The paper focuses on three main problems I have found in teaching local development. The introduction shortly discusses the importance of a pragmatist theory of action to better understand dynamics of local development. The first drawback is linked with some prejudices that students frequently have on the costs structure of a firm, which is reduced to the only cost of labor. I argue that it is possible to face this hindrance deeply listening to the categories in use by students, and helping them doing short field works. The second difficulty comes from the use of case study research, and I argue that case studies can be used not only to compare and generalize, or to exemplify, but also to undermine, to open up space for conjectures. The third impediment comes from the students’ attitude to consider strategic planning as a sort of panacea. This requires to use a theory of action that better articulate the level of planning with other levels, where incertitude or intimacy are more relevant, as in Laurent Thévenot’s model. It also implies to conceptualize the relations among conflict, cohesion and development, and to stress didactic active instruments involving the witness of operators daily working in the field.