How do you define what best practices in education means? The term ‘best practices’ can be interpreted in different ways but it is most commonly agreed to be a term used to ‘demonstrate instructional balance in learning’ according to Benchmark Education.
A phrase you may come across frequently in life is, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. But what does this phrase mean in relation to teaching practices? Teachers today are able to use practices and strategies that have been created and developed by generations of teachers before them.
Best Practices in education
The teaching strategies teachers use daily began as innovative ideas that were tested and then perfected by their creators. This suggests that the definition for best practice can be interpreted as existing teaching practices that have been proven to be effective.
Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves take this idea further in ‘Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School’ as they suggest best practices are practices that have achieved a high level of effectiveness and have been perfected over a decade or longer.
Best practices in education include:
- Best practices in education
- Best practices in special education
- Best practices in early childhood education
- Best practices in elementary
- Best practices in middle school
- Best practices in high school
- Best practices in higher education
So what are some of the best practices in education?
Strategies and practices can vary depending on the age group and ability of students but some general best practices that are used by teachers today include:
Ensure your next teaching activity is ready and set up before a current one ends. This minimizes disruption between activities and keeps students engaged.
Ask students frequently if they understand what they are being taught. You should also give students multiple ways to convey their answer to you whether that be by a show of hands or an opportunity to speak to you after class.
Establishing your end target can be a great way to start planning. Decide on your end goal and then work backward to figure out how to get there.
Never discard lesson plans or resources you have used, even if you feel your lesson plan wasn’t that strong, you can build upon the plan next time you teach it and improve on any areas you felt were lacking.
Be a role model
You can’t expect your students to behave in an appropriate manner if you do not behave in the same way yourself. Treating students with respect will go a long way in building a positive relationship with them.
The role of research
Some educators have worked to provide data to evidence what they believe to be a teaching best practice. Educational researcher, Robert Marzano spent over a hundred hours observing teaching practices to establish the best strategies for student assessment, vocabulary instruction, and classroom management.
As evidence of this, Marzano’s strategy for building student vocabulary, which involves six steps, is widely used by schools across America. His strategy was greatly influenced by his research as he believes direct instructions are essential and are a best practice for growing student vocabulary.
The next best thing
While it is safe to rely on proven best practices, it is the challenge and privilege for teachers today to advance established practices and make them even better. Educators of any age group, from kindergarten to university, have the responsibility to try to evolve and better teaching practices. For example, best practices can be adapted to take advantage of technology and digital advances. If you remain stagnant in your teaching strategies, you risk ignoring the latest needs of your students, always continue to think in innovative ways and towards the future.
Consider, what best practices do you use in your classroom? How do you plan to advance them? By using and developing best practices in your classroom daily, you are ensuring you are giving your students the best learning environment possible.