What could be better than best practice?

The idea of improving education through the identification, capture and dissemination of proven, ‘best practice’ teaching methods has become part of the international educational common sense. In such a way, it is assumed, the vast majority of teachers are able to learn from and emulate the innovations and secrets of the gifted few. While such an approach has its merits, which we also discuss in the book, we argue that ‘best practice’ can only advance teacher professional practice so far. In Better than Best Practice we offer a complementary way of thinking about and conducting teacher professional development and educational improvement. This approach involves teachers sharing their practice with colleagues in order to learn from one another’s challenges, problems, dilemmas and breakthroughs. Gifted teachers, in this model, appreciate the complexity of teaching, have the courage to expose their practice – ‘warts and all’ – to their peers, and are adept at making sense of and learning from their own and others’ experience.  This approach is better than best practice because it helps to develop and support thoughtful, flexible, and insightful practitioners, who exercise a large degree of leadership in directing their own professional development.  The Better than Best Practice book and companion videos are designed to facilitate such professional learning processes.