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2015 Instruction Workshop: Practice vs Praxis

Opening activity

Think about what you have learned in the Instruction Workshops so far. How will you use that knowledge in your future teaching?


Why bother with theory?

  • It can make you be a better teacher - more effective and more creative.
  • It can help you solve problems in the classroom.
  • It demonstrates that you are committed to professional development.

What is praxis?

  • Theory put into practice
  • Action informed by critical reflection

Different Theories

Learning Theories


Behaviorism is an educational theory asserting that behaviors can change as a result of extrinsic motivation such as incentives, rewards, and punishments. Behavioral psychology advocates the process of influencing behavior through the systematic adjustments of stimulus-response reinforcement. Behavioral instruction hinges on the use of observable, measurable, and controllable objectives. An educator determines what objectives are met when the learner responds a certain way.


Cognitivism is an education theory that information is more likely acquired, retained, and retrieved for future use if it is learner-constructed, relevant, and built upon prior knowledge. Cognitive psychology concerns the study of individuals' perceptual processes, problem-solving abilities, and reasoning abilities. Cognitivism means "coming to know," and includes such internal processes as learning, perception, comprehension, thinking, memory, and attention.


Humanist learning theories are concerned with the human potential for growth. Humanism holds that perceptions are centered in experience. Humans believe that people are inherently good and that behavior is the result of choice. They also believe that adults are open to change and lifelong learning.


Constructivism is an educational theory stating that learners do more than absorb and store information. They make tentative interpretations of experience and go on to elaborate and test what they determine. These mental structures are formed, elaborated, and tested until a satisfactory structure is formed. Constructivist theory says that people are active and engage, grapple, and seek to make sense of things.


Originally created by Beth Woodard ACRL Immersion Program 2009