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Evidence-based education

This is a jargon term of British educationalists and still rather rare. It is obviously based on the older and better established term evidence-based medicine. It may have been used first by David Hargreaves, Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, in 1996. The idea behind all evidence-based approaches is that the methods that practitioners use should be evaluated to prove whether they work, and that the results should be fed back to influence practice. It’s an attempt to move from individualistic and personal approaches to one in which traditional ideas are tested and where necessary changed. It tries to link research and day-to-day practice more closely than in the past. In Britain the term evidence-based very much reflects the views of the Labour government, which is trying to adopt standard approaches based on what is known to work, both in the National Health Service and in education. However, critics of evidence-based education point to the complexities and subtleties of teaching (and learning), in which teachers’ own experiences, beliefs and values are often more influential than research findings.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.

Page created 03 Jul 1999; Last updated 18 Dec 1999