A common refrain internationally today is that teaching should be evidence-based, and certainly, that is the ideal. However, it will be a long time before all the evidence is in. It can take millions of dollars and many years to test the impact of just a few teaching strategies; yet teachers must daily use a large repertoire of strategies. So what to do in the meantime?
Teachers must rely largely on their judgment about what is most likely to have a positive impact (drawing of course on their training, PD, and years of experience). This isn’t ideal, but it’s better than waiting until the evidence is complete.
We commonly use our judgment in evaluating teachers and teacher candidates. We say things like “So and so is one of the best teachers I’ve seen,” without having detailed student outcome data. Equally, we must let teachers exercise judgment about what and how to teach. We should give them our advice, evidence-based or not; but it should build on their current judgment and practices. Clive