The method of praxis is a political ideology that well resonates with educational practice. As an educational concept, praxis strives to combine philosophical teachings with exercise. It underscores the essence of active learning in which the learner is made to be more active in applying knowledge and skills learned instead of merely consuming knowledge (Glass, 2001). In ordinary pedagogy, praxis tries to avoid the indoctrination of learners with concepts whose applications in real life may be burdensome to achieve. In essence, through praxis, the teacher's help learners in applying theories which is essential in developing their practical insights (Edwards-Groves & Kemmis, 2016). In simple terms, praxis can be construed as a combination of theory and action in which scholars are urged to pursue action-oriented research which is likely to yield practical outcomes.
From a Marxist perspective, praxis as an educational paradigm liberates consumers of knowledge from being just absorbers of it to beginning an active interrogation of what indeed constitutes such information as well as their practical implications (Mayo, 2004). Instead of having a mechanistic view of reality, praxis empowers individuals to interrogate every aspect of information to determine not only their scope but also their practicality. The notion of praxis has a close relationship with Marxism (Edwards-Groves & Kemmis, 2016). The concept is akin to Marxs exhortation of for theorists to move beyond merely interpreting the world to changing it. The underpinning of praxis is the need to transform humanity from being subjective to objectivity through deliberate action and active interrogation of every aspect of the world beyond their superficial outlook.
Praxis theory responds to the fact that the traditional approaches including Aristotelian, Platonist, and Cartesian dualisms spit the mind, body and method or practice thus preventing people from attaining the full realization of their sense of humanity. Therefore, praxis strives to eventuate the achievement of a sense of humanity by advancing the need for the body and mind to work in perfect harmony (Glass, 2001). Praxis perceives any form of practical activity as a base for continual learning for an average person while conferring sublime theoretical life on the elite. This process leads to the depoliticization of the ordinary people as they turn their conscience to practical activity that adequately responds to daily needs (Edwards-Groves & Kemmis, 2016). Eventually, the theoreticians and philosophers retain the ability to contemplate the world and develop concepts but then translates such information into actionable ideas that benefit the average person.
Application of the Concept of Praxis to an educational situation
The teachers reserve the responsibility of breaking down complex concepts for the learners to easily conceptualize. However, some leaners may have learning disabilities including the inability to make critical comprehensions or analyze information. In such a situation, both the teacher and leaner must be empowered to develop a sense of intuition which is necessary for overcoming such learning difficulties (Allsup, 2003). In essence, teachers and other educators have to bridge the gap between theory and practice in ways that benefit even the learners with problems. They have to improve their practice and understanding of both the leaners and the perverse approaches to ensure an adequate match between the knowledge imparted and practice. Praxis enhances the capacity of both the instructors and their students to understand methods, develop their practical implications and to promote the impact of such concepts on social improvement (Edwards-Groves & Kemmis, 2016).
In an education system that strives to foster evidence-based teaching that responds to students with a learning disability including the inability to make observations and inferences, the classroom environment must occasionally be altered from a structured one involving relaying of concepts to the students to actively engage them in practice (Glass, 2001). Students with the inability to comprehend and make viable conclusions will obviously have challenges with technical disciplines such as physics, chemistry, and biology. In such instances, it does not suffice to merely provide the leaners with notes and reading materials without comprehensively practicing them (Mayo, 2004). To attain instrumental rationality, the teacher must seek all alternative learning frameworks that lead to an active involvement of the students in the learning processes. In most cases, if an active participation of students with a learning disability is not attained then they may just deceptively express that they understand the teaching but then fail tests. Therefore, in the education of subjects such as chemistry, the teacher cannot concentrate on providing theoretical information without an accompanying deductive instruction (Singh, 2012).
Another field in which praxis results in better educational outcomes is in the teaching of elementary learners who have not yet developed intuitive ability to conceptualize elaborate theories. As part of basic learning, the children are first introduced to physical education in which they learn aspects such as counting, drawing, addition, and subtraction among others. Through such interactive training, the young scholars can develop a clear understanding of how complex concepts are generated which increases their ability to cope with learning at advanced levels (Allsup, 2003). In fact, through a teaching methodology that embraces the theory of praxis, the kindergartens develop a practical understanding of concepts which improve not only their long-term memory but also their ability to apply them in real life situations. Through regular exposer to actual teaching, the children gain a reinforcement of learning resulting better academic performance.
In responding to both the learning inabilities of children and teaching of kindergartens, the theory of praxis helps in developing practical learning methods which result in better performance. Leaner who are exposed to learning paradigms that bridges theory and practice improve the resilience to cope with complex educational demands in their future life (McLaren & Farahmandpur, 2002). Ideally, the teaching profession is a useful problem-solving field thus attempts to help the learner conduct empirical tests whose findings entrench principles that guide their academic growth and concept of such issues (Allsup, 2003). Therefore, teaching practice it should in all ways ensure that it fosters a direct, unidirectional and straightforward avenue for application of the principles derived from theories into a particular instructional situation.
Contribution of the Theory of Praxis Theory to Educational Practice
The concept of praxis provides a foundation basis on which to establish an interactive learning environment that helps students with various learning disabilities to succeed (McLaren & Farahmandpur, 2002). Teaching methodologies that are constructed with cognizance of the concept of praxis transform the learners from being mere receptors of indoctrinated information to active participants in framing own ideas based on espoused theoretical backgrounds (Mayo, 2004). The theory also helps instructors avoid the misconception that methods are facts that can just be directly applied in a classroom situation without subjecting them to tests.
The concept of praxis reinforces learning theories that advocate for a liberal classroom environment in which learners are allowed the chance to attain self-actualization with the role of the teacher being supervisory. In essence, the concept of praxis transforms the teacher from being an indoctrinator of knowledge to a supervisor who facilitates the interaction between the students and learning while occasionally simplifying complex ideas for them. The net effect of praxis is that learners develop ideas, which increase their adaptability to real-life scenarios that may require the application of such skills.
Allsup, R. E. (2003). Praxis and the possible: Thoughts on the writings of Maxine Greene and Paulo Freire. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 11(2), 157-169.
Edwards-Groves, C., & Kemmis, S. (2016). Pedagogy, Education and Praxis: understanding new forms of intersubjectivity through action research and practice theory. Educational Action Research, 24(1), 77-96.
Glass, R. D. (2001). On Paulo Freires philosophy of praxis and the foundations of liberation education. Educational Researcher, 30(2), 15-25.
Mayo, P. (2004). Liberating praxis: Paulo Freire's legacy for radical education and politics.
McLaren, P., & Farahmandpur, R. (2002). Freire, Marx, and the new imperialism: Toward a revolutionary praxis. Counterpoints, 209, 37-56.
Singh, N. K. (2012). Exploration of praxis through personal and professional journey: Implications. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 10(2), 428-443.
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