I shared this video on the idea of “traditional practice” about a year ago:
A couple of thoughts:
1. Traditional practice does not equal bad practice. We can’t use the terms interchangeably.
— George Couros (@gcouros) February 13, 2019
I have been thinking a lot about the concept of “traditional” not being the same as “bad” when we think of teaching practice.
One of the thoughts that I had was when others say that “lecture” is not a good practice for learning. When they share that thought, are they thinking of the worst lecture they have had or the best? If I think of some of the best lectures or talks I have heard in my educational career, I have learned a ton from them. For example, I had a professor of History in university, and he would talk for an hour with no notes, slides, or anything, for an hour, twice a week in my class, and I could listen to him all day. I rarely took notes because of the way he shared stories stuck in my head long after the class was finished. I have seen the idea of “the one doing the speaking is the one doing the learning,” and I could say in that class, I learned a ton by just listening.
I have seen bad lectures as well, but I have also seen bad projects. The delivery with most ideas for teaching and learning is crucial. I have written before that “PowerPoint Doesn’t Suck” and then provided suggestions on how to improve presentation style. The idea behind the post was to think about ways you could make the idea of a presentation more powerful and “sticky” for learning. But you could apply the same view to any “teaching and learning” practice; here are some ways to make _________ more powerful for learning.
There is such a thing as “bad practice” in education. But let’s not conflate the idea that our “worst experience” with a methodology makes it inherently a weak practice. Instead, if we think of the “best” way an idea could be delivered, would the practice work for at least some of our learners?
“New” does not equal “good” and “traditional” does not equal bad.
The delivery matters.