Best Practice

What works best? A critical approach to evidence-based practice in schools

Evidence-based practice is widespread in our schools and classrooms, but it does not go without its critics. Andrew Jones looks at the pros and cons of different approaches to educational research
Image: Adobe Stock -

Over the past 25 years, there has been a growing debate about the nature and quality of educational research and its relationship to practice and policy. This debate was sparked by a lecture given by the sociologist David Hargreaves for the Teacher Training Agency in 1996, in which he questioned whether teaching could be regarded as a research-based profession.

Entitled Teaching as a research-based profession: Possibilities and prospects, Prof Hargreaves argued that the outcomes of educational research had up until that point been disappointing, calling them: “A private, esoteric activity, seen as irrelevant by most practitioners.”

He added that they offered “poor value for money” and pointed out that there were few areas of educational research that were scientifically sound and useful to teachers.

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