Thursday, September 13, 2018

Some things work . . . Some things do not

We know what works and, just as importantly, what doesn't work.

(That doesn't mean that new ideas, new ways of doing things, new practices won't be found. Of course they will and those new ways of doing things will improve our work tremendously.)

But, for now, let's focus on what we do know.

Some things work. 

Some things do not.

Let's do what works.

School teachers and administrators have the What Works Clearinghouse. This website states its purpose is to provide "educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions."

Doctors and patients have Choosing Wisely - a site dedicated to promoting "conversations between clinicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is supported by the evidence, not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received, free from harm, and truly necessary."

If we know what to do and what not to do why do we choose poorly? Daniel Niven, a physician who studied why doctors did not abandon practices that were not effective, reported in a New York Times article that:

Even if the new contradictory science is accepted, providers often struggle applying this information in their daily clinical practice.

There are reasons for why those of us who are supposed to now better do not change.
  1. We work in systems that do not adapt well to change. 
  2. We are stubborn.
  3. We don't keep up with the science in our field.
  4. We trust our gut more than the evidence.
My wish is that those of us in schools, those of us charged with making sure that our students learn, must be willing to use best practice, look at the evidence, and change when we need to and stay the course when it is appropriate.