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Theory Practice Gap Essay Format

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EERA: Can Teachers Bridge The Theory-Practice Gap?

Can Teachers Bridge The Theory-Practice Gap? Contribution Can Teachers Bridge The Theory-Practice Gap?

In the field of education there has been a gulf between the production of pedagogical knowledge and the way that it is put into practice in education centres, popularly known as the theory-practice gap (Broekkamp and Hout-Wolters, 2007; Gravani, 2008; Álvarez, 2013).

This paper presents an approach to how teachers can bridge this gap so as to bring together both of these dimensions of education.

Based on this approach, the objective is to carry out an empirical research that explores the theory, practice and their interrelationships in a 'particular' researcher and teacher, José María Rozada.

He is one of the professionals who has worked on this subject in Spain from both sides, both theoretical (as a lecturer at the University of Oviedo, Spain) and practical (as a primary school teacher at Germán Fernández Ramos state school).

This researcher and teacher proposes that, to overcome the theory-practice dichotomy, it is necessary to construct and recognise a 'small pedagogy', that is, a space half-way between academic theorisation and teaching practice, fields that are currently rather far apart. In order to create these, he believes that a plane of theory and a plane of practice must be recognised which attract each other, instead of repelling each other. He proposes an intermediate theory and a practice between those previously formulated, which has been called 'second-order' (Rozada, 2007).

In order to empirically investigate about the theory-practice relationships, a single case study was carried out by using an ethnographic methodology.
Why a single case study? Because of the qualities that it presents. Stake (2005) states that we study a case when it holds a special interest for us.
This teacher has spent more than thirty years studying theory-practice relationships, publishing and designing innovative ways of teaching, and promoting conscious relationships between educational knowledge and school practice.
The case allows to confirm, change, modify or broaden the knowledge about the object of study.
The researcher attended the classes taught by this teacher (primary education, year 6) for a whole school year at a state school and had direct contact with the education community of the school.
The ethnographic methodology took place in the observed classroom, but it also incorporated the school community, with the aim of verifying the teacher’s theory-practice relationships and of understanding how they were promoted. The research followed qualitative patterns: participant observation, interviews and discussion forums, basically.

Expected Outcomes

Five aspects can highlighted as having been central in the process for the case:
- The cultivation of academic training and reading.
- A self-critical review of the professional and institutional traditions and cultures.
- The creation of a personal second-order theory.
- The creation of a personal second-order practice.
- The construction of a small pedagogy (occupying the space between second-order theory and second-order practice).
The bridging of the theory-practice gap is always a delicate question in which no simple recipes for success exist; however, the ideas collected below are basic elements in the process for this particular teacher, as they can also be for teachers who wish to use them. In the results section this will be discussed further, including ideas that are key to the process and how they were addressed in the case study.
How can the theory-practice gap be bridged by teachers? In terms of this study, it can be said that by cultivating academic training and reading, self-critically analysing the teaching experience, and creating personal second-order theories and practices in such a way as to construct 'small pedagogies'. And how is this achieved? By studying, reflecting, and acting, all of which must take place together, something that demands effort, passion and courage.
Building a small pedagogy is a long process of building bridges between theory and practice, and it cannot be achieved overnight (Hennessy & Deaney, 2009). However, it is certainly interesting to attempt to do so, as it places the subject in a positive position with respect to learning, training, the definition of professional principles and innovation. The consequence of the lack of these aspects in teaching is well known and has negative results for education, not only for teaching and learning processes, but also for teachers’ professional development (Day, 2005; Korthagen, 2007; Korthagen y Kessels, 2009).


• Álvarez, C. (2013). Enseñanza y desarrollo profesional docente. Pensar y vivir la educación. Madrid: La muralla.
• Broekkamp, H. & Hout-Wolters, B. (2007). The gap between educational research and practice: a literature review, symposium, and questionnaire. Educational Research and Evaluation, 13, 3, 203-220.
• Day, C. (2005). Developing teachers: the challenges of lifelong learning. London: Falmer Press.
• Gravani, M. (2008). Academics and practitioners: partners in generating knowledge or citizens of two different worlds? Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 649-659.
• Hennessy, S. & Deaney, R. (2009). “Intermediate theory” building: intergrating multiple teacher and researcher perspectivas through in-dept video análisis of pedagogic strategies. Teacher College Record, 111, 7, 1753-1795.
• Korthagen, F. (2007). The gap between research and practice revisited. Educational Research and Evaluation, 13, 3, 303-310.
• Korthagen, F. & Kessels, J. (2009). Linking theory and practice: changing the pedagogy of teacher education. Educational Researcher, 28, 4, 4-17.
• Rozada, J.M. (2007). ¿Son posibles los puentes entre la teoría y la práctica por todo el mundo demandados, sin pilares intermedios? Romero, J. & Luis, A. (Coord.): La formación del profesorado a la luz de una profesionalidad democrática (47-53). Santander: Consejería de Educación de Cantabria.
• Stake, R.E. (2005). The art of case study research. California: SAGE.

This proposal is part of a master or doctoral thesis.

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The interaction between “theory” and “practice” in education is a dichotomy that people have been trying to understand for over 2,000 years. The relationship between theorists and practitioners is very complicated because there are issues that surround the pace of change in theory and practice. The debates that have occurred continue to occur through today in an array of perspectives about the purpose of education and about how to encourage learning. Practical knowledge can be defined as knowledge inhibited through practice, action, or experience. Theoretical knowledge is an idea that is a logical explanation of a set of relationships that has been experimented with plenty of research. Theorists are people who carry out in-depth research and analysis of detailed topics to arrive at answers to particular behaviors and practices and practitioners are those who actively practice a profession. Practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge draw to mind much familiar oppositions- thought and action, belief and desire, rationale and passion, and so on. Professionals in the field of education have identified many factors that have caused this dichotomy, identified the relation of theory to practice, and identified strategies for bridging the gap between theory and practice.
Educational technology professionals are concerned that their classroom practice doesn’t relate to the latest theories. There are many reasons that may perhaps have brought about this distinction between theory and practice. People have been trying to understand learning for over thousands of years. Learning theorists have carried out a debate on how people learn that began during the time of Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The debates that occur.

. middle of paper.

. he learners’ physical environment. Modern learning theories integrate the role of culture and other influences on experience in views of how people develop their abilities. Differences in views of the purpose of education lead to the continuation of the debate about the best teaching practices. Educators believe that different strategies are useful for different kinds of learning.

(2011, Jan. 1 ). In Resource: The Learning Classroom: Theory Into Practice. Retrieved Mar. 2, 2011, from http://www.learner.org/resources/series172.html
Daniel, T, & T. Laurel. (2006). Curriculum Development: Theory Into Practice. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Defazio, J. (2006). Theory into Practice: A Bridge Too Far. AACE Journal, 14 (3), pp. 221-233.
Kuo, Y. (2010). Self-Regulated Learning: From Theory to Practice. Online Submission, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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