I am a bit afraid to complete this blog for fear of what other teachers might say about my declaration. Yes. I believe that the teachers need more theories.
When I was a young, inexperienced teacher, I used to think that theories are for professors who never had to work with any real students in their lives. I believed these professor who only lived in their heads should quit wasting my time by giving me a whole bunch of theories, and just tell me what to do with my real, live, and difficult students.
But now after 10 years of teaching, I finally realized what they were trying to do. They were trying to make my job a bit easier by providing a framework and patter that I could apply to 90% of the time.
I came to this conclusion because I realized how to be a better teacher. For example, I realized what I was doing wrong with grammar instruction. I used to focus on the “exceptions” to the rules. Now I teach my students about the patterns in English.
And I think the theories can be that: an anchor for teachers to find their center in their overall instructional practices. Just as a leader will rely on his or her philosophy to guide his overall decision making process, teachers need more sound theories to ground themselves.
Teachers are in human business. As a result, it is too easy to let us get swept away by the minute details of our day-to-day problems. We need sound theories to keep us steady.