Friday, March 10, 2023

Reflection: Best Practices in Education: Prologue: Why Bother?

Throughout my 20+ year career as an educator, I have had the privilege of working with inspiring educators and receiving professional development from thought leaders in education, psychology, social and cognitive science, technology, and more. However, I recently began questioning some of the "progressive" or "innovative" practices that I have learned, implemented and even taught others throughout my journey.

My reflections on the relationship between "best practices" and "innovation" were triggered by my experience at a forward-thinking educational institution where teacher freedom in teaching and learning was encouraged. Upon receiving my new class in August, I realized that my students were lacking basic skills, such as literacy, self-management, and understanding of processes, which were assumed in other schools I have worked at.

This made me realize that innovation must be defined, agreed upon, planned, and contained to create an institution that pushes boundaries while ensuring our students have the necessary skills to lead a successful life. Why contain innovation? Because the more we innovate, the less we teach what we know works well. Therefore, finding a balance between "Highly Effective" and "Learning Progressive" is essential to continue finding the best ways to serve our students (I wrote about this balance here)

although I am fascinated with the ways in which AI will affect humanity and the field of education in particular, I am going to work hard to go on a hunt for some educators and cognitive scientists who are making it a point to always look for instructional strategies that have demonstrated significant research-based evidence, examine their work, and reflect on my own practice.

I invite you to join me on this journey, and if you have any thoughts, ideas, comments, or suggestions, please share them with me.

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