1. Shanna Opfer

    I love the idea of “next practice” as a necessary part of the “best practice” conversation! I work with pre-service teachers in the university setting and we discuss “best practices” all the time. I will use “next practice” as part of this conversation in the future. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Susanne Zilkie

    This is a great way to clarify what best practice actually is. You’ve summarized in a few paragraphs something that we spend years working around with our teachers and ourselves as leaders in schools. I will be sharing this gem with my teachers.
    Thank you.

  3. Chad

    How people learn has not changed. A teacher who taught well 100 years ago would still be highly effective if they used the same strategies now.

    Students,like people, learn more in the same way than they do in different ways. Learning styles do not exist.

    • Chad,
      Thanks for adding to the conversation! Your comment has me agreeing and disagreeing at the same time. Having spent the last 25 years in front of (and beside) students, I know there are some things that I do day in and day out – the same. I imagine if I were able to keep going for another 75 I would be doing them still.

      On the other hand, I know for sure there are ways in which I approach helping students learn today that I had no knowledge of 5 years ago (let alone 25!). Part of it has to do with learning styles (here’s some interesting reading on different perspectives -https://www.edutopia.org/article/learning-styles-real-and-useful-todd-finley), part of it has to do with teaching style, and part of it has to do with the resources we have at our disposal today.

      I think if the 100-years-ago teacher ONLY used their teaching practices from 100 years ago they would not be fully embracing the possibilities that some of the “next” practices from the last 100 years allow.

      • Chad

        Of course there would be differences between your 25 years and there should be. As teachers develop they change and refine their craft. Technology has changed. When I was in school teachers used an overhead projector but now I am using a document camera. Very similar but a slight change. Instead of using drilling worksheets when I was in school, sometimes I will use online drill quizzes. Same purpose but different modes of giving the students. While the technology has changed, how we learn has not. An expert teacher 100 years ago would still be effective because of that.

        Your article you shared doesn’t really support learning styles. Here’s one http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131516302482.

        The reason why I mentioned learning styles is because George seems to imply that students learn differently. That goes against cognitive science research. People are more similar in how we learn than different. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb12/vol69/num05/Teaching-to-What-Students-Have-in-Common.aspx

  4. Sitembiso Ncube

    Indeed, what looks as best practice for one teacher might not necessarily be for another. I believe that what makes practice to be the “best” is how it is executed-be it old practice or a new practice. Teachers must have the efficacy to execute the practice and strong belief in it for it to influence student outcomes. One old practice can be used creatively to produce student learning. It all depends on how innovative a teacher is.

  5. Doug Corbett

    I love the idea that Best Practice may be the enemy of Innovation. When you add the idea of Next Practice into the mix, it’s awesome. Yes we should all strive for Best practice, but know that Next Practice allows us to ensure that our students and future students are getting the best possible teaching. Love it.

    • Chizoma

      I agree that best practice hijacks innovation because
      best practice are set rules to be followed.However,innovation should modify best practice to align with the change of time.In other words best practice should not be static.

  6. George, as always you have aimed the spotlight on another important element of really helping students learn – practice! Identifying “best” or “next” is critical, just as knowing what “bad” looks like. Research helps us to identify the whole range of practices, but I am drifting from my point.

    The critical element is that the notion of teaching as “a professional practice” is being DISCUSSED by teachers – with teachers – in our schools. It is this discussion, in a development focussed (not evaluative!) setting that allows bad to become best and then next.

  7. Not only do we need to consider best practice in teaching but also in evaluating outcomes. When we gauge success based on rote methodology where learning means memorizing facts and bubbling in a scantron, text books and chapter review summaries could do the trick. If we want our students to understand the relationship between Manifest Destiny and the decimation of native people and the environment and how we can see that pattern replayed throughout history, for example, then apply it when considering current events, the entire game changes. Global citizens who will need to think critically and create new technologies will never be created by rote learning, and their depth of understanding and ability to apply learning will never be adequately assessed by a Scantron. Next Practices for instruction and assessment are needed to meet the needs of our next reality.

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