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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Effective Education: Where's the Evidence?

In so many ways my teaching has been fueled by the many ideas I read about and learn. I quickly take hold of a good idea and embed it into my teaching. The challenge here has been that others who visit my classroom or listen to me speak of my work don't understand what I'm doing yet children are happy and successful--the ideas work.

As I think about this and learn with my SEL study group, I realize that I often don't make the time to support my ideas well with evidence, the kind of evidence that colleagues and other adults look for when they approve an idea. How do you know this is a good idea? is the question that stands forefront in their minds.

I don't think I'm alone in this because teachers like me are focused more on the actual classroom teaching and events. Since time is precious, many of us may quickly jump from learning about a good idea to applying it. We use our intuition as a guide, intuition that's been developed over our tenure as teachers.

As we teach students to speak and write convincingly with evidence, it's clear we have to do the same when we meet with our colleagues and share ideas with administrators. It's likely that our intuition is usually well routed, but it's clear we need to bring the evidence too of why and how these ideas empower, engage, and educate students well.