Praxis – The Rarest of the Three

Aristotle divided human activities into three broad categories: thinking (theoria), making (poiesis), and doing (praxis). Put another way, I suppose, they are the why, the what, and the how.

In very coarse terms, and trying to link it to rhetoric,  I wonder how it matches the various posts I read on Twitter and blogs. The categories match well but I’m struggling to find indicators for good praxis posts.

Theoria posts 

There are a huge amount of posts or tweets on theoria (even more so if you include feeling in that category).

Examples might include:

  • Hack wisdom (“Teachers lose their way when they lose their why”)
  • Out-of-date management speak (“Teachers are change agents”)
  • Truisms (“Trust is important”)
  • Links to research papers & discussions of it (the odd one out in this category)
  • Many of the alpha-tweeters – they’re fascinating to read but seem to follow the same trajectory that bedevils management, becoming further and further removed from real teaching.

Poiesis posts

These are infinitely more useful in many ways but harder to sift through.

Examples might include:

  • Links to lesson plans that have been tried
  • Pictures of displays
  • Pictures of student work
  • Comments about days at school or lessons

Praxis posts

Perhaps I just haven’t found the right people to follow yet, but these for me are the rarest and hardest to find.

There are some who do this by regularly blending theoria and poiesis – Cristina and Harry are two excellent examples that spring to mind – but this category, while it’s an El Dorado of sorts, seems far harder to pin down. It’s easy to come up with examples to fit the categories above but Praxis seems far more mercurial.

The best indicator I have at the moment is both the sort of blend mentioned above and the richness of discussion. If anyone has any better ways of zeroing in (or recommendations of people to follow), I’d love to hear.