I would like to propose that the concept of evidence based practice (EBP) in education needs an ally. Educators are bombarded with messages that their work should be based on evidence from highly tested research. I wonder what this bombardment does to a teachers self-efficacy and their sense of professionalism when their judgement on what they know works or doesn’t may not seem valued. EBP needs an ally the sits by its side and is relevant to schools and classrooms.
This ally is I propose is practice based evidence. Its use alongside EBP might assist the improved inclusive practice as it would reflect the value of teacher knowledge of what works in their context. Steve Morgan coined the term practice based evidence (PBE) when referring to how health professionals combine scientific knowledge with their work place experience.
Practice Based Evidence should be a way of giving a voice to service users and practitioners, recognising that they have a first-hand knowledge and experience of what works, what needs to change, and how it may best change. These messages deserve to inform the concept of good practice every bit as much as the messages from research (Steve Morgan, 2004).
PBE is not just intuition about what works. Its even beyond professional judgement. I define practice as –
The efficacy of a teacher’s practice should also be measurable. Action research or action learning is the perfect way to support what works in practice. Action research provides teachers with a tool to justify the use of a particular pedagogy, assessment or strategy. By reporting the results of action research, teachers are able to ‘test’ practice that is thought to be effective or even known to be through academic research. Practice based evidence through action research assists teachers determine how practices determined by others, including professional researchers, work or not in their context. They themselves can contribute to the conversation and justify their practice within accountability systems.