There appears to be a divide between theory and practice…and as always I find myself wondering why. The divide appears to be constructed by the academy itself…even in class this weekend we were told that the HRD people are practical and the Adult Ed. people are more idealistic. It doesn’t appear to be an indictment of either group although we all have our biases.
The exchange left me wondering about the academy in general – so we have all these great theories that are enforced by empirical evidence – we write about it in journals written for other academics – then we sit back and wait for everyone else to read it? There are some academics who take their message out, but if it is wrapped in academic discourse how much good does it do? Every group has their own discourse but I do believe it is our responsibility to translate into practitioner language.
As someone who has been on both sides, I agree that it is hard to find the time to read academic journals, and it is hard to find the desire as well. That feeling of being apart, perhaps even marginalized, by those in the ivory tower. Theory does information practice – which in return informs theory – but if it is not disseminated what purpose does it serve? Beyond of course the intellectual curiousity of the few, and my own edification of course.
I find this with cultural studies – I find the theories vital to displaying modes of discourse that marginalize groups. We are so wrapped up in our ways of doing that reflexive practice is necessary to recognize who we are leaving out. This can be done in the framework of empirical research, but we should not valorize the scientific method if we are not aware of its limitations as well. Science is rhetorically based, it is not the “truth”, in that we have to recognize the social context in which the scientific research was performed and described.
So the ramblings that leave me still questioning theory and practice…I want both but how do I find a place for both beyond the lip-service that I’ve found so far? I need to make that place.