Chasm between teacher training & practice

Research is an existential attitude and therefore since time immemorial there have been facts established and theories propounded about education in general and learning in particular. This enormous body of research is varied in its scope and orientation. 

Over the years, certain pedagogical theories and components of this research have become very acceptable in teacher training courses:

• theories relating to child development primarily from the works of Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget with Freud and Pavlov on the periphery

• theories relating to curriculum development ranging from integrated to concept-driven

• theories about teaching – learning elaborating on learning styles, differentiated instruction, assessment and evaluation

Educationists who learn about this research and established theories in their teacher training courses, find themselves, right at the beginning of their careers, abandoning them and many a times working in contradiction to them. For instance, there is plenty of research available to support differentiated instruction, yet when teachers enter the school where they should ideally be applying and furthering these theories, they find themselves planning and delivering instruction to a class as a whole.

This would not happen in case of other professions like medicine, law etc. Can you imagine a doctor abandoning what he learnt during his training as a doctor as soon as he begins his practice? Certainly not! But not only is it accepted but also expected for a teacher to leave all sound pedagogy that that he/she has learnt about and adopt the schools agenda which usually is narrowed down to test scores. School systems are designed to suffocate the application of these theories which slowly die a forced death by making teachers work in stark contrast with the intended outcome.

I wonder how would our students learning and teachers’ job satisfaction be affected if schools were created and organised on the basis of available research about teaching-learning and as hubs of furthering this research.