Another dot in the blogosphere?

Can practices be transmitted?

Posted on: July 22, 2014

Earlier this month I read an ST forum letter written by a person who hoped that there was some way to retain older teachers because they could transmit best practices.

I have reflected on why I think we should not take the phrase “best practices” seriously [1] [2].

Now I am wondering if practices can actually be transmitted. By that I think the writer meant the passing on or handing down of practices like rituals, stories, and examples. The thing about such transmission is that the context and meaning for such practices often gets lost.

Even the transmission of light is not without incident. It can be reflected, refracted, diffused, or diffracted so much so that what it used to represent is not the same as the original.

I do not discount the good work of experienced teachers. But we must distinguish between the experienced teachers who continue to learn and those who rely on outdated formulae.

Both types of teachers can offer “best” practices, but one set of experiences is more valuable than the other. One set accommodates, and is perhaps strengthened by the reflection, refraction, diffusion, or diffraction of practice.

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