Consequential Educational Practices


Practices arising from popular discourses on learning

Principal Metaphors

Owing to the fact that Correspondence Theories have dominated discussions of formal education for centuries, their associated metaphors tend to infuse contemporary schooling practices – and, so, are prevalent across many Consequential Educational Practices:
  • Knowledge is … external, objective truth
  • Knowing is … internal, subjective understanding
  • Learner is … a mental entity in a physical body
  • Learning is … internalizing
  • Teaching is … transmitting


Some discourses included among Consequential Educational Practices trace back millennia, but there is a concentration of influence corresponding to the emergence of Standardized Education in the 1700s and 1800s


Consequential Educational Practices are, in effect, translations of theories and beliefs into educational actions and policies. Almost every discourse on learning has relevance for teaching. For those discourses concerned mainly with interpreting learning (i.e., in the bottom half of our map), advice on teaching is most often indirect and inferential. For those discourses concerned mainly with influencing learning (i.e., in the top half), recommendations are more direct and explicit. Even so, most Consequential Educational Practices cannot be properly described as “discourses on learning,” and so we have gathered them together on the edge of our map and grouped them in the following categories:


The implication of unidirectionality in the description above – that is, of theories and beliefs giving rise to Consequential Educational Practices – is somewhat misleading. As Consequential Educational Practices define the experiences of teachers and students, it becomes clear that they are not just the outcomes of theories and beliefs; they play significant roles in framing, amplifying, and perpetuating particular perspectives and attitudes.  

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2021). “Consequential Educational Practices” in Discourses on Learning in Education.

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