The TEFL Praxis Association is dedicated to bridging the gap between theory and practice in EFL teaching. TEFL classroom laboratories around the world are uniquely situated to investigate how practical applications of theories and approaches can fulfill the parallel aims of improving language teaching and informing research, in mutually beneficial ways. We celebrate and encourage the work of researcher-practitioners who balance practice, theory, reflection, and action as inseparable parts of a greater whole. Such praxis-based pedagogy generates a grand space in which both the ‘holistic academic’ and the ‘deliberative practitioner’ can thrive; where the distinction between research-informed teaching and teacher-informed research is blurred through collaboration, dialogue and shared practice.
Praxis as a concept encompasses rich and wide-ranging meanings, many with special relevance to language teaching. Dictionary definitions tell us that it involves practical applications of theoretical concepts, or that it is what distinguishes practice from theory; in short, that it is activity based in reality rather than in theory. We prefer the more dynamic sense of praxis which is defined in terms of how practice and theory inform each other through synergy. This definition implies an ongoing process in which we thoughtfully and critically move between practice and theory. It integrates reflection, engagement, action, and even creativity to make praxis a more comprehensive approach to the way we understand our world. With its stress on theoretically reflective action, often involving insights from learners and communities, praxis implies a strong social component that draws research, teaching and learning together as one.
At its heart, praxis involves ‘reflective shared practice’ and ‘informed action’. These meanings have intuitive appeal to holistic academics, practicing language teachers, and teacher trainers. The TEFL Praxis Association views praxis based on the following definition: “the synthesis of theory and practice, without assuming the primacy of either.” Praxis, in this sense, in the way it couples research and practice on equal footing, has enormous potential in ultimately guiding us toward better outcomes for our language learners.
The TEFL Praxis Association is conceived as an open challenge to the gap that separates researchers and practicing language teachers. Our remit is to build toward a stronger teaching-research nexus by challenging traditional approaches to research and theory that are of limited applicability and value to practicing TEFL teachers. In the spirit of researcher-practitioner inclusiveness, we strive for increased reciprocal flow between what happens in classrooms and what gets researched. We seek innovative ways for practicing TEFL teachers to make evaluative contributions to the published output of researchers to ensure that research reporting is always of genuine value to teachers and that practice is always firmly grounded in theory. This is best accomplished through collaborative classroom-based praxis. At the core of our conceptualization of praxis is its potential to help teachers improve their craft and, whenever possible, to shape and inform theory about what happens in TEFL classrooms.
To this end, the TEFL Praxis Association is pleased to launch the TEFL Praxis Journal. We invite submissions that are of immediate interest to language teachers. See our full submissions guidelines for more information.
TEFL Praxis Association: Constitution and Bylaws