“Best Practices” Can Be the Worst Practices?

Don’t miss the new TNTP report on costly, mostly ineffective professional development for teachers. The “best practices” that districts use to help their teachers improve may be a mirage that’s stopping them from pursuing new strategies.

–Chad Aldeman

4 Replies to ““Best Practices” Can Be the Worst Practices?”

  1. “a mirage that’s stopping them from pursuing new strategies.”

    What are these fabulous “new strategies” that everyone should be pursuing? Wasn’t professional development a new strategy a couple of years ago? The report itself suggests the “new strategy” of holding teachers accountable for student performance might be a good idea, though I’d suggest that it helps, a lot, to have a politically powerful mayor in charge as well.

  2. I read the report, all 68 pages and notes. It is a bit disingenuous to compare three large urban districts with a small charter chain. First, charters, as Chris Barbic finally admitted, select their students. Second, charters are freed from a great many constraints regular schools must adjust to. Third, they often do not admit that they receive extra funds for many things. Beyond that, large urban schools must back fill, something most charters do not have to do. The first 6 years of my teaching career went like this:

    Year One: Second grade. I started in the middle of the year and was the classes third teacher. This is right out of a traditional student teaching program.
    Year Two: Fifth grade at a different school
    Year Three: Started in the fifth grade and then five weeks into the class changed to a 5/6 combination.
    Year Four: 6th grade English and Social Studies at a middle school
    Year Five: 6th grade math and science
    Year Six: Started 6th grade math and science and switched to 8th grade science in the middle of the year.

    All the professional development in the world would not have help me show substantial gains. This, at the same time, that TFA teachers at the same school were guaranteed to stay teaching the same grade level.
    Again Edwonk will do anything to make charters look good and traditional school look bad.

  3. I have seen some PD from the edu-reform movement that is beyond belief.

    The best was from this one edu-guru who used ear pieces to prompt teachers in what to say, and how to stand.

    “Adopt mountain pose…….”
    “Not so enthusiastic about homework completion….”

    The experts and consultants, the folks who will never do anything useful, flooding into the bloody feeding frenzy that has become education reform, is astonishing.

    It makes me sick. They all ought to be working at AM/PM.

  4. So, lame PD, bogus strategies….

    Then fire the teacher who thinks it is junk and does not use it.

    Yep, only in education.

    Imagine this scenario…

    There is a real need to rethink how we land our planes on the carrier. We will learn how to land them backwards.

    We have been driving our ships forward for too long. There needs to be change. A recent study demonstrates that ship crews are more engaged when they put all engines full back and conduct their deployments going backwards.

    We have been firing our weapons with the muzzle pointed towards the target for too long. Recent research show that most soldiers cannot hit a target when under battle stress.

    But reversing the direction of the muzzle, they are sure to hit a target.

    Come clean Eduwonk….the PD movement is ENTIRELY YOUR BAILIWICK and YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY along with the entire eduwonky reform movement.

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