Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Myth 2: Big-picture philosophy is more important than practical advice

[This post is the continuation of a thread begun on 12/15]

Wrong. Big-picture philosophy is great, of course. It’s what provides a pedagogical grounding for what we do, and the field of education is rife with big-picture philosophies: people learn more by doing than by seeing; children benefit by spending time outdoors; collaborative learning is good; and so on. But picture yourself as a novice educator, armed with only these philosophies. What will they actually empower you to do with your students on Monday morning? How can you translate them into a lesson plan? A field-trip itinerary? A wish list for equipment and supplies to put together a new exercise or museum display? For philosophies to translate into anything useful, they have to be followed up with practical, detailed advice on what to do and how to do it. The truth is that the details of your experiences translating philosophical truisms into educational activities are a critical part of educational theory. Without practical advice, philosophies will never come to life and bear fruit, and your detailed stories are precisely the kind of practical advice that others need.

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