Daniel D. Pratt

Daniel D. Pratt

Hall of Fame Class of 2011

For 35 years, Daniel D. Pratt has focused his scholarship and professional practices on what teaching and learning mean across variations in personal beliefs, social norms, disciplinary traditions and geographical cultures. He has identified and published widely on various antecedents that give rise to differences in understanding and enacting the social role of teacher and the consequences for the evaluation of teaching in adult and higher education. His scholarly work has moved us well beyond the pedagogy vs. andragogy divide that characterized much of adult education during the 1970s and 1980s. In its place, we have a greater understanding of and respect for the ways in which diversity influences learning, teaching, and the evaluation of teaching in adult and continuing education. 

His published work has impacted the research and instruction at universities worldwide, including adult education departments, teacher training programs, faculty development units, and nursing and medical education programs. Within the professions, most notably medical education, his work has had major impact on faculty development programs to improve teaching. He has been an advisor to medical schools and continuing professional education units around the world as they use his scholarly work to frame the way they train medical students and residents.

Pratt has worked with a number of continuing medical education groups in Canada and abroad. For example, in 2003, he began working with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to redesign their orthopaedic educator’s course, the longest running CME course of the AAOS. Pratt made a major change in course content by building the curriculum around eight guiding principles. Those principles continue to serve as the framework for the week-long course.

Pratt’s most notable achievement as a scholar comes in two related forms: first, a set of empirical studies that he and his graduate students at the University of British Columbia conducted over a period of 10 years as they explored two fundamental questions: what does it mean “to teach” and how does the meaning of teaching vary across cultures, disciplines, and contexts of teaching adults? This line of work resulted in the publication of the book Five Perspectives on Teaching in Adult and Higher Education

The second part of this achievement was done in collaboration with his colleague, John Collins. Together and across several years of testing, they transformed the empirical framing of perspectives on teaching into an online, self-scoring instrument: the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). By 2011, more than 150,000 educators from 105 countries had completed the TPI and used the interpretation guide as a tool for reflecting on their teaching identities. In January 2011, the TPI became available in Chinese, French, Japanese, and Portuguese, as well as Spanish and English.

For his corpus of work, Pratt was awarded the 2008 3M Teaching Fellowship, Canada’s most prestigious award for work related to improving the quality of teaching across Canada and around the world.