Irene learns about teaching – Part 1c

Old style school desk painted blue against a blue wall.

The final piece of this module was a two-page written assignment exploring Pratt and Collins (2000-2020) Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). I was able to determine that my dominant perspectives are Developmental and Apprenticeship, my fall back perspectives are Transmission and Nurturing, and my recessive perspective is Social Reform (Pratt & Collins, 2000-2020). However, given that my current teaching practice is not the traditional classroom/semester model, I found Pratt and Collins explanations of the perspectives limited and I turned to Bates (2015) work on teaching, specifically explanations of campus-focused and online-focused teaching to deepen my understanding.

Tony Bates has written a creative commons licensed text on teaching in online and digital environments for University professors. In Chapter 3, Bates considers teaching methods currently used in campus-based environments and illustrates the five teaching perspectives from Pratt and Collins using examples, historical references and analysis. Using terms like “learning by listening” (p. 84),”learning by talking” (p. 91), “learning by doing” (p.95), and “learning by feeling,” Bates (2015) expanded my understanding of the different perspectives and what they can offer when reflecting on teaching and learning.

In particular, I gained at better understanding of the Nurturing and Social Reform perspectives, the two areas that I had the lowest scores in on the TPI. The Nurturing summary from Pratt and Collins discussed developing self-esteem and enhancing effort in a safe environment. On the surface, I had some objection to this idea, not because I want students to be in an unsafe environment or not to have good self-esteem but rather that at the college level, results matter, not just effort, and learning can be uncomfortable and frustrating. It seems like Nurturing was being too nice or feeling sorry for students. Through Bates, I understood Nurturing to be empathizing with the learner. encouraging learning with appropriate supports; a perspective where the teacher takes the role of a critical friend (Costa & Kallick, 1993).

The Social Reform perspective seemed to put the teacher in the role of knowing all that is good and right for society and molding students into that image. I see a danger in this if the teacher is not able to be open to learners’ value and viewpoints. There are aspects of this perspective in college level education with the emphasis on developing well rounded citizens in addition to proving vocational outcomes. Through Bates, I drew a parallel between Social Reform and collectivism.

I have more thinking, reading, talking, and feeling to do about the Nurturing and Social Reform to sort out what benefits these could bring to my teaching rather than to continue to reject them out of hand.


Bates, A. W. (2015) Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning [Electronic version]. Vancouver BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from

Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (1993). Through the lens of a critical friend. Educational Leadership, 51,(2), 49 – 51. Retrieved from

Pratt, D. D. & Collins, J. B. (2000-2020). Teaching perspective inventory. Retrieved from

Featured image: Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash