Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.
There are no references at the bottom of this blog. No bibliography. It’s just a reflection concocted after a rather average Chinese takeaway and an exceptionally good glass of white Rioja. If you’re looking for something a little bit more academic and rigorous, then you probably ought to stop reading now.
You’re still here. Brilliant. Thanks for the vote of confidence. So, what is the problem with evidence? After all, evidence is proof, confirmation, verification, substantiation, corroboration, affirmation, authentication, attestation, documentation; support for, backing for, reinforcement for, grounds for. Nothing wrong with that.
Or is there? Actually, in education, there is. Evidence based practice is all well and good if the evidence is sound, comprehensive and substantive. However, unlike other fields of science, evidence of what works in education remains patchy – the best and most comprehensive bodies of educational research and evidence have come from attempts to synthesise the myriad of small scale research studies. In education there is no equivalent of the laws of thermodynamics, nor will there ever be.
Why not? Because, in practice, there is an infinite number of variables involved in researching any aspect teaching and learning. I have a personality. So have you. So have your pupils. I have a set of biases. So have you. So have your pupils. And their parents. All of these factors and others ranging from class size to ability profile, from social background to time of day, ensure that what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Continue reading