A Witty and Creative TitlePosted: August 28, 2011
In theory, I would write a brilliant opening sentence. In practice, I can think of nothing. However, that’ll have to do since one cannot finish something without beginning it.
In grade 6, 7 and 8 I had a teacher who I adored. This was not a common opinion. She was strict, but fair and expected a lot from her students. Most importantly, she was excellent at teaching, as some of my classmates later discovered. She taught us how to do a math problem, but also why a certain method was best. She taught us the practice and the theory. Instead of giving us a fish, she showed us how to fish.
And that, most wonderful and learn-ed readers, is why theory is so important. It helps one understand the practice and thus adapt it to multiple situations. There are some people, however, who find theory to be pointless, and others for whom theory is really the most interesting (and thus most valuable at times) of the two.
Practice, is the mickey to theory’s minnie, the eeyore to its Winnie. Just as skeptics of evolution like to say: it’s just a theory (until proven by practice).
For example, theoretically tougher crime and gun laws quelled a growing crime wave in 1990s US. Some argue that this is not the case, that legalized abortion was the real cause. Which is it?
Or how about this: theoretically disseminating knowledge of the ill effects of smoking should prevent people from smoking. It doesn’t work. People are more swayed by peer pressure and the desire to look cool than the possibility (albeit a high one) of death by cancer*.
If those examples are too dry for you, think of the fifth Harry Potter book**. Umbridge, as part of the Ministry’s attempt to quell Dumbledore’s supposed army-creating operation, taught only the theory in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Our main characters (and several others) were quite unhappy, what use was theory when practice is what’s needed to perform a spell successfully?
Theory is not enough. Practice is not enough. Both are necessary and important parts of education, knowledge and understanding. Personally, I like theory, but I find it even more interesting when I learn how it can be useful in practice.
*Not actually based on fact. I’m just making a (logical) guess.
**If you’ve been reading all my blog posts, you’ll know I’ve used a lot of HP comparisons. I have my reasons though! Number one: its at the top of my mind since the final movie came out and I’m re-reading the fifth one right now. Also, its so ubiquitous that I know that people will likely understand the point I’m trying to make.