The value of teacher research
As has been noted a number of times in this book, the perceived gap between theory and practice tends to lead to polarised views of teaching. When viewed from these opposing positions, theory is sometimes seen as unhelpful in practice while practice is sometimes characterised as atheoretical. These differences are most starkly evident in the stereotype of teaching as doing, in which teachers are only seen as teaching when in the classroom directing students’ learning. Unfortunately, thinking about teaching as doing ignores many other aspects of teaching that are important in shaping the quality of practice, many of which are not immediately evident in this stereotypically narrow view of teaching. Cate Baird’s account in the previous chapter highlights many of these other aspects crucial to the quality of teaching. Bridging the theory-practice gap is important so that the complexity of teaching and learning can be opened up for examination and analysis, the outcomes of which better inform pedagogical practices.