The role of evidence in teachers’ professional decision making

In this post, I worry that an emphasis on evidence-based practice would lead to prescribed practice, which would narrow teachers’ opportunities and options for making their own decisions about practice. I will discuss the role of a teacher, and the purpose of education. Next, I will discuss the role of cultural and instrumental research, and suggest that education research holds a unique role for informing education practice. I will take a closer look at what ‘evidence’ is, what forms of data are collected, and some of the limitations of evidence. Finally, I will look at the other sources of information teachers can use to make decisions, caution against taking evidence at face value, and plead for the time, space, and access to research that teachers require to make decisions.

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