Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What About....Best Practices?

Most of us have heard the term “best practices” bandied about, but where does it come from? The business sector, particularly those who develop business models for major corporations, coined the phrase decades ago and since it has expanded to apply to all types of fields and disciplines.

In the field of education, “best practices” might refer to those behaviors or instructional patterns used by teachers to gain some measure of success with their students. But what exactly are those and more importantly, can they be defined as practices that apply to all groups, in all situations? No, they cannot.

As we all know, teaching can be a subjective and highly personal activity. Most of us prefer it that way and want to continue down our own little road of “success,” not bothering to share what works or more importantly, to talk about what is not working. Some might feel intimated and afraid that perhaps they do not measure up to others in talent and skill of lesson planning and delivery. Some might feel that their methods might be considered too Avant Garde or too antiquated. Whatever the reason, it is difficult for teachers to expose themselves through open discussions with their colleagues. However, there are a few things we can do quietly, without calling attention to ourselves.

The “best practice” that we can all do is to try and keep up with current trends and evaluate how they might fit with our individual style of teaching. The “best practice” we can all do is to self-evaluate as we teach and to never be fully content with our product. The “best practice” we can all do is to be willing to try new ways of doing things in our classroom and to know that it is okay to fail. After all, to practice something is to get better and better at it over time and isn’t that the “best practice” we should do for ourselves and for our students?

For more about best practices or to share your ideas with us, visit the CTE in TLC 324 or email Carole Kendy at kendyc@star.lcc.edu.