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Is a move from craft- to evidence-based practice possible?

Prepared by John Church, PhD, School of Educational Studies and Human Development

University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

The suggestion that we should begin the transition from craft-based teaching practices to evidence-based teaching practices rests on the central assumption that there exists a tradition of scientific research into learning and teaching together with a corpus of research findings which are directly relevant to improving the effectiveness of current classroom practice. Embedded in this assumption are two important questions. First, is the scientific research into the conditions necessary for learning sufficiently advanced to be used in guiding design experiments aimed at the development of more effective teaching procedures? Secondly, is the research on teaching sufficiently advanced to enable the development of evaluation procedures which will enable teachers to distinguish between effective and ineffective teaching procedures and programmes?