Whenever researchers or policy introduce new concepts, teachers ask for good practices: "What does this new concept look like in the classroom?".
Logical question, right?
Teachers and principals are faced with many innovative concepts and policies. Even when practices are so called evidence-based and backed up by lots of research, the main question remains: how do I do this in my classroom?
In fact, it's other teachers' experiences that convince teachers to try something new in their classroom, not the scientific evidence behind those innovative practices. How are others approaching it? What results do they see? Why do they believe in it? Why do they think it is worth the effort?
So, if we want to integrate research-based innovation (such as self-regulated learning) into everyday classroom practice, we'll have to actively search for those good practices and share them.
1) What does a good practice look like?
The truth is: collecting such good practices is much more challenging than one would expect. What is the difference between an example, a good practice, and a best practice? Who will use the good practices and why?
The teacher who wants to start experimenting and searches for some inspiration and easy-to-try examples?
The more advanced teacher who wants to improve his practice but also has other priorities to respond to?
The researcher who knows which practices have most impact and what elements explain the success of these practices?
Depending on who you are and on your prior knowledge, you might need and want a different type of good practice. Beginning teachers may want some concrete examples that can inspire them to start experimenting. Researchers, however, may be reluctant to call these examples good practice, as they may want to share good practices that describe high quality examples.
2) Finding the practices underneath a new concept
New concepts (such as self-regulated learning) are often quite abstract and can't be implemented right away. It requires careful analysis of what concrete elements are underneath. Self-regulated learning, for example, is in fact an umbrella concept which collects numerous concrete strategies such as time management, help-seeking, and self-evaluation. It is almost impossible to describe a good practice that covers the entire self-regulation spectrum and at the same time provides sufficient concrete tools to use in classroom practice. Hence, good practices are likely to only illustrate part of the new concept. Yet, the partial integration of the concept is not likely to yield the same results as fully implementing a concept.
3) Who is capable to identify good practices?
It requires a certain knowledge level before you can identify good practices in your own classroom, and before you feel comfortable sharing it as a good practice with others. As people are only starting to experiment with new concepts, the knowledge level is naturally only starting to build up. Hence, only few people can in fact collect, describe, and share good practices. At SLIDEshow we described 8 different levels of knowledge concerning self-regulated learning. Have a look! Chances are high only level 4 and level 5 teachers are able to identify and share good practices!
At SLIDEshow, we experienced all of the above challenges when collecting good practices concerning the support of students' self-regulated learning. We'll soon write a post about the main lessons learned.
In the meanwhile, have a look at the self-regulated learning classroom practices shared on this website. Wish to contribute a practice of your own? Don't hesitate to log-in to this website (e.g. via your google account) and share your example in a post!