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Question #1: Why theories in education important? (Discuss the importance of theories in education.)

Different theories are expressions of different perspectives of different theorists. The significance of their differences relies on the unique role and use of each in the educational system. Educators inculcate lessons to students anchored to various teaching philosophies and learning theories, but according to Marrison (2014), there is no one, clear, universal explanation of how we learn and subsequent guidebook as to how we should teach. Most theorists agree that learning cannot be studied directly, but its nature can be inferred from changes in behavior (apart from B.F. Skinner who claims that behavioral changes are learning and therefore no further process need be inferred) (Marrison, 2014).

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There are numerous reasons why apply theories in education. According to Marrison (2014), (1) it helps explain a puzzling or complex issue and to predict its occurrence in the future. To help explain this process, therefore, theories based on differing epistemological positions have been developed to explain the procedure. ; (2) it allows the transfer of information in one setting to that of another. In different educational settings, multifaceted and inclusive conceptual explanations provided within the framework of a theory can be applied. Theories provide different “lenses” through which to look at complex problems and social concerns, focusing their attention on different aspects of the data and providing a framework within which to conduct their analysis (Reeves, Albert, Kuper, & Hodges, 2008). ; and (3) it provides greater opportunities for improvement by design. Awareness of theories can help us to develop or design environment to improve potentials for learning through providing information about the mechanisms underlying learning and performance.

By studying and understanding learning theories, educators can be more effective in the field.

Question #2: Provide a comprehensive comparison between pedagogical theory and pedagogical practice.

Our professor, Dr. Bert J. Tuga, concisely defined three important terms during our class discussion in Pedagogical Theory and Practice (PED) 701 last Saturday, January 20, 2018. According to him, these three terms are: (1) pedagogy is the science and art of teaching specifically children and it was supported by Child Australia (2017) as it states that pedagogy is an encompassing term concerned with what a teacher does to influence learning in others; (2) theory is a proposition subject to interpretation. It is understood as the result of academic production, the rationale and justification of practices backed by the proposals made by different authors or ideal educational situations (Alvarez, C. A., 2015). It relates to the ways in which children learn or simply, how learners learn; and (3) practice is the actuality of teaching and learning in the classroom. Also, it can be understood as the act of teaching in education establishments, as the possible application of academic creation, or as what really happens in education (Alvarez, C. A., 2015).

An effective teacher has a wide-ranging repertoire of different teaching and learning models, strategies, and techniques and knows how to create the right conditions for learning. (DfES, 2004). Prior to the issue of effectiveness of the teachers in the field, pedagogical theory and practice relationship and its essence must be identified first. Mostly in the Philippine public school set up, what is written in the curriculum is totally different to what is put into practice because of the expected and unexpected factors to consider hindering the full implementation of the education curriculum. The theory remains ideal while practice faces the reality.

According to (Beijaard, Meijer, Morine-Dershimer & Tillema, 2005; Hammerness, 2011) reform of teacher education programs has been a key topic during the past decade.  Several studies indicate a gap between theory and practice in teacher education (Kansanen et al., 2000; Korthagen, 2001; Meijer, 2010). Educational theory is understood as formal knowledge produced about education, and educational practice as the teaching activity carried out in education establishments (Álvarez, 2013). Furthermore, pedagogical practice as the way in introducing students to the application of pedagogical knowledge in the implementation of the educational work with children is a form of direct connection between educational theory and practice and a form of practical preparation of future teachers for independent and high quality, direct educational work with children and beginning of permanent professional development. (Obradovi?, B.P., College of Professional Studies Educators, Gnjilane – Bujanovac, S., 2013). Many have attempted to overcome the perceived gap between theory and practice (Westbury et al. 2005). Today, the dominating view is that theory and practice should be integrated (Leinhardt et al. 1995). Reflection is often viewed as the proper way to achieve this integration. Therefore, the importance of reflection and reflection skills in teacher education and teachers’ professional development has been discussed more and more (Korthagen & Vasalos, 2005; Dewey, 2011). However, it has been found that it is not easy to reflect on one’s own teaching activities and some support is required in this process (Beijaard, Meijer, Morine-Dershimer & Tillema, 2005; Shulman & Shulman, 2004). Several models of professional education stress the continuing cycle of an interplay between theory, practice, and reflection as the way to engender changes in students’ attitudes and practices (Hill 2000). Among the alternatives to the naïve ‘application-of-theory’ model of the first part of Twentieth Century is the ‘constructivist approach’ (Kroll 2004) that encourages students to develop grounded theories based on information gathered from the world of practice (Carlson 1999). Another influential new model of professional education is the ‘realistic approach’, which directs the ‘theory’ towards the largest challenges of professional practice (Korthagen & Kessel 1999, Korthagen 2001).

Question #3: Among the current pedagogical theories, which one has greatly influenced your teaching practice?

Among the current pedagogical theories, the one which has greatly influenced my teaching practice is also one of the great factors which affect the way I perceive and learn things. This is according to www.tesolclass.com (2018) comes from the combination of psychology and structural linguistics. These two form a teaching approach audio-lingual method (ALM). One of the keys to ALM is Stimulus-Response-Reinforcement or S-R-R. In 1911, psychologist John B. Watson took key elements of observation and experimental rigor but wrote a seminal paper, Psychology as the Behaviorist View It. In this manifesto, he explained that in order for psychology to be taken seriously as a science, the focus needed to turn toward objective, observable behaviors (Nebel C., 2017). In addition, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018) states that Behaviorism was a movement in psychology and philosophy that emphasized the outward behavioral aspects of thought and dismissed the inward experiential, and sometimes the inner procedural aspects as well. Behaviorists’ suggest knowledge is transmitted to the learner without any interpretation or contextualization by the learner. Learning is reinforced in the memory through drill and practice. (Morrison, 2014).

In my specific field of profession, I can say, Dr. Bert J. Tuga is correct when he once said that learning in Physical Education (PE) subject is overt. It must be observable. In PE, to move is to learn. No one learns the skill without conducting movement. Not just a mere movement, but a significant one.

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