Opening the theory box

Erik Blair


The role of theory is keenly debated in education but there does not seem to be much focus on what exactly we mean when we say the word ‘theory’. This paper is an attempt to start to understand what the construct ‘theory’ means to educational practitioners and in doing so I offer three rhetorics of theory: ‘Theory as Other’, ‘Theory as Guidance’, and ‘Theory as Personal Pedagogy’. This paper is not an attempt to qualify and quantify but an invitation to other practitioners to examine what the word ‘theory’ might mean to them.

Blair, E. (2011) Opening the theory box. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 4(1). Available at: [Accessed 21 Apr, 2024].



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