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Thread: Theory v. practice

  1. #1
    Apr 2009
    Missoula, MT

    Theory v. practice

    If there is a span in graduate planning programs between programs that focus on practical skills and applied knowledge, and those that focus on theory and research, what do you prefer?

    I went to a highly theoretical undergrad program, but gained a lot of the practical skills in the public sector afterwards - it doesn't take that long to figure out how to write a staff report!

    What do you think? Better to learn the theoretical stuff and develop the skills on the job? Or better to get the technical skills in the classroom and learn the theoretical stuff on your own time as you go?

    And how did your degrees (from one side of the spectrum to the other) affect your performance in the workplace?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    You need to learn the "why" before you do "how". But I see the need for a mix of theory and practical.

    Oh, and welcome!
    Last edited by mike gurnee; 20 Apr 2009 at 6:33 AM. Reason: 'cause

  3. #3
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Jul 2003
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Blog entries
    Welcome from the Queen City of the Rockies, under the Big Sky, inb the Last Best Place.

    I went to grad school at UM. There I learned a lot about planning theory and practice. My internships taught me what I had learned meant in the real world. My first planning job taught be the nuts and bolts of planning.

    I think a good educational foundation, internships and that first job are equal parts of making a person well prepapred for this profession.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  4. #4
    Cyburbian cellophane's avatar
    Jan 2009
    louisville, ky
    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.

    In practice, however, there is.

    i think the choice to look at theory first and then practice or practice and then theory is a personal decision. some people only care about 'how' and are really good at that portion of their job while some people only care about 'why' and arent concerned with the how.

    when i got out of school i had a decent theoretical background (as an architect) and very little practical knowledge of how a building was actually put together. three years later i know a lot more (and i know even less than i actually know) about how a building is put together and it is reinforced by the theory.

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