfer into a classroom.  I've been around teachers in a meeting who said, "At the university, all I learned was a bunch of theory that you forget later."

Teachers often bust on technical language and refer to it as jargon. Often, they cringe at being handed a journal article to analyze as a group. There's a certain amount of pride that goes into the notion that theory doesn't matter.

However, theory is the concept of both how and why something works. It's why we should be able to test a bogus claim in a cleverly packaged presentation. It's why we should be skeptical about when how or even why we should use a new practical strategy that we learn.

I don't want an engineer saying, "Screw the theory, just hand me something practical." I don't want a doctor saying, "Forget about why we do this, just tell me where to cut and I'll do it."

I realize that we are not doctors and engineers. We might be more like artists. But even then, artists think about theory. Notions of perspective and balance, approaches and philosophies that inform a movement -- all of these things shape how an artist works.

If we want to be seen as professionals and respected for our collective intellectual capacity, we need to quit bashing theory. In fact, we should know theory inside and out and perhaps even contributing to the research that is out there. We are already the contextual experts. Why aren't we also the theoretical experts on pedagogy?

I get it. Theory has to lead to practical application. However, the practical application is contextual. It's often something we can and should figure out on our own when we have a solid concept of theory. It's okay to learn a practical strategy, but when we do so, we should analyze all things "practical" through a sharp, critical lens of theory.

Posted by John Spencer 

Ponder This:

"If we don't change, we don't grow.  If we don't grow, we aren't really living."
-Gail Sheehy


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