Archive - February 13, 2019

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Theoretical vs. Practical Education: Which wins the education debate?

Theoretical vs. Practical Education: Which wins the education debate?

Education is what helps the society advance, and each country has its own individual education systems that function differently. The diverse approaches to education are due to the fact that each governing body focuses on different aspects of education. For some, it is more important to provide free education, and for others, it is more important to provide skill-based education.

Generally, the biggest debate in education is between theoretical and practical education. These two different approaches to education talk about the different teaching methods and end goals in both the categories.

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What is theoretical education?

Theoretical education is what we most commonly see in Indian schools today. This school of thought focuses on learning from textbooks and written materials. Theoretical education relies on examinations to test students on what they have learned by reading books or finishing assignments provided by the teachers. Theoretical learning largely focuses on writing and reading to imbibe concepts and to learn.

 

What is practical education?

Practical education takes a completely different approach to education. It focuses on teaching through practice. Practical education does involve some form of theoretical learning because that is the primary base of education. However, where this approach differs is it promotes experiments, solving real-life problems and applying theory to real- life situations. This allows students to learn exactly how the words in their textbook apply to real life.

 

The advantages of practical education

Captivates student’s interest

Practical education captures the students’ interest as compared to simply reading and remembering from a book. When students are allowed to do something with what they have learned, they are likely to be more interested in learning. No matter which grade a student belongs to, when given a practical activity to check their theoretical concepts, they are more likely to do it better since it is more captivating and helps them retain the information better.

 

Has a deeper impact

Students often forget what they have read within a month or two, despite exams and tests. With practical education, they are likely to remember more and the concepts they have learned will leave an impression for a longer time. Practical education also has a deeper impact on the minds of students as compared to simply reading and learning. For example, a student is likely to remember that a certain acid is corrosive if they see it actually causing this effect on a certain material.

 

Put theory to practice

Putting theory to practice is the best way to learn. This hands-on learning approach allows students to test what they have read about in books. This fosters curiosity and a love of learning in students, which is slightly difficult to do with just theoretical education. When students see for themselves what theory teaches them, they are likely to remember it better.

 

Real life situations

At the end of the day, students are educated to deal with real-life situations. With only theory in their mind, how will they know what to do in a real-life situation? For example, if we teach students about the concept of CPR by asking them to read the entire process, they will know what to do in theory. But in contrast, if we ask them to read the entire process and then actually perform CPR on a dummy, they are more likely to be able to give someone CPR in a real-life emergency.

 

Improves skills

Skills are what will help students become successful later in life. Whether it is problem- solving or technical skills, we don’t ask students to only read how to solve an algebra problem, we ask them to solve it. So why shouldn’t we incorporate skills for other subjects and fields into their overall school and college education? In the same way, teaching students how to perform a solder and allowing them to do it practically is a better way to help them develop this skill for their future.

 

No rote learning

Rote learning means reading and memorizing. For the longest time, the Indian education system has relied on this method to teach students. But rote learning doesn’t do any favors for the student or for their future. This learning method doesn’t challenge teachers either, because all they have to do is teach, make them memorize, and then simply test them. Teachers and students both benefit from challenging education techniques that involve theory and practice both.

 

Conclusion

A healthy combination of theoretical and practical education is the only way forward for our education system. Theory, by itself, does not teach the relevant skills or equip students for the real world. Practical education, by itself, cannot stand without a base in theoretical education.

Therefore, it becomes necessary to combine these two concepts in varying percentages based on the grade and skill level of the students to give them a quality education and make them better professionals.

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