Another dot in the blogosphere?

Best for whom?

Posted on: January 20, 2020

A few weeks into 2020 is still too early to hear someone utter “best practices”. Worse still, the phrase preceded “in teaching”.

There can be good practices and they are all contextual. What works in one classroom can flop in another — there are no “best” methods or ideas that work in all circumstances.

Consider how background music seems to be the norm in restaurants now. I recently had a family dinner in one that sounded like a noisy food court because patrons had to shout to be heard.

Someone thought that music was a good idea and might have looked into the how music could affect mood. One place did it and then everyone else followed suit whether or not they understood why.

When adopted by many, the strategy might be labelled a “best practice”. However, this ignores the fact that it may not be at all good.

In the context of the restaurant I was in, the music was loud enough that people had to talk above it. As more patrons came in, the din built up.

In the context of classrooms, one teacher’s personality, experience, or competence is not the same as another. You cannot blindly apply a “best” method or tool without first considering what is good for that teacher, the students, and the learning environments.

To cite “best practices” is to be lazy and uncritical. It is not a good way to start 2020. I do not just hope that users of such phrases learn to see more clearly. I will help point these things out.

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