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Posts Tagged ‘best

I could stop blogging and some of my reflections will keep getting daily views.

One of them is my thoughts on “best practices” as a result for searches on “another way to say best practices”. Depend on where and how you search, it might be the second on the list of results.

If you are looking to do something differently or better, why are you looking for another way to say or do the same thing?

A quote attributed — some say wrongly — to Einstein is this: Insanity is doing the same thing differently over and over again and expecting different results. [Google image search]

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. -- Einstein

Another quote from Einstein might hammer the point home: We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

Whether Einstein actually said these words is immaterial. We should not need a famous person to tell us what we know and experience every day at work and school.

If ignorance of the issue is not the barrier to change, then inertia is. Battle entrenched culture, stubborn leadership, reluctant individuals. But do not find a different way to do the same thing. This adds to the problem instead of solving it.

On the surface, this STonline article lets readers know that some tutors are taking their roles more seriously. They are seeking professional development to stay current.
 

 
Read the report more critically and “best practices” could raise an alarm. While there might be such practices in industry and business, we should be concerned if they belong in the areas of schooling and education.

I have reflected on why “best practices” is a misnomer, is a bad set of practices, and should not be co-opted in education.

In the context of tuition, can there really be “best” practices when there are different kinds of tuition? Is the group spearheading this move going to address all the different needs and contexts?

The tuition industry in all its forms has its critics and cynics. While it should be associated with help for all who need it, segments are also associated with highly selective agencies and entry tests. While it could focus on remediation or personalisation, it is also known for shortcuts and formularisation.

I am not advocating a lack of standards or guidelines. I am worried about the answer to this question: What if the “best practices” includes what is undesirable in tuition as practiced here in Singapore?

Every day for the last four years, my reflection on “best” practices gets some views. My thoughts were incomplete so I wrote a follow-up in 2015 with links to others who had written about why “best” practices might be one of the worst ideas.

Unfortunately, that term persists.

This tweet is probably one of the best arguments against the term” “Best practices lose their effectiveness when we use them as an excuse to keep doing what we’ve been doing”.

In other words, what we might think as the best practices might create complacency and stop us from thinking about next practices. What is even better? What is truly creative and innovative? What is more efficient and effective?

I could not decide which image to use for this quote. This one:

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.  — Alexandra K. Trenfor

Or this one:

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.  — Alexandra K. Trenfor

So I made both.

ImageCodr must be a good teacher. It shows me where to look for CC-licensed images, but it does not tell me what to use. I decided on these two generously shared photos.
 

 

Looking forward... by hktang, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  hktang 

There are a few of my blog entries that seem to get hits every day even though they are a few years old. One of them is “Alternative to ‘best’ practices?“.

That particular reflection was a series of a few. To provide some context, I am listing my thoughts on this contentious issue in today’s entry.

  1. 15 Sep 2012: There is no BEST practice (Contexts may not transfer)
  2. 17 Sep 2012: Alternative to “best” practices? (Contexts are different; best implies there is no need to get even better)
  3. 22 Jul 2014: Can practices be transmitted? (There is signal loss; not all signals are relevant or timely)
  4. 24 Sep 2014: Be wary of “best practices”: Slides 5-9 (Best for whom? Have you considered all contexts?)

 

Just Beware by MTSOfan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  MTSOfan 

 
I was not the first to write against “best practices” and I will not be the last. Here are a few other bloggers or authors who have been more articulate than me with their thoughts about this issue.

  1. The Sham of Best Practices by Larry Cuban
  2. Why Best Practices Don’t Work for Knowledge Work by Luis Suarez
  3. On Best Practices by Shelley Blake-Plock
  4. “Best Practice”—The Enemy of Better Teaching by Bradley Ermeling, James Hiebert, and Ronald Gallimore

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