Magazine article The Learning Professional

What Do We Accept as Evidence?

Magazine article The Learning Professional

What Do We Accept as Evidence?

Article excerpt

"Show how me the money!" This phrase, from the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, has often been used in a challenging way. The speaker wants someone to demonstrate proof or validate claims. On a recent school visit, I heard this term from a teacher who was prodding a student to substantiate an opinion with appropriate evidence. As everyone in the class, including the student, broke into laughter, I was reminded of the increased importance of verification and corroboration in our daily lives in schools.

In my early years as a classroom teacher, my behaviors and decisions were often based on what my gut was telling me. Later on, I referred to this as following my hunches. In recent years, I've come to describe this as being intuitive. I learned to trust my feelings as a filter to help me make sense of information and situations. This is not to say that I was a stranger to empirical or qualitative data. Rather, I recognized that logical, rational, pragmatic applications were complemented by intuitive responses. What I've learned, however, is that, despite the success that I've had living by my hunches, I'm more often than not required to have proof as an indication of effectiveness.

In recent years, educators have been charged to "show me the money" in terms of documenting evidence of how professional learning for adults is linked to increased learning for students. Our assertions are not sufficient as we work with various stakeholders (parents, community members, policy makers, funders, sponsors, and other educational colleagues) to solicit support for professional learning contexts, processes, and activities. …

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