When ‘Best Practices’ Mean ‘Average’

01/26/11 05:07:pm

When President Obama suggested last night that current students should strongly consider becoming teachers, I felt both pride and sorrow for our profession. I know many outstanding teachers who love teaching and learning but have been forced to abandon their creative and successful teaching methods because of the current obsession with “best practices” research, which demands that all teachers in a department, school, or even a school district deliver lessons in precisely the same way so that no student ends up in a classroom where the teacher is really bad or really good. Average teaching is considered fine as long as it is fairly distributed.